Driver Jerick Johnson completes successful 2010 ARCA race season, prepares for 2011 opener at Dayton International Speedway Feb. 12. James V. Carroll

76 Freedom Car wraps up successful season

The 2010 ARCA racing season for driver Jerick Johnson and The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car ended much like the way it started — in frustration due to a series of brake and mechanical failures. But overall, Johnson is satisfied and grateful regarding his 2010 season results.

“We competed in a little over half of the 20-race season,” Johnson said. “We qualified for all the televised races except Daytona and ran in two or three short track races. Given those facts, we did pretty well. We finished 18th out of 140 drivers competing in all or part of the races, and we were second to 2010 ARCA series Champion Patrick Sheltra in the Hard Charger competition. The Hard Charger trophy was ours to take right up to the last race, but we came up a bit short.”

Johnson’s opportunity to claim the coveted Hard Charger trophy was during the season-ending race on Oct. 9 at Rockingham Speedway in North Carolina. While he only needed to finish 19th or better to claim the trophy, Johnson unfortunately nursed his brakeless car to a 26th place finish.

“Brakes and tires hurt us a lot this season, “Johnson said. “We were in the position to crack the top 10 in a number of races when we blew a tire or lost the ability to brake. Pitting under a green flag run to change a flat tire pretty much ruins your day and losing brakes is even a worse situation.”

Even though Johnson and his crew faced many challenges throughout the racing season, not all of them stopped Johnson in his tracks from finishing in the top 10. For instance, during a weeklong series of races at the quarter-mile track in New Smyrna near Daytona, Fla., Johnson and his crew braced bitter cold temperatures, fog delays and an accident that sent the nose of his car bouncing across the track. Despite these obstacles, the 76 Freedom Car managed an overall 9th place finish for the week.

“I’ve gone around and around a lot of tracks at a lot of places,” Johnson said, “but I have never been in a race halted by fog until New Smyrna. That was a new one. Quite an experience and quite fun though.”

Johnson also had a top 10 finish at the Salem Speedway quarter-mile track in Salem, Ind.

“That (Salem) was a race we didn’t plan to compete in at the beginning of the season,” Johnson said. “We decided at the last moment, and it was a good decision. I’m disappointed we didn’t pull out a few more top 10 finishes.”

ARCA kicks off its 59th year of competition on Feb. 12, 2011, with the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 at Daytona International Speedway. The race is 80 laps on the historic 2.5-mile superspeedway oval and will air live on SPEED at 4 p.m. (EST). Until then, Johnson reflects on his success and prepares for a new season.

“The success we have had this season – and every season – would not have been possible without the support of The American Legion family and the David Law Firm,” Johnson said. “We at Team Johnson Motorsports worked hard all season, but the Legion and David Law Firm sponsorship made it possible for us to be competitive and have a legitimate chance at the Hard Charger. For that we are forever grateful and honored.”