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Richmond race a struggle for Freedom Car

Featured in Legion Racing
Richmond race a struggle for Freedom Car
American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car driver Jerick Johnson climbs from his car after his qualification run. Photo by James V. Carroll

Jerick Johnson took his first laps around the three-quarter mile Richmond International Raceway Thursday. It’s an experience The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car driver wants to forget.

“The front breaks locked up during practice, and we spent most of the afternoon changing out a master cylinder,” Johnson said. “ We never really got to the bottom of the problem by qualification time and it hurt us.”

Johnson qualified 36th and managed less than one green-flag race lap before he pulled the wounded car into the infield.

A short time later, rain halted the race. A 90-minute rain delay gave Johnson’s crew an opportunity to work on the brakes and allow Johnson to re-enter the race. The brakes failed once again, ending Johnson’s night on lap 59, in 38th place.

It’s the second NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race that the Freedom Car has failed to advance in the field. On April 2, Johnson completed 12 laps at the half-mile Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina before a balky engine forced the 76 Car to the garage.

“This is not how we hoped to start our first season in the K&N Series,” Johnson said.

The Greenville Pickens and Richmond disappointments followed on the heels of a very successful series of February races at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.

Johnson collected a second-place, two third-place and three fourth-place finishes during a week of races at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at the Florida track. His finishes earned him an overall third-place in the Crate Late Model Division.

Johnson intends to break his streak of disastrous finishes in K&N races May 21 at Iowa Speedway near Newton, Iowa.

“I have experience at Iowa, and the high-banked oval suits my style of racing,” Johnson said. “All we need to do is put a healthy car on the track and we will turn this season around.”

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