Crew members inspect the damage to the wrecked 76 Freedom Car. Photo by Jams V. Carroll

Late-lap crash sidelines 76 Freedom Car

Driver Jerick Johnson was driving a top-five contending American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car that finished 17th Sunday at Lucas Oil Raceway Park near Indianapolis.Johnson qualified 22nd Saturday in the Champion Racing Association's Super Series Late Model division. The Team Johnson Motorsports crew made adjustments overnight and found enough speed to be the fifth fastest car during early practice Sunday."We changed everything but the radiator cap," Johnson said when asked about the speed improvement. "I think we honestly have a top-five car today."By lap 44 it appeared Johnson was right in his prediction. Starting 22nd, he methodically weaved the 76 Freedom Car into the top-10. Johnson was eighth at lap 74 when he was turned into the inside retaining wall in front of the finish line. The hit was severe - smashing the front end, spilling water and oil on the racing surface. "The 2 Car flat out wrecked me," Johnson said as the 100-lap race continued without him. "He could nose up to me in the turns but I could pull away from him in the front and back straightaways. I guess he decided to get around me by putting me in the wall." The DNF was the fifth in five races on the heels of three wins in four starts."Like I have said many times," Johnson said, "this season has been a checker or wrecker year for us."The next scheduled race for the 76 Freedom car is the World Crown 300 November 12 and 13 at Gresham Motorsports Park in Jefferson, Ga. The team travels to Gresham with six wins, 12 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes, and nine DNFs in 23 starts this season.