RINGGOLD, GA – Ronnie Johnson of Chattanooga, TN swept the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series 2018 season opener on Friday night at Boyd’s Speedway driving the Josh Roberts Trucking Special. The two-time Chevy Super Series National Champion and National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductee swept the program from the time he unloaded from the hauler.
Johnson started off the evening by setting Fast Time honors and pocketing $300 in Knowles Race Parts and Bodies/Goss Body Shop Qualifying. “The Chattanooga Flash” toured the historic clay surface at Boyd’s Speedway in 15.178 seconds to earn the pole position for the 40-lap main event.
From the drop of the green flag, the only driver that could get close to Johnson was Riley Hickman of Ooltewah, TN, and that was in heavy lapped traffic. A run of three caution flags on lap 23 bunched up the field, and made the lapped traffic go away. Johnson pulled away in the final 18 laps to carry a 1.881 second margin of victory under the checkered flag.
“This is a special win for me and the team to be able to come to my home track and run as well as we did tonight,” Johnson said. “I can’t thank Kathie Coulter and the folks here at Boyd’s Speedway enough for having this race. It’s a great way to start off the season.”
While Johnson got the accolades in Victory Lane, and got a quick photo op with the Chevy Super Series Golden Helmet Trophy, the winner was quick to release the trophy to a young man who put a death grip on it.
“All of my Golden Helmet Trophies are going to Lawson Roberts, who is the son of my sponsor Josh and Katie Roberts,” Johnson said. “I hope we can fill his room up with these special trophies this season, and for many more seasons to come.”
Johnson also celebrated with a longtime sponsor Tommy Chapman, Sales Representative for VP Racing Fuels and Lubricants, who also announced a five-year deal with NeSmith Racing, the sanctioning body of the Chevy Super Series, to become the Official Racing Fuel and Lubricant for all six NeSmith Racing Divisions.
Hickman had to settle for second in the Hickman Manufacturing CVR, and Dale Thurman of Cartersville, GA was the Cruise With The Champions Rookie of the Race with a third-place finish in the Thurman Mechanical Special. Another Cruise With The Champions Rookie of the Year candidate, Cruz Skinner of Oxford, AL was fourth in the Skinner Body Shop Special.
Jake Knowles of Rome, GA took the fifth spot in the Knowles Race Parts and Bodies Rocket, and Jordy Nipper of Gray, GA finished sixth in the Scotty’s Muffler Special. Travis Pennington of Stapleton, GA drove the U.S. Duffie Site Prep Special to a seventh-place finish and Chip Brindle of Chatsworth, GA was eighth in the Hill Motorsports Warrior.
Landon Bagby of Winston, GA finished ninth in the Neighborhood Auto Center Rocket, and Chase King of Seymour, TN rounded out the top ten in the Stinger Race Cars House Car. Chad Wallace of LaGrange, GA started 18 th and finished 11 th in the Wallace Construction Special to earn the Hard Charger of the Race Award.
Johnson took the lead at the start of the race followed by Hickman, King, Thurman, and Skinner. Johnson set a fast enough pace to catch the cars on the tail of the lead lap by the eighth tour. Johnson methodically worked his way through traffic, while Hickman was able to close to within a couple of car-lengths in heavy lapped traffic.
Once he had clear race track in front of him, Johnson was able to pull away, and had a half straightaway lead on Hickman at the halfway point in the race. That big lead went away on lap 23 when the first of three caution flags came out for debris in turn one. It turned out that the debris was from the rear end assembly of the Lewis Auto Sales Special driven by B-Main winner Joseph Brown of Columbus, GA.
Johnson had Hickman, King, Thurman, Skinner, Knowles, Nipper, Pennington, Brindle, and Cruise With The Champions Rookie of the Year Candidate Dalton Polston of Lithia Springs, GA in the Street Side Classic Cars GRT doubled up behind him for the Dixie-Style Double-File Restart. Before the field could clear turn one, King spun out of the third spot for the second caution flag.
On the next restart, the field got jammed up again in turn one when Bagby stalled, bringing out the third and final caution flag. The third time for the restart was a charm and single-file, as Johnson picked up where he had left off. With nine laps to go, Johnson had opened up a half-straightaway lead on Hickman before the leaders started working lapped traffic.
Johnson was never challenged for the point the rest of the way, and by leading all 40 laps was the Durrence Layne Chevrolet Pacesetter Award winner. The two-time series Champion will now travel to Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, GA on May 5 for the next Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series race as the point leader.
For more information about the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series visit the series web site at www.525superseries.com , or visit the series on Facebook at Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series.
OFFICIAL RESULTS OF ROUND 1 AT BOYD’S SPEEDWAY IN RINGGOLD, GA ON 4/13/18:
POS STRT CAR # DRIVER HOMETOWN LAPS $ WON
1. 1 85 Ronnie Johnson Chattanooga, TN 40 $2,500
2. 2 R1 Riley Hickman Ooltewah, TN 40 $1,000
3. 4 59 Dale Thurman (R) Cartersville, GA 40 $750
4. 5 11 Cruz Skinner (R) Oxford, AL 40 $650
5. 8 66 Jake Knowles Rome, GA 40 $550
6. 6 1n Jody Nipper Gray, GA 40 $500
7. 10 01 Travis Pennington Stapleton, GA 40 $425
8. 7 17 Chip Brindle Chatsworth, GA 40 $375
9. 14 19 Landon Bagby Winston, GA 40 $350
10. 3 44 Chase King Seymour, TN 40 $325
11. 18 34 Chad Wallace LaGrange, GA 39 $300
12. 17 03 Oliver Gentry Newnan, GA 39 $275
13. 16 24 Barry Goodman Spring City, TN 38 $265
14. 13 35 Scott Hall Rome, GA 38 $260
15. 20 11d Eric Dalton (R) Science Hill, KY 35 $250
16. 12 00 Dalton Polston (R) Lithia Springs, GA 22 $250
17. 11 87 Zach Pilcher Rome, GA 22 $250
18. 9 92 Joseph Brown Columbus, GA 22 $250
19. 22 51 Randy Dillard Epworth, GA 21 $250
20. 21 27 Pete Cochran Dallas, GA 21 $250
21. 19 24g Buster Goss Rome, GA 6 $250
22. 15 66k Jody Knowles Tyrone, GA 2 $250
KNOWLES RACE PARTS/GOSS BODY SHOP FAST QUALIFIER: Johnson, 15.178 Seconds
LEAD CHANGES: None
LAP LEADER: Johnson, 1-40
DURRENCE LAYNE CHEVROLET PACESETTER AWARD: Johnson, 40 Laps Led
CRUISE WITH THE CHAMPIONS ROOKIE OF THE RACE: Thurman
HARD CHARGER OF THE RACE: Wallace (started 18 th and finished 11 th )
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 1.881 Seconds
TIME OF THE RACE: 36 Minutes and 11.414 Seconds
NEXT RACE: May 5, Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA, $3,000-to-win, 50 Laps
Chevrolet Performance Parts is the Title Sponsor of the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series. Hoosier Racing Tire is the Official Tire Sponsor of the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series. VP Racing Fuels and Lubricants is the Official Race Fuel and Lubricant of the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series. Cruise With The Champions is an Official Sponsor and Rookie of the Year Sponsor of the Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series. Chevrolet Performance Super Late Model Series Contingency Sponsors for 2018 are CrateInsider.Com, Knowles Racing Parts And Bodies, Beyea Headers, and Freestyle Graphix.