SOMERTON, Ariz. — After a lackluster start to his season, Jason Johnson rebounded by capturing the opening night victory during Cocopah Cup Challenge presented by the Cocopah Casino Friday at Cocopah Speedway.
Drawing the pole for the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series feature, Johnson led all 25 laps.
Asked about the week off an whether or not any changes were made following engine problems in Tucson, Johnson said, “First and foremost on these engine problems we had last week, we gave these Roush/Yates engines a wrong rapport. We filled up the nozzles with trash, and was just an unfortunate situation because there was defiantly nothing wrong with our Roush/Yates Ford.”
“I could run anywhere on the race track and I had a good car. That’s what happens when you drive good equipment,” said Johnson. “I felt like at the end of the race that it just started getting a little too far around to top in turns one and two and started running the bottom and gauging myself off the lapped cars. Three and four, I ran anywhere I had to in order to pass these guys.”
Pacing to the green alongside Jeff Swindell, Johnson grabbed the advantage into the first turns with Mitch Olson taking the field three wide to move from fourth to second. Challenging low for the lead, Olson would fall in line with the Chevy Performance No. 14 of Tony Stewart in tow.
Slowing on lap three for the stopped No. 94 of Jeff Swindell, the Hedman Husler Hedders entry retired for the evening after the pinch bolt in the left-rear torsion arm snapped.
Resuming with the single file restart, the race for the runner up spot came into focus as Stewart worked around the Pettit Oil Company No. 27. Swapping the top line for the inside line, the Bass Pro Shops No. 14 worked off turn four on lap four to find Olson between he and the wall, making slight contact before the pair raced into turns one and two with Mitch Olson taking back the runnerup spot.
Pacing into slower traffic by lap ten, Johnson would maintain a comfortable advantage as Olson and Stewart paced the remainder of the podium with Lucas Wolfe and Roger Crockett making up the top five.
Slowing for a caution caused by debris with three laps to complete, Johnson restarted with a trio of slower cars between himself and Olson, giving the MVT No. 41 a comfortable 3.644-second advantage at the checkered flag.
Mitch Olson held on for the runnerup spot with Tony Stewart completing the podium. Lucas Wolfe crossed the line fourth with Brian Brown completing the top five after accidental contact between the No. 21 and the No. 11 of Roger Crockett send the SKS Racing entry flipping coming to the checkered flag.
Jason Johnson, Mitch Olson, Tony Stewart, Lucas Wolfe, Brian Brown, Henry VanDam, Logan Forler, Wayne Johnson, Dain Naida, Dustin Morgan, Danny Lasoski, Johnny Herrera, Roger Crockett, Seth Bergman, Tony Bruce Jr., Cole Wood, Justyn Cox, Brad Loyet, Brandon Hahn, Rick Ziehl, Joshua Williams, Dalten Gabbard, Brady Bacon, Shawn Petersen, Jeff Swindell.