CT525 crate engine lifts R.J. to 60th SAS victory
RINGGOLD, Ga. (March 19) — Ronnie Johnson entered the Cabin Fever 40 at Boyd's Speedway as the winningest driver in Southern All Star Racing Series history, but he won Friday's feature like he's won none other.
Piloting a car equipped with GM's all-aluminum CT525 crate engine, the Hall of Fame driver from Chattanooga, Tenn., led every lap at the quarter-mile oval in northeast Georgia for his series-leading 60th career victory on the 27-year-old tour. | Video | Slideshow
Johnson earned $4,000 in holding off a hard-charging Chris Madden of Gray Court, S.C., who started 11th and raced up to second after just nine laps. Ninth-starting Jonathan Davenport of Blairsville, Ga., finished third followed by outside front-row starter Randy Weaver of Crossville, Tenn.
Chris Wall of Holden, La., rallied from the tail to finish fifth. Wall started inside the second row, but a turn-two spin on the first lap sent him to the rear of the 24-car field.
Johnson used a powerplant legalized by the series only last month, an all-aluminum sealed engine that's becoming more popular because it has more horsepower than standard steel crate motors. SAS competitors racing with the CT525 engine can utilize the spec engine package on the series, including a 12-inch rear spoiler (4 inches taller than normal) and 2,150-pound minimum weight (150 pounds less than cars with standard open-competition engines).
Notes: Johnson's previous series victory came in July 2008 at Talladega Short Track in Eastaboga, Ala., The 40-lapper was slowed by four cautions and lasted 31 minutes. ... Anthony Burroughs exited on the first lap after he was caught up in the caution triggered by Chris Wall's spin. ... Dale McDowell of nearby Rossville, Ga., had a flat right-front tire on the fourth lap. ... Other cautions appeared on laps 13 and 31. ... Among drivers failing to make the main event: Aaron Ridley, Brent Kreke, Austin Dillon, Billy Ogle Jr., Rick Rogers, David Payne and Lee Sutton. ... Sixth-starting Rick Hixson won the Limited Late Model feature. ... The Southern All Stars head just up I-75 for Saturday's Shamrock Classic at Cleveland (Tenn.) Speedway, a $10,000-to-win event.
Cabin Fever 40: (1) Ronnie Johnson, (2) Chris Madden, (3) Jonathan Davenport, (4) Randy Weaver, (5) Chris Wall, (6) Ray Cook, (7) Skip Arp, (8) William Thomas, (9) Freddy Smith, (10) Tommy Kerr, (11) Dennis Erb Jr., (12) Brandon Kinzer, (13) Frank Heckenast Jr., (14) Scott Creel, (15) Craig Burrows, (16) Tony Morris, (17) Stacy Boles, (18) Derek Ellis, (19) Mark Vineyard, (20) Doug Smith, (21) Austin Dillon, (22) Dale McDowell, (23) Jake Knowles, (24) Anthony Burroughs. Fast qualifier (among 40 cars): Johnson, 14.996 seconds. Consolation race winners: Madden, Kinzer, F. Smith. Provisional starters: Erb, D. Smith.