Johnson Bests 53-Car Sprint Car Field

Wayne Johnson is the defending winner of the Ronald Laney Memorial at East Bay Raceway Park. (Steve Bischoff photo)
Wayne Johnson won Friday night's 360 sprint car race at East Bay Raceway Park. (Steve Bischoff photo)
Wayne Johnson won Friday night’s 360 sprint car race at East Bay Raceway Park. (Steve Bischoff photo)

GIBSONTON, Fla. — On Friday night when Wayne Johnson thought there was no way he would be racing, let alone winning, the odds turned in favor.

He started on the front row of the final preliminary 25-lap feature leading up to East Bay Raceway Park’s 16th annual King of 360s and ended up in victory lane with a check for $1,500.

All day long 53 racers worked on their cars in a leisurely fashion as fans wondered in and out of the pits and facilities at East Bay just waiting for the predicted heavy rains that never came.

The storms that skirted the Tampa race track had already washed out races that were scheduled at other tracks. But, the anticipated rain never happened and the track crew readied the surface for racing and tickets were sold and the race went on as scheduled.

Danny Wood and Johnson brought the field to green flag ahead of Lou Kennedy and Bryan Sebetto.

It was Johnson that put down an impressive five laps to lead the field before the only yellow flag waved for Chad Kemenah who spun on the backstretch and Hud Horton with no place to go got collected. As the green replaced the yellow, Johnson continued his domination and pulled away from Wood, Sebetto and Greg Wilson.

Johnson’s Charlie Fisher powered XXX chassis was locked down to the track and he had no serious challenges. He acknowledged his sponsors Miles Hill, Todd Carlisle, Ray Williams and Vern Williams and thanked them for their support in his victory lane appearance.

“I’m just a poor boy from Oklahoma trying to make my dreams come true,” he explained. “I wish my wife and daughter, Erin and Paige were here to see this. Al (Varnadore) and his crew did a job on this track and my hat’s off to them.”

The finish:

Wayne Johnson, Danny Wood, Bryan Sebetto, Greg Wilson, Rico Abreu, Lou Kennedy, Terry McCarl, Danny Holtgraver, Jac Haudenschild, David Gravel, Danny Lasoski, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Danny Martin Jr., Christopher Bell, Etienne Girard, Thomas Kennedy, Parker Price-Miller, Channin Tankersley, Chad Kemenah, Hud Horton.