Pit crew attends to 76 Freedom Car during 2010 race. The American Legion/David Law Firm car is entered in a Richmond, Va., reace April 28. Photo by James V. Carroll

Freedom Car to make Virginia debut

Jerick Johnson and The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car team are heading to Virginia for an April 28 race at Richmond International Raceway. It will be the first race appearance in Virginia for the 76 Freedom Car. The green lfag waves at 7 p.m. for the Blue Ox 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at the famous three-quarter mile oval.

“We are very, very excited to bring Legion Racing to Virginia,” Johnson said. “Virginia is a great racing state, and we are really looking forward to putting on a great show on and off the track for Legion members as well as all Virginia race fans.”

The race is not the only agenda item for the Team Johnson Car Motorsports crew. The team hauler will cross the Virginia state line April 27 and will be met by a contingent of Virginia American Legion Riders at 9:30 a.m. at the I-85 Bracey Welcome Center. The Riders will then escort the race team to the Richmond Veterans Administration Medical Center for an 11 a.m. show car appearance. Johnson will arrive at the VAMC around noon and is expected to meet and greet hospital staff and patients. The public is welcome to drop by to visit with Johnson and the race crew.

Later that day, the 76 Freedom Car team will be escorted by American Legion Riders to Columbia Heights American Legion Post 284 for a show car appearance from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Again, the public is invited to drop by.

It’s down to business Thursday. The race team will head to the track at 5 a.m. to begin an arduous day of driver and crew chief meetings, technical inspections, practice laps, qualification runs, driver introductions and finally the start of 7 p.m., 100-lap, 75-mile race.

“It’s going to be a long day,” Johnson said. “But I tell you what: The preparation may be boring and tiring, but at the end of the day it’s worth it to be able to climb into the car, strap in, take the green flag, punch the accelerator and go fast and turn left. It doesn’t get any better than that. It’s even fun to bump and grind and trade a little paint. And if one thing is certain, there is going to be plenty of that at Richmond.”

Johnson enters the Richmond race with mixed results. The 76 Freedom Car had six top-four or better finishes in a weeklong series of seven races in the middle of February in Florida. In March, Johnson stumbled in a South Carolina race postponed for a week by rain. He eventually qualified 32nd and mechanical problems sidelined driver and car in the 12th lap.

“We are pretty sure we fixed the problem and are looking forward to putting on a better show for Legion race fans in Richmond,” Johnson said.