Danny Johnson Earns First Charlotte Victory of Storied Career
in Season Finale at Bad Boy Buggies World Finals
Decker clinches his third Super DIRTcar Series championship by 6 points
By Mike Mallett
CONCORD, N.C. — Nov. 8, 2014 — There were two very happy drivers at the end of Saturday night’s 40-lap Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modified Series feature at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. One being Danny Johnson who claimed his fifth series win of the season, his first ever at Charlotte, as well as an $8,000 check. The other was Billy Decker, took home his third career series championship on the back of a fourth-place run in the Bad Boy Buggies World Finals finale for the Modifieds.
“It’s awesome to be here,” said a very happy Johnson after his 77th career series triumph. “To finally get here in Victory Lane at Charlotte, I’m just excited for my team. This is a great accomplishment.”
Decker was equally as excited after the main-event as he picked up his first series title since the 2008 season and his third overall. His first championship came back in 1998. Decker came into the night trailing Matt Sheppard by 20 points but he did just enough while Sheppard mustered a 10th-place effort after starting 19th.
“This is really sweet,” said Decker, of Unadilla, N.Y. “This Gypsum Wholesalers team has worked really hard all year. I can’t thank John Wight and LJL Racing enough. These Kevlar Engines run great all year. We just had a solid program this year; one conducive to putting us in this position.
“It is special. Unfortunately we’ve never been good point racers for a series. We’ve won a lot of races and just didn’t win the points. To put together a season like we did speaks volumes to how hard these guys work. Scott (Jeffries) puts a lot of his heart and soul into this program. John Wight gives us great equipment. We should be here.”
By virtue of the redraw Johnson started on the pole of the feature with New Jersey native and New Egypt Speedway champion Ryan Godown to his outside. Godown got the jump on Johnson and took the lead at the drop of the green on the extreme top of the race track. Godown put his Troyer car right up against the outside wall like Stewart Friesen had done the night prior. Godown led the first two laps before the first caution came out for Peter Britten as he had a mechanical failure causing him to lay down fluid around the race track.
After an extensive caution to clean up the liquid on the racing surface, green was again shown with Godown shooting back to the lead on the outside. Johnson meanwhile remained patient and continued to work the low lane around the fourth-tenths-mile facility. Godown opened the gap slightly as he pounded the cushion on the top of the racetrack.
As the race reached the 12 lap mark, Godown had to not only worry about Johnson and the rest of the drivers behind him, but he also had to find a way to navigate traffic. He made a couple of mistakes and he hopped the cushion which gave Johnson an opportunity to close in.
Johnson closed the gap on Godown as the race neared the midway point. As he moved in on Godown he found himself being challenged by teenager Tyler Dippel, who was making only his third Big-Block Modified start. The pair raced for second exchanging the position several times before Johnson cleared him on lap 17. All the while Godown continued to pace the field.
Godown saw the crossed flags first but Johnson was now right up to his back bumper. They raced alongside one another for two laps before Johnson made the move on the bottom of the racetrack to take over the race lead. Dippel came with him and took over the second spot putting Godown back to third.
Godown’s night came to a quick end on lap 26 as Doug Manmiller spun in the second corner. Godown attempted to miss him and just caught Manmiller’s car with his left front breaking the front end on his No. 747 ending his night. At this point it was Johnson, Dippel and Brett Hearn in the top three.
Johnson used the restart to his advantage as he bolted away from Dippel as he bobbled slightly as the field raced into the first corner. Dippel recovered quickly and started pressing Johnson again on the outside of the speedway. Johnson stayed the course on the bottom while Dippel maintained his outside groove. It paid off for the Wallkill, N.Y., driver as he wrestled the lead away from Johnson with seven laps to go.
Dippel never shook Johnson as the veteran kept his calm. He tried a slide job on the youngster with five laps to go but Dippel drove back by him on the outside. While these two battled Friesen took third from Hearn and began closing in after he started ninth for a second night in row.
With just two laps to go, Dippel hit the corner wrong in turn three which shot his Teo Pro Car over the cushion and into the outside wall allowing Johnson to regain the lead. Dippel fell all the way back to the fifth position once he was able to gather the car back up.
