Jerick Johnson, driver of The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car, is preparing for his third race in 13 days - a trek that took the Team Johnson Motorsports crew cross country from Indiana, to Texas, to Alabama.
This weekend promises to be Johnson's toughest ASA rookie year challenge, as he'll motor his racecar around Talladega Superspeedway at lap speeds approaching 200 miles per hour on the 2.66-mile paved tri-oval.
"Running at Talladega is nothing short of pedal-to-the-metal racing," Johnson said. "It's truly one of the most exciting superspeedways in racing. It doesn't matter if it's Sprint Cup, Nationwide or ARCA - this track is a handful for any driver who competes here."
The ARCA 250 kicks off a three-day Aaron's Dream Weekend at the famous high-bank superspeedway. The green-flag start of the 94-lap, 250-mile ARCA race is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. EDT Friday. SPEED Network will air the race live and replay the race at 9:30 p.m. The Nationwide drivers take to the track in the Aaron's 312 at 2:30 p.m. EDT Saturday on ABC. And the green-flag start of the Sprint Cup Aaron's 499 is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday on FOX.
Johnson is quickly proving his prowess as a rookie ARCA driver. While he failed to qualify during Speed Weeks in Daytona, Johnson did compete in a series of non-ARCA short-track races at the 44th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing - a nine-day racing extravaganza held at New Smyrna near Daytona, Fla. He finished 13th, seventh and fifth in three races.
Since Daytona, Johnson has been climbing up the ARCA standings. He had a 22nd-place finish in the April 10 Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA 200 at Salem Speedway in Indiana and a 15th-place finish in the April 16 Rattlesnake 150 at Texas Motor Speedway.
In Texas, Johnson earned the Hard Charger Award as a result of moving up through the field from his 34th-place starting position to 15th-place. He was the top rookie finisher of the race and is 19th in championship-point standings and third-place in the Rookie of the Year standings.
"While we have only raced in two of the four ARCA races this season, we have done pretty well in the points," Johnson said. "If we do well at Talladega, we should improve our standing. That's our goal this season - improve, improve, improve."
After Talladega, the 76 Freedom Car team takes its superspeedway car to Pocono Raceway at Long Pond, Pa., to compete in the June 5 ARCA 200, an 80-lap race around the 2.5-mile triangle. The race will be televised live on SPEED.