Jerick Johnson, driver of The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car, captured the American Speed Association Late Model Challenge rookie points trophy Nov. 7 at Memphis Motorsports Park near Millington, Tenn. Johnson beat out fellow contender Billie Crane for the honor after finishing 10th in the season's final race.
Johnson credited Crane and his crew. "It would have been easy to give up, but Crane and his team just wouldn't quit. It wasn't until Crane spun his car around in the front stretch, in the final laps, that I realized the rookie title was there for the taking."
Johnson avoided a couple of near-misses in the race, which finished under the yellow caution flag due to darkness. He narrowly escaped a race-ending crash when a two-car accident sent Johnson scrambling for a path through the melee. He clipped his front right fender as his escape route closed. The flapping fender forced Johnson to make several short pit stops for repair.
When the checkered flag came up at the 300-lap race, Johnson finish in 10th place, elevating him to 9th place in the overall series standings.
ASA will conduct its annual awards ceremony Jan. 16 in Indianapolis. Johnson said he plans to display his Rookie Championship trophy at The American Legion National Headquarters, then at the David Law Firm in Houston before finding it a permanent home.
"The ASA Rookie Championship would not have been possible without the support of The American Legion family and the David Law Firm," Johnson said, after being doused with champagne by his crew at an informal trophy presentation. "Sure, we at Team Johnson Motorsports worked hard all season, but the Legion and David Law Firm sponsorship made it possible for us to compete in a full season of racing."