Jerick Johnson sits in The American Legion 76 Freedom Car. (Photo by James V. Carroll)

Promising night turns sour

Racing is a cruel sport. If you don’t believe it, ask Jerick Johnson, driver of The American Legion /David Law Firm 76 Freedom car.

Johnson hit his marks at the 1.3-mile Nashville Superspeedway Aug. 15 to qualify second-fastest for what should have been a front row start in the American Speed Association Late Model Challenge Series race on the tri-oval. The team’s celebration would be short-lived.

A customary inversion drawing relegated the Freedom Car to eighth in the starting grid. And eight laps into the 110-lap race, an engine fire forced Team Johnson off the track and into the garage, smoke trailing behind the wounded car.

“It’s very disappointing,” Johnson said, as he looked into the smoldering engine compartment. “We had a great-handling car – a fast car – today, and it all went up in smoke.”

Johnson said he looks forward to the next ASA Challenge race Sept. 12 at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis.