Danny Johnson Ready To Tackle I-96
LAKE ODESSA, MICH. – Last year’s historic, first-ever Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modfiied Series race at I-96 Speedway took Danny Johnson to Victory Lane, and he’s ready to wheel his new ride there this year.
The premier Big-Block Modified tour invades the Michigan track Tuesday, Aug. 6, making its farthest trip west of the season for the $7,500-to-win Michigan 100.
“We’re looking forward to going there again,” Johnson said of I-96 Speedway. “We’ll just see how things go. We’ll do the best we can with what we’ve got. So far we’ve been able to keep it together.”
In 2012’s inaugural 100-lapper, Johnson sped past polesitter Tyler Siri in the 5* and early race leader Jimmy Phelps to take the lead. This year Johnson will be piloting Siri’s 5*, and the new driver-owner partnership is stronger than ever going into the two-day trip westward that also includes a Monday, Aug. 5, feature event at Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, Ontario.
“It seems to be working out well for both of us,” Johnson said of the new team, which started him in the 5* at theseries opener atRolling Wheels Raceway Park and has since seen him take a win at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, where the team races weekly. “Tyler’s a good boy,” Johnson said.
For Siri, things couldn’t have worked out better. A rookie last year on the Super DIRTcar Series, Siri took his passion for racing to the track to claim 13th in overall Championship point standings in 2012. However, health problems kept him out of the driver’s seat at the onset of the new season. When legendary driver Johnson needed a ride, Siri seized the opportunity and the pieces fell into place.
“Danny’s a lot like me, he’s pretty fun, wild,” said the 5* car owner Siri. “It worked out great. He’s a hell of a driver, and the timing couldn’t be any better for me or him.”
So far, Johnson has claimed two top-tens and one top-five out of six starts, his best finish of the season being a third atNew Egypt Speedway for July’s “Dirty Jersey 60.” He came close to a win at Autodrome Drummond last Monday, July 22, but succumbed to a right-rear flat while leading.
“We’ve definitely got the speed there, we just need a little bit of racing luck to seal the deal,” said Siri, who was lucky enough last year when he, as a driver, redrew the pole at I-96 Speedway. “That was my first year in a Big-Block so I didn’t know what to expect when I got there. The track was really nice, it was big, fast. We did really good in the heat race and redrew the pole. Then I didn’t make the changes I needed to for the feature – that was a big rookie mistake on my part. Overall, I really like the place. The facility was nice, the people were great, and I really look forward to going back there.”
Siri is on the mend and hoping to get back behind the wheel in September, when he plans on upping the ante to a two car team in the series, but until then it’s up to Johnson to bring the team victory.
“I’m just trying to do the best I can getting prepared for it,” Johnson said.