Johnson Rolls Through USA

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R.J. Johnson (51) chases Rick Ziehl Saturday night at USA Raceway in Arizona. (Dennis Brownfield photo)
R.J. Johnson (51) chases Rick Ziehl Saturday night at USA Raceway in Arizona. (Dennis Brownfield photo)

TUCSON, Ariz. — R.J. Johnson carried his late-season momentum over to 2011 by winning Saturday night’s season-opening 30-lap Sunoco Fuel ASCS Canyon Region feature at USA Raceway.

A winner in five of the final nine ASCS Canyon Region events of 2010, fifth-starter Johnson took quick advantage of Rick Ziehl’s late misfortune to tally his ninth career Sunoco Fuel ASCS Canyon Region triumph.

While Johnson started three rows deep, three-time and reigning winged ASCS Southwest champion Ziehl gunned into the lead from the pole position and led much of the way in pursuit of his second career wingless Canyon Region score before a left-front tire dismounted and disabled a brake line at the same time.

Johnson pounced into the lead and raced on to the checkered flag in front of 17th-starter Jeremy Sherman, with Ziehl holding on for third.  Two-time and defending ASCS Canyon Region champion Charles Davis, Jr., was fourth, with Andrew Reinbold rallying from 16th to round out the top five.

The finish:

R.J. Johnson, Jeremy Sherman, Rick Ziehl, Charles Davis, Jr., Andrew Reinbold, Brandon Lane, Matt Rossi, Thomas Ogle, Joshua Hodges, Justin Quinn, Mike Martin, Bryan Swinehart, Bruce St. James, Josh Grady, Nathan High, Josh Castro, Ronnie Clark, Bob Ream, Jr., Dalten Gabbard, Brian Hosford.