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Daniel Johnson Eager to Follow Father’s Footsteps on Super DIRTcar Series Tour

Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson turned wrenches on the Super DIRTcar Series for years with his Hall of Fame father, Danny Johnson.

In 2024, he’ll follow in “The Doctor’s” footsteps, joining the Series as its fifth Rookie of the Year contender.

The Middlesex, NY driver said it’s his chance to gain more experience while occasionally racing with his dad—something he did weekly at Land of Legends Raceway in 2023.

“It’s something I’ve always dreamed of,” Johnson said. “I worked on the cars ever since I was 12-13 years old. I’ve always had a wrench in my hand. To finally be able to have a wheel in my hand and race with him is something that’s awesome. It sucks that he’s slowing down now, but it’s cool that he’s still racing, and I still get to race with him.”

Johnson isn’t the only one who’s following his father’s footsteps. His car owner, Doug Dulen, grew up watching his dad’s cars, driven by Super DIRTcar Series champion Gary Tomkins.

It’s a journey that ties the two together as the next generation of teams to join the Series.

“Since Daniel and I got together, we’ve been talking about this,” Dulen said. “To actually make it happen and try to replicate what our fathers had done is something we’ve been working toward for a long time.

“Daniel really proved he could run a car last year. He proved he had the talent to run with the big guys. We improved our equipment last year because it really made a world of difference. I really think he deserves a shot.”

To replicate his father’s success, Johnson will draw on his dad’s Big Block Modified experience for insight. However, he said he knows there will be a learning curve starting at New Egypt Speedway on Saturday, March 30.

“I’m going to ask him a lot of questions,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, his past experience can help me out a little bit. But I believe I also have to be adaptive as well and be a quick learner. I think that will be the most important way to be successful.”

As Johnson prepares for his inaugural Super DIRTcar Series season, he’s not only leaning on his dad. He said his support system will put him on a path toward success.

“I got a lot of good people around me right now,” Johnson said. “The best part about growing up with my dad is realizing what it takes to be successful on a Series like this. You can’t do it on your own; you need a lot of people around you. 

Daniel Johnson and Larry Wight in the infield at Oswego Speedway.
Daniel Johnson prepares to go on the track at Oswego Speedway during Super DIRT Week/Brent Smith photo

“I feel like I have that right now with Honeoye (Auto Parts), Doug Dulen, his whole family, and everybody he brings to the table. That’s where I feel like we’re going to be the most successful.”

One of Johnson and Dulen’s goals is to compete for Rookie of the Year, a battle the team will endure with Alex Payne, Matt Caprara, Justin Stone, and Mike Trautschold.

But they’re ready for what’s to come, as they take the first step of following their dad’s legacies.

“We understand it’s going be tough,” Dulen said. “We’re going to have our ups and downs. But obviously we’d love to compete for Rookie of the Year and qualify for every event we can. We’re going to be going to a lot of new tracks. We just need to keep our heads up at every turn we take. We want to prove that a small team can run this Series, competing against those with big backings.”

“I feel like we can definitely compete with them,” Johnson said. “I compete with Alex (Payne) every Saturday night. The other rookies are good, and it’s going to be a tough battle between us all. We’re all getting thrown into a bull ring right now because this Series is tough. These guys have been running it for a while and they have a notebook far greater than any of ours.

“It’s going to be fun. I’m excited to race with these guys.”

Johnson’s Rookie campaign begins when the Super DIRTcar Series kicks off its championship season at New Egypt Speedway for Power in the Pines on Saturday, March 30—the first stop at the Garden State venue in a decade.

If you can’t make it to the track, watch all the action live on DIRTVision, either online or with the DIRTVision app.