C.J. Johnson Stars In Dodge City Sprint
DODGE CITY, Kan. – C.J. Johnson and Jake Bubak took center stage by winning a pair of non-stop 25-lap features at the Sixth Annual Steve King Memorial atop the three-eighths-mile Dodge City Raceway Park clay oval on Saturday night.
Johnson took command 10 laps into the NCRA vs. ASCS Sooner Region main event en route to his first series score of the year while Bubak made a last-corner pass of race-long leader Ray Seemann to snare the URSS Sprint Car feature win.
In the 25-lap NCRA vs. ASCS Sooner Region nightcap, front row outside starter Jake Martens of Fairview, OK, outgunned pole starter C.J. Johnson at the drop of the green flag and paced the early rounds.
With traffic coming into play after eight laps, Martens drifted high exiting turn two on the tenth circuit and slapped the outside wall. Johnson and Washington shoe Seth Bergman were quick to take advantage, moving into the top two positions as Martens slipped to third.
“He got a little loose up high there and it rolled over on the right rear, which was real easy to do out there,” Johnson explained afterward of what proved to be the race-winning pass. He still had work to do though.
A regular on the ASCS National Tour, Bergman put the pressure on reigning NCRA champion Johnson, pulling nearly even on the low side of turns three and four on the 17th lap only to have Johnson successfully repel the challenge.
Bergman’s challenges went up in smoke two laps later when he pulled to the infield with apparent engine woes.
With clear sailing, Quinter’s Johnson raced on to the checkered flag with an eight car-length advantage aboard the ASI Engines Martin Farms No. 45x JE Chassis.
Martens settled for runner-up honors with Tulsa’s Sean McClelland advancing from ninth to claim the show position. Fort Worth’s Kevin Ramey crossed the stripe in fourth with Woodward, Oklahoma’s Jordan Weaver rounding out the top five.
In the accompanying 25-lap United Rebel Sprint Series (URSS) main event, outside front row starter Ray Seemann jumped ahead of pole starter Nick Haygood for the point at the outset and led all but the final few feet.
While Seemann and Colorado’s Haygood slipped away from the field, Bubak struggled in the early going from his sixth starting position.
“The car was so tight early, I couldn’t hardly turn it,” the reigning URSS National champion from Arvada, CO, explained.
Mired in fifth after ten laps, Bubak worked traffic to his advantage to charge by Steven Richardson and Brian Herbert at the midway point and set his sights on the front two runners.
Bubak closed the gap bit by bit, rallying past Haygood for second on the 22nd lap. Still several car lengths back as the white flag flew, Bubak gobbled up the distance and snuck underneath Seemann exiting turn four with the checkered flag in sight.
“I didn’t think there was any way I had time to catch him, but then he kind of let up in three and four the last couple of laps and that gave me a chance,” Bubak explained.
Bubak beat Seemann to the stripe with Haygood taking show honors. Zac Taylor and Brian Herbert rounded out the top five.