“I just had a great working car,” said Johnson about his Chris Gennarelli owned Bicknell car. “I chose the bottom there on the start and that probably wasn’t the thing to do. I just felt better. You run up top and you end up hitting it and things don’t go well for you. I went down on the bottom and found a safe zone that got me here to Victory Lane.”
Hearn managed to take back the runner-up position from Friesen helping him secure his second consecutive second place finish. He came up short in his quest for yet another Super DIRTcar Series title by 14 points with his Madsen Motorsports team. He didn’t get the help he needed from Decker or Sheppard to take the top spot away from them.
“We knew coming into this weekend we had to have a little bit of luck besides performance,” said the Sussex, N.J., star. “We got the performance in the pair of seconds. It’s not like winning the race, it is a little disappointing obviously, but in the end the guys had just enough to keep us back in third.”
Friesen closed out the Bad Boy Buggies World Finals with a third-place finish for his Tom and Roxann Cullen owned team. The Sprakers, N.Y., star made things interesting for a second night in a row as he advanced through the field onto the podium.
“Whenever you battle those two guys it is never a bad night,” said Friesen referring to Johnson and Hearn. “I’m just proud of my team and this Teo Pro Car. It was good, just not quite as good as it was last night, but we came a long ways so I’m proud of my guys.”
Decker crossed the line in fourth just ahead of Dippel who’s one mistake cost him an opportunity at his first career Super DIRTcar Series feature victory. Dippel though impressed many with his pair of fifth place runs.
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Super DIRTcar Series Statistical Report; Bad Boy Buggies World Finals; The Dirt Track at Charlotte; Concord, N.C.; Nov. 8, 2014 (Combines with events completed on Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014)
SATURDAY PROGRAM QUALIFYING RESULTS: 1. (91) Billy Decker (15.770), 2. (1F) Stewart Friesen (15.829), 3. (66) Duane Howard (15.890), 4. (1) Billy Pauch (15.902), 5. (27J) Danny Johnson (15.911), 6. (20) Brett Hearn (15.921), 7. (3) Justin Haers (15.939), 8. (1T) Tyler Dippel (15.997), 9. (43) Keith Flach (16.024), 10. (4*) Tim McCreadie (16.056), 11. (42p) Pat Ward (16.083), 12. (5*) Tyler Siri (16.130), 13. (7) Rick Laubach (16.141), 14. (9H) Matt Sheppard (16.143), 15. (747) Ryan Godown (16.159), 16. (66x) Carey Terrance (16.167), 17. (74M) Matt Billings (16.178), 18. (99L) Larry Wight (16.207), 19. (83) Brian Swartzlander (16.211), 20. (7z) Erick Rudolph (16.226), 21. (63) Adam Roberts (16.265), 22. (98h) Jimmy Phelps (16.268), 23. (323) Neal Williams (16.299), 24. (21a) Peter Britten (16.328), 25. (6) Mat Williamson (16.328), 26. (5H) Chris Hile (16.330), 27. (48T) Dave Rauscher (16.345), 28. (115) Kenny Tremont Jr. (16.354), 29. (3d) Matt DeLorenzo (16.380), 30. (8) Rich Scagliotta (16.386), 31. (8R) Rob Bellinger (16.403), 32. (14s) Doug Manmiller (16.464), 33. (14g) Brian Gleason (16.505), 34. (88) Joe August Jr. (16.514), 35. (07) Tim Kerr (16.516), 36. (10v) Billy VanInwegen (16.520), 37. (10c) Tim Currier (16.523), 38. (673) Gary Tomkins (16.526), 39. (85) H.J. Bunting (16.569), 40. (7M) Michael Maresca (16.591), 41. (97) Michel Chicoine (16.680), 42. (14c) C.G. Morey (16.700), 43. (37m) Jeremiah Shingledecker (16.719), 44. (21) Yan Bussiere (16.820), 45. (27x) Daniel Johnson (16.830), 46. (T21) Roger Chrylser (16.852), 47. (47) Bob Sarkisian (16.877), 48. (44) John McClelland (NT), 49. (21k) Randy Chrysler (NT).
HEAT 1 (Winner redraws for feature, top four transfer): 1. (27J) Danny Johnson, 2. (4*) Tim McCreadie, 3. (43) Keith Flach, 4. (66x) Carey Terrance, 5. (3d) Matt DeLorenzo, 6. (42p) Pat Ward, 7. (673) Gary Tomkins, 8. (27x) Daniel Johnson, 9. (98h) Jimmy Phelps, 10. (8) Rich Scagliotta.
