FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series
R.J. JOHNSON OPENS “4TH ANNUAL FREEDOM TOUR” WITH LAWTON VICTORY
By Lance Jennings
AUGUST 18, 2016... Besting Andrew “The Real” Deal after a torrid battle over the last ten laps, R.J. Johnson (Tempe, Arizona) won Lawton Speedway’s $2,500 “Freedom Tour” opener. For Johnson, the 30-lap victory was his fourth consecutive USAC SouthWest Sprint Car triumph and ties his series record for the fourth time. Deal, Josh Hodges, Shon Deskins, and Anthony Nicholson chased the three-time champion to the finish line.
Piloting Bill Michael’s #77M Kodiak Products / Beal’s Auto Body entry, R.J. Johnson scored his 39th career series victory and the seventh win of the campaign. Starting fifth, the second generation driver took command from Anthony Nicholson the ninth circuit. Looking for his third career “Freedom Tour” win, R.J. was running from the field but Andrew Deal had other plans. Deal managed to take over the top spot on lap 24, but Johnson regained the lead on the next circuit. From there, Johnson held off all challengers and sailed to the Lawton victory. Earlier in the program, R.J. won the night’s second 8-lap heat race and placed second out of twenty-one racers in passing points.
Andrew Deal (Dewey, Oklahoma) raced from eighth to the lead before falling back to second at the checkered flags. Driving his #15D machine, the 2014 OCRS Champion ran third in his heat race and placed eighth in passing points.
Josh Hodges (Tijeras, New Mexico) returned to USAC SouthWest action and ran third at Lawton Speedway. Racing the family owned #74X Jackson Compaction / Mesilla Valley Transportation Maxim, Hodges ran second to Jordon Mallett in his heat race and was seated fifth in passing points.
Shon Deskins (Phoenix, Arizona) scored fourth in the “Freedom Tour” opener. Driving his #20 Spike Chassis / Performance Plus Engines Maxim, Deskins won the night’s third 8-lap heat race and ranked third in passing points.
Anthony Nicholson (Bartlett, Tennessee) led the first eight laps before taking fifth at the checkered flags. Piloting his #16X entry, Nicholson ran second to R.J. Johnson in his heat race and ranked sixth in passing points.
Harli White (Lindsay, Oklahoma) earned the night’s “Hard Charger / Best Passing Job” honors with an eleventh place run from nineteenth. Racing the #17W Charlie’s Trucking & Forklift entry, White took seventh in her heat race and was seated nineteenth in passing points.
In his first USAC start, Jordon Mallett (Greenbrier, Arkansas) was the top-qualifier at Lawton Speedway. Driving his #14 machine, Mallett claimed victory in the night’s first heat race and finished seventh in the 30-lap main event.
The “4th Annual Freedom Tour” will continue to Creek County Speedway (Sapulpa, Oklahoma) and will travel to 81 Speedway (Wichita, Kansas). On Saturday, August 20th, the mini-series will close at Dodge City Raceway Park (Dodge City, Kansas).
For more information on the USAC SouthWest Sprint Car Series, visit www.southwestsprintcars.com, www.usacracing.com, or follow the series on Facebook.
USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT (Special Event) RACE RESULTS:
August 17, 2016 – Lawton, Oklahoma – Lawton Speedway – “Freedom Tour”
FIRST HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Jordon Mallett (#14 Mallett), 2. Josh Hodges (#74X Hodges), 3. Charles Davis Jr. (#50 Massey), 4. Casey Wills (#31 Wills), 5. Layne Himebaugh (#24L Himebaugh), 6. Nick Bates (#11 Bates), 7. Harli White (#17 White). NT
SECOND HEAT: (8 laps)
1. R.J. Johnson (#77M Michael), 2. Anthony Nicholson (#16X Nicholson), 3. Mike Martin (#16 Martin), 4. Dennis Gile (#13 Gile), 5. Shawn Bloomquist (#14X Bloomquist), 6. Shannon McQueen (#7 Decker), 7. Ryan Padgett (#98 Padgett). NT
THIRD HEAT: (8 laps)
1. Shon Deskins (#20 Deskins), 2. Tye Mihocko (#5 Mihocko), 3. Andrew Deal (#15D Deal), 4. Cody Brewer (#96 Brewer), 5. Koby Barksdale (#22 Barksdale), 6. Craig Carroll (#24C Carroll), 7. Ryan Anderson (#22R Anderson). NT
FEATURE: (30 laps – With Starting Postions)
1. R.J. Johnson (5th), 2. Andrew Deal (8th), 3. Josh Hodges (2nd), 4. Shon Deskins (4th), 5. Anthony Nicholson (1st), 6. Jordon Mallett (6th), 7. Dennis Gile (9th), 8. Charles Davis Jr. (10th), 9. Koby Barksdale (14th), 10. Casey Wills (11th), 11. Harli White (19th), 12. Tye Mihocko (7th), 13. Layne Himebaugh (13th), 14. Mike Martin (3rd), 15. Shawn Bloomquist (15th), 16. Cody Brewer (12th), 17. Shannon McQueen (17th), 18. Ryan Anderson (21st), 19. Nick Bates (18th). 20. Brian Padgett (20th), 21. Craig Carroll (16th). NT
FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-8 Nicholson, Laps 9-23 Johnson, Lap 24 Deal, Laps 25-30 Johnson.
HARD CHARGER: Harli White (19th to 11th)
2016 USAC SOUTHWEST SPRINT CAR SCHEDULE
DATE - TRACK - LOCATION
August 18: Creek County Speedway - Sapulpa, OK (Freedom Tour / Non-Points)
August 19: 81 Speedway - Wichita, KS (Freedom Tour / Non-Points)
August 20: Dodge City Raceway Park - Dodge City, KS (Freedom Tour / Non-Points)
September 2: #Western Tech Speedway Park - El Paso, TX (Border Tour / $2,000-to-Win)
September 3: #Southern New Mexico Speedway - Las Cruces, NM (Border Tour / $2,000-to-Win)
September 17: Arizona Speedway - Queen Creek, AZ
October 15: Arizona Speedway - Queen Creek, AZ
October 22: Canyon Speedway - Peoria, AZ (Hank Arnold Memorial)
October 29: Central Arizona Speedway - Casa Grande, AZ
November 4: Arizona Speedway - Queen Creek, AZ (Western World Championships / $2,000-to-Win)
November 5: Arizona Speedway - Queen Creek, AZ (Western World Championships / $5,000-to-Win)
# = Co-Sanctioned Event with NMMRA Sprints.
This schedule is subject to change.