Jerick Johnson, driving The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom scored a victory May 21 in an ASA-sanctioned Super Late Model race at Newport Motor Speedway in Newport, Tenn.
The race at the 0.4-mile track nestled deep in the Great Smokey Mountains is the first 2011 win for the Team Johnson Motorsports crew and driver. In 12 starts this season, Johnson has eight top-10 finishes and seven top fives.
"It's been a rollercoaster ride for us this year," Johnson said following his Newport victory. "Our cars are competitive when we can keep them on the track. It's sort of feast or famine for us. We do well or we don't finish."
After six straight February top-five finishes in New Smyrna, Fla., the 76 Freedom Car failed to finish the next three races, but bounced back for a ninth-place finish at Rockingham Speedway in mid-May. Then came the Newport victory.
"Just when we think things are going our way, weather or mechanical problems hit us," Johnson said.
The 76 Freedom Car was slated to compete in Iowa June 10 and in Indiana June 12. Weather conditions scratched the Iowa race and an engine problem sidelined Johnson at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
"We had a top-10 car during early practice runs at Indianapolis," said Johnson, "but the engine lost power and we lost RPMs. We started but didn't want to risk blowing the engine."
Four DNFs aside, the team has a good season going for it, Johnson says. "There aren't many race teams that would complain about eight top-10 and seven top-five finishes and a win in 12 starts. We sure don't like DNFs, but we're proud our overall record. What we want, though, are a few more victory flags. That's what we go to the track to do.
Win or lose, Johnson points out that he and his racing crew love to race, but they also love their visits with Legionnaires as they travel across the racing circuits. Last weekend the 76 Freedom Car team visited Legion Post 119 in Greenfield, Ind., Post 298 in Marion, Iowa, and Post 331 in Brownsburg, Ind.,
"The American Legion/David Law Firm race team continues to strive to let our race fans know who The American Legion is and to let people know what wonderful veteran and youth programs our organization has, as well as to recruit the next generation of Legion members," said Johnson.
Johnson and the 76 Freedom Car team is next scheduled to compete July 8 at Motor Drome Speedway in Pittsburgh, Pa.
For more information on Legion Racing and its sponsors, visit LegionRacing.org.