Johnson Survives Atomic’s Modified Mayhem
CHILLICOTHE, Ohio – Twenty-six of the hottest modifieds in the Midwest battled for a spot in the 2014 version of Modified Mayhem at Atomic Speedway Saturday night before the field was whittled down to the $1,500 winner Kenny Johnson.
Three exciting heat races set the stage for a barnburner of a feature in the AMRA Octane/Advanced Services Modifieds. Travis Dickson, last week’s feature winner, set fast time with a 15:491. Heats were won by Dave McWilliams, Johnson and Luke Jordan. Anthony Kincade won the B-main.
What may have been the difference in the feature finish was a last-to-first run by Johnson, high against the wall in the night’s second heat. Kenny Johnson lived up to his name in a stacked heat that was more reflective of a feature. That win earned him an outside pole starting slot.
McWilliams and Johnson paced the field to the unfurled green flag of starter Frank Lemaster. Johnson won the drag race to the first turn cushion to take the lead, then never looked back in a torrid flag-to-flag win. While Johnson worked traffic to perfection, Luke Jordan continued a great evening with a solid second place run most of the event. Early on, Jordan stayed within striking distance, but Johnson’s surge enabled the Mountaineer to check-out as the race unfolded.
After a lap eight restart, Jimmy Lennex restarted 11th. Just six laps later the Bluegrass ace was up to seventh-place and on a charge to the front. Meanwhile, Greggie Oliver, doing double-duty in late models and modifieds moved into third over McWilliams. McWilliams two laps later jumped the cushion and was shuffled back to 14th after anchoring third for much of the race.
Doug Adkins, Tanner Wilson, Jess Hartman, Rick Hensley, Travis Dickson, and Fireball Pinkerton went two stacks deep of three-wide racing for the fifth spot. Adkins ran anywhere from fifth to seventh much of the race, but began a late race surge along with 16th place starter Kincade. Pinkerton’s great run ended with a flat tire and early exit. On a lap 18 restart, Oliver made a bonsai pass of Jordan, and yet another restart gave Oliver a late race bid for number one. Oliver made the dive low, but Johnson’s momentum carried him through turn two and on to an impressive win.
Adkins continued his forward advance to fourth with Lennex now anchoring a top five with Kincade, Craig Christian and McWilliams battling for a spot in the top ten.
At the finish it was Johnson, Oliver, Luke Jordan, Doug Adkins, Jimmy Lennex, Tanner Wilson, Jess Hartman, Anthony Kincade, Craig Christian, and McWilliams. Lennex charged from 14th to fifth and Kincade from 16th to eighth. Craig Christian was credited with the hard charger award in a 20th to 9th place run.
“I really like to run the bottom,” joked Johnson in victory lane. “No, seriously, I hooked up on the high side and tried to put on a show for these fans. I drive past two other tracks to race here because these fans are among the best. They are great to me and that’s why I am here. That (the great fans) and Brad provides us with a great race track.”
“I screwed up in the heat race and ran hard into turn one and right upon Mark Dickson. I was my fault, and when I went to the tail I didn’t know if I could come back through the pack. There were a lot of good drivers in my heat. But we did it and that allowed me a good start in the feature.”
Claiming the companion AMRA Late Model victory was Rod Conley, while Cole Duncan outran Todd Kane to the finish in the 410 Sprints, Dean Boyd won his third straight Street Stock main and Rob Stambaugh claimed the sport mod victory.