By DAVID SMITH JR.
Special to The Hays Daily News
Midwest City, Oklahoma - November 13, 2012 - The 23rd consecutive season for the National Championship Racing Association of Park City, Kansas presented by Precise Racing Products 360 sprint car division has come to an end and for the second year in a row it was second generation driver C.J. Johnson picking up his third career series championship.
The 2012 race season kicked off with a special $4000 to win event and with 39 cars in the pit area for the March 31st show it was Jason Johnson taking the lead over Wayne Johnson with four laps to go to pick up the victory. Danny Lasoski, driving the Whitehead Motorsports #8w, came from 20th to finish second, followed by Brian Brown, W. Johnson and Don Droud, Jr.
Race number two happened almost one full month later, also at 81 Speedway and it was C.J. Johnson taking the lead from his pole position and leading all twenty-five laps. Jeremy Campbell, Jason Martin, Mike Peters and Ty Williams rounded out the top five. Thirty cars were on hand.
It was the second annual "Hoosier Daddy" Father's Day was held at 81 Speedway once again and with 28 cars pit side, C.J. made it two in a row, taking the lead from early leader Taylor Velasquez on lap five and led the rest of the way to win the 25 lap feature finale. Campbell came home second, followed by Velasquez, Lasoski and Peters.
The 56th annual Hutchinson Grand Nationals was up next and this time it was former tour champion Jeremy Campbell, who hooked up with Nebraska car owner Gary Swenson and his familiar #24a just four days earlier, taking the Nationals victory. It was Swenson's second Grand Nationals title in a row as a car owner as Jordan Boston took home the honors back in 2011. Campbell took the lead from third generation driver Kevin Swindell, aboard the Ochs Brothers #1x, with eight laps to go to take the victory. Danny Jennings, C.J. Johnson, Marc Robe and Patrick Stasa rounded out the top five. Twenty-three drivers were pit side.
Races five and six on the schedule took place on July 21-22 and it was Norman, Oklahoma veteran Danny Jennings sweeping the weekend. The tour kicked off the weekend that Saturday night with 23 cars on hand at 81 Speedway and Jennings got around race long leader Danny Wood with three laps to go to score the $2000 victory. Wood held on for second, followed by C.J. Johnson, Campbell and Martin. For the first time since 2004 the tour made a visit to the Garfield County Fairgrounds and Enid Speedway in Enid, Oklahoma for a Sunday night special and with twenty-four winged warriors on hand, Jennings once again found victory lane. This time starting on the pole and never challenged during those twenty-five laps. C.J. Johnson, Campbell, Jordan Weaver and Luke Cranston rounded out the top five. It was Weaver's best ever finish in a sprint car during feature action. Earlier the young lady won her first career heat race, much to the delight of the Enid crowd.
The tours annual stop at the Dodge City Raceway Park in Dodge City, Kansas happened on August 11th where Eatonville, Washington driver Logan Forler stopped in long enough to pick up his first career series victory. For the sixth time in seven events C.J. Johnson finished in the top five, coming home second, followed by Velasquez, Patrick Stasa and Peters.
The annual appearance to the "Cornhusker State" and Mid-Nebraska Speedway in Doniphan where Nebraska's Adam Gullian made his first ever series appearance pay off with his first career series victory. Eventual Brodix rookie of the year Zach Blurton