When the checkered flag came out, driver Jerick Johnson climbed out of the damaged American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car and plopped, soaking wet, into a lawn chair. His 12th-place finish at the Salem, Ind., Speedway on July 18 was not exactly what he and his Team Johnson Motorsports crew had hoped for. But there’s no denying the team’s dramatic improvement this year, and its effect on Legion posts near the race sites.“Everywhere we go, Legion folks like those here in Salem are always so great to us,” Johnson said, following the American Speed Association Trial 200 Late Model Challenge Race. “Tonight, I just wanted the 76 Car to finish well so that Legion Post 41 could have something to cheer about.”In the early laps of the second 100-mile segment, the Freedom Car came alive and began passing slower cars, but a “rubbing” incident with the 90 car damaged the 76’s steering and ended any hope Johnson had for a top-10 finish. Currently, Johnson is 10th in points and fourth in rookie points in the 2009 ASA Late Model Challenge Series. The Freedom Car is co-sponsored by Team Johnson Motorsports and the David Law Firm in Houston.The Salem event began July 16, when Salem American Legion Post 41 hosted a community open house for the Legion Racing Team. Commander Patrick Rice and other post officers greeted the team, and the Legion Auxiliary hosted a dinner. Dessert included a decorated cake in the shape of the Freedom Car.UPCOMING RACE SCHEDULEAug. 1: Nashville Fairgrounds, Nashville, Tenn.Aug. 15: Nashville Superspeedway, Nashville, Tenn.Sept. 12: Gateway International Raceway, St. LouisSept. 19: Iowa Speedway, Newton, IowaNov. 7: Memphis Motorsports Park, Memphis, Tenn.