The Freedom Car battles the 84 car in early laps of 25-lap race Wednesday. Driver Jerick Johnson finished second. Photo by James V. Carroll

Freedom Car charges from last to second

It was rags to riches in less than 24 hours for driver Jerick Johnson and The American Legion/David Law Firm 76 Freedom Car Wednesday in the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in Florida.

Tuesday, Johnson crossed the finish line in fourth-place at New Smyrna Speedway, only to have it stripped from him as a result of a post-race inspection. Wednesday, Johnson was relegated to the back row at the start of the Crate Late Model race. Twenty-five laps later, a hard charging Johnson crossed the finish line second. This time, his runner-up finish withstood post race inspection.

“Wow,” said Johnson following the race. “What a difference a day makes. Last night we went from fourth on the track to last in the inspection garage. Tonight we went from last to second on the track and passed inspection. Another lap and we could well have won the race.”

Johnson’s second-place performance Wednesday was the best of his five top-five finishes at The World Series event at the half-mile oval near Daytona. He also has a third-place and three fourth-place finishes. His performance in his five races places Johnson third in overall World Series point competition.

‘The 76 Freedom Car was on a wire tonight,” Johnson said. “We could pass on the inside or the outside. And the amazing thing about the night is that we had only the sixth-fastest car in the 19-car field. We put good laps together when it counted.”

Johnson may not have had the fastest car in Wednesday’s race but he did turn in the fastest lap during early practice.

Races Thursday and Friday round out the seven-race schedule for the Crate Late Model series. Johnson has a legitimate shot at capturing second in the overall points competition. And judging from his second-place performance Wednesday night, he has a legitimate chance to win a couple races before loading up the Freedom Car and traveling home to North Carolina.