Adam "Jimmy" Deem injects fuel into the 76 Freedom Car during the ARCA 200-lap Prairie Meadows 200 at Iowa Speedway Saturday. Driver Jerick Johnson finished 20th among 40 cars in the starting field. Photo by James V. Carroll

Freedom Car salvages 20th-place finish

Driver Jerick Johnson and The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car crew struggled Saturday to a 20th-place finish in the Prairie Meadows 200 at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, near Des Moines. It was a miracle that Johnson finished the race.

"The 76 Car handled terribly all day - from the time we took to the track for practice until the end of the 200 lap race," Johnson said after completion of the ninth event in the ARCA Racing Series by RE/MAX and Menards. "The car didn't want to turn. We had a left rear tire go down. And I had no brakes for much of the race. I love racing, but tonight wasn't much fun."

Despite the rebellious 76 Freedom Car, Johnson and the Team Johnson Motorsports crew did not give up.

"It would have easy to pull off the track when we lost our brakes," Johnson said. "But we had worked too hard to get into the race.

Johnson could manage no better than 25th- and 28th-fastest during the morning and afternoon practice laps. He did little better during his two-lap qualification run. His quickest time around the .875-mile paved oval was 25.481 seconds. Although it was his fasted lap of the day, his time was 27th-fasted among the 40-car starting field.

While the flat tire and lack of horsepower assured that Johnson would not match his ninth-place finish at Toledo Speedway, the 76 Freedom Car outlasted a number of other faster cars to salvage a respectable finish.

"We are not happy with our finish," Johnson said "But with all that was going on and the car's lack of performance, a 20th-place finish is not too bad."

Johnson's next televised race is the Weis Market 125 at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., where on June 4 he finished 30th after a gear failure on the 35th lap of the 200-mile race at the famed 2.5-mile track.