Photo by James V. Carroll

Third-place finish for 76 Freedom Car

Achieving a third-place finish was not an easy or expeditious accomplishment. What was billed as a 25-lap feature race at The 45th Annual World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing ended up taking nearly 50 laps to complete. Repeated caution flags marred the green flag lap causing the competitors to make nearly 25 laps under caution.

In the end, Jerick Johnson, who started the race on the outside of the second row, fended off numerous challengers to take the checkered flag in third place.

"So far, so good," Johnson said after a marathon race around the half-mile oval. "Thursday, we wondered if we were even going to be able to field a car. Now, we have fourth-place and third-place races in our pocket."

The Team Johnson Motorsports crew had the day off Sunday, but was at the track working to find more speed in the black POW/MIA car and to attempt to breath life into the chronically ill blue car. Transmission, front suspension and battery problems sidelined the blue car during Thursday practice.

Johnson, as a result of his third-place finish Saturday, will line up toward the front of the field Monday night - possibly in the pole position if the inversion draw goes his way.

Racing at the New Smyrna Speedway continues through Feb. 20. Johnson hopes to better his seventh-place points finish during the 2010 series of races during Speedweeks.