Jerick Johnson started 24th in the Racing for Wildlife 200 and moved up as far as 16th. But he was forced to settle for 21st place after an encounter with debris on the track. Photo by James V. Carroll

Freedom Car finishes 21st in Michigan

ARCA Racing Series driver Jerick Johnson and The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car finished 21st in the Racing for Wildlife 200 at Michigan International Speedway near Brooklyn, Mich., June 11. The 100-lap, 200-mile race was the eighth race of the ARCA series.

Johnson moved steadily through the field from his 24th starting position to 16th before hitting debris on the track. The debris put a hole in the nose of his car, causing it to lose both aerodynamic down force and much-needed horse power.

"We were running really well at the beginning of the race. Once I hit the debris on the track, I could feel that we were starting to lose pace with the lead cars. We had to make an unexpected green-flag pit stop to repair the hole in the grill, which ended up costing us several spots at the end of the day."

Prior to the race, Johnson participated in three community events. First, he and his crew visited American Legion Post 29 in Jackson, Mich. There, they visited with Legionnaires and their families and signed autographs. The post treated them to dinner and presented Team Johnson Motorsports with a generous donation.

The following evening, after a long day of practice and qualifying activities at the track, Johnson and several other drivers in the ARCA Racing Series attended the Brooklyn-Irish Hills Race Fest held in downtown Brooklyn. The drivers signed autographs, posed for pictures and spoke to fans about racing at tracks like Michigan International Speedway. After Fest activities, the team made a surprise stop at Brooklyn American Legion Post 315. The unexpected visit was a huge hit with the members that were present. Members scrambled to have their photo taken with Johnson and the crew and to get his autograph card.

The following day, just prior to the Racing for Wildlife 200 event, Johnson was given an opportunity to meet some of racing's biggest fans. Every year, Michigan International Speedway hosts children from various charities including Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan and Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. A father of two himself, Johnson was thrilled to meet and entertain the children. He posed for pictures with them and their families, signed autographs and passed out autograph cards. Following the race, the entire group of children and their families were invited to the winner's circle to participate in post-race celebrations.

Johnson's 21st-place finish maintained his 18th-place standing in ARCA Championship Points. He is fourth in rookie points and holds first place in the Hard Charger category. He has one Top-10 finish in six starts and has competed in six of eight scheduled ARCA races this season.

Team Johnson Motorsports and The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car's next race will be at Iowa Speedway for the Prairie Meadows 200, which is also part of the 2010 ARCA Racing Series. The 175-mile, 200-lap race is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. and will be televised live on SPEED Channel.