HEAT 2 (Winner redraws for feature, top four transfer): 1. (1T) Tyler Dippel, 2. (66) Duane Howard, 3. (323) Neal Williams, 4. (6) Mat Williamson, 5. (83) Brian Swartzlander, 6. (5H) Chris Hile, 7. (8R) Rob Bellinger, 8. (7M) Michael Maresca, 9. (37m) Jeremiah Shingledecker, 10. (14c) C.G. Morey.
HEAT 3 (Winner redraws for feature, top four transfer): 1. (1) Billy Pauch, 2. (20) Brett Hearn, 3. (3) Justin Haers, 4. (115) Kenny Tremont Jr., 5. (21a) Peter Britten, 6. (14g) Brian Gleason, 7. (21) Yan Bussiere, 8. (63) Adam Roberts, 9. (88) Joe August Jr., 10. (07) Tim Kerr.
HEAT 4 (Winner redraws for feature, top four transfer): 1. (91) Billy Decker, 2. (1F) Stewart Friesen, 3. (7) Rick Laubach, 4. (9H) Matt Sheppard, 5. (5*) Tyler Siri, 6. (48T) Dave Rauscher, 7. (21k) Randy Chrysler, 8. (47) Bob Sarkisian, 9. (85) H.J. Bunting, 10. (10c) Tim Currier.
HEAT 5 (Winner redraws for feature, top four transfer): 1. (747) Ryan Godown, 3. (7z) Erick Rudolph, 3. (99L) Larry Wight, 4. (74M) Matt Billings, 5. (14s) Doug Manmiller, 6. (10v) Billy VanInwegen, 7. (44) John McClelland, 8. (97) Michel Chicoine, 9. (T21) Roger Chrylser.
LAST CHANCE SHOWDOWN #1 (10 laps): 1. Doug Manmiller; 2. Matt DeLorenzo; 3. Gary Tomkins.; 4. Jimmy Phelps; 5. Chris Hile; 6. John McClelland; 7. Dave Rauscher; 8. Michael Maresca; 9. Bob Sarkisian; 10. Yan Bussiere; 11. Joe August Jr.; 12. Roger Chrysler; 13. Peter Britten; 14. Tim Currier; 15. C.G. Morey.
LAST CHANCE SHOWDOWN #2 (10 laps): 1. Pat Ward; 2. Brian Swartzlander; 3. Billy VanInwegen; 4. Randy Chrysler; 5. Rob Bellinger; 6. Rich Scalgiatto; 7. H.J. Bunting; 8. Brian Gleason; 9. Jeremiah Shingledecker; 10. Adam Roberts; 11. Michael Chicoine; 12. Daniel Johnson; 13. Tim Kerr.
A-MAIN (40 laps): 1. Danny Johnson; 2. Brett Hearn; 3. Stewart Friesen; 4. Billy Decker; 5. Tyler Dippel; 6. Duane Howard; 7. Tim McCreadie; 8. Billy Pauch; 9. Erick Rudolph; 10. Matt Sheppard; 11. Jimmy Phelps; 12. Justin Haers; 13. Kenny Tremont Jr.; 14. Mat Williamson; 15. Pat Ward; 16. Billy VanInwegen; 17. Matt Billings; 18. Keith Flach; 19. Casey Terrance; 20. Larry Wright; 21. Rich Scalgiatto; 22. Matt DeLorenzo; 23. Brian Swartzlander; 24. Neal Williams; 25. Rick Laubach; 26. Ryan Godown; 27. Rich Scagliotta; 28. Billy Dunn.
The Super DIRTcar Series and DIRTcar Racing in the Northeast Region is brought to fans by several sponsors and partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels, Chevy Performance Parts, NAPA Auto Parts, and Safety-Kleen. Contingency partners include the University of Northwestern Ohio, ASI, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Brodix, ButlerBuilt, Cometic Gasket, Comp Cams, Edelbrock, Integra Shocks, Intercomp, JE Pistons, JRI Shocks, KSE Racing Products, Mobil 1, Motorsports Safety Systems, MSD LLC, Fox Shocks, Pole Position Raceway, Racing Electronics, Superflow and Wrisco Industries.