TULSA, Okla. – Nearing the close of the 2012 season, word was that Johnny Herrera was going to be cutting his racing back to a more local scheduled.
All indications were, it was going to take something big to keep the driver known as “Hollywood” from running a local/regional schedule around New Mexico and Arizona.
“My equipment was good last year; I just didn’t have the luck to go with it,” said Herrera of his 2012 season that had led him to the decision to run regionally. “I had races I fell out of leading because I broke motors, and California put me behind when I crashed out there and hurt my back. I really wasn’t that great after that, I mean I was okay, but I wasn’t 100 percent by no means. I was lucky if I was 70 percent with my back. I wasn’t comfortable.”
Despite back pain, that continues somewhat today, Herrera ended his season fourth in points. Not bad by any account with the driver of the Mesilla Valley Transportation No. 45x putting forth a consistent records with nine podium finishes along with 18 top fives and 42 top tens out of 61 dates.
Enter the 2013 season, and Johnny Herrera is suddenly back in the fold. Asked about what change, the Albuquerque, N.M., driver replied, “I got a phone call from Shawn [Petersen] after Little Rock and he asked what my plans where for next year.”
Elaborating on that phone call, Herrera admitted he didn’t really know Shawn, let alone ever really talked with him, “I had talked with him at the race track, you know, in passing but never really talked with him. He asked why I had left [Little Rock] early and I told him it wasn’t a point’s race so I was money racing and saving my equipment.”
Several phone calls later, the pair met prior to season ending events at the Canyon Speedway Park. Following the 2012 finale, Herrera made the trip to Petersen’s Irving, Texas, shop.
“We really didn’t sit down and talk business until the last day I was there. I was asking for a lot less, but he has exceeded and done more already.”
With the backing needed, Herrera also has his goals in mind to payback the help that has been shown to him.
“He’s helping me but at the same aspect I’m helping him” commented Herrera of Shawn Petersen. “I want to help, you know, with the help of Kenny Woodruff, and the other guys he has in place. I want to help him improve on his driving and learn more about his racecar, and how it works.”
Taking about other changes made over the off season, Johnny gave a sense of comfort in that he would have a full time crew member. With crew changing off and on during the 2012 season, the addition of a full time crew member gives Johnny the chance to focus more on the car.
“I have a solid crew member that can stay with me so now, I have the same person with me every night so I’m not having to do all the thinking,” said Herrera with a chuckle.
With Print Place stepping on board, Johnny Herrera will spend the next few days finishing the final details of the Print Place Motorsports/Mesilla Valley Transportation No. 45x as well as making sure the Shawn’s No. 4x is also ready for 2013 Lucas Oil ASCS presented by MAVTV American Real National Tour.
With everything planned for the 2013 season that includes trips to races numbering near 90 for the Print Place time, Herrera plans to keep his focus on making sure not only his program runs smooth, but that Shawn continues to improve, and is able to walk away from the 2013 season with the Brodix Rookie of the Year.