Irwindale – Canyon Country’s Rod Johnson Jr. turned in another solid performance in the NASCAR Late Model class at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale on Saturday night, solidifying his point lead as the season winds to an end. The 20-year-old in the elite division at the half-mile track in the San Gabriel Valley set the fastest time in qualifying and fought an ill-handling car to finish third, his sixth straight podium finish. Mike Johnson captured his second consecutive win in the class, and Nick Joanides, the defending series champion and the closest competitor to Johnson Jr. in the title hunt, finished second.
“We had a fast car all day, it was just a little too loose in the race for us to be able to pass Mike [Johnson],” the rookie said after the race. “It’s hard to be disappointed with a third place finish, but we felt like we could win that one all day long. It was still a great points night though.”
Johnson Jr. leads Joanides by 24 points with just four scheduled races remaining. The defending Super Truck champion at Toyota Speedway has had the points lead for the better half of the season, and also has a division leading four wins. All Johnson Jr. has to do is finish within three positions of Joanides from here on out to capture a second straight championship in just his third year of racing. Johnson Jr. is feeling confident about the rest of the season. “The cars been great all season. We know we aren’t done winning yet, but you never want to give up or be satisfied until the final race is over.”
The next race for the Late Models is scheduled for September 11th.
In other racing, Saugus’ Garret Cromsigt took the checkered flag in the Super Stock race. It was Cromsigt’s fourth win of the season, and fourth win in the last five races at the track. Santa Clarita’s Rich DeLong III has a stranglehold on the competition as he leads former class champion Brian Harrell by 48 points with just four events left. The most points a driver can score in a race is 50. DeLong finished second on Saturday night. He has finished worse than second just once this season, when he finished third. He also has a series leading five wins on the season as he pursues his first ever championship at the track.
The next NASCAR Super Stock race is also scheduled for September 11th. For a complete list of results and schedule log on to Toyota Speedways website by clicking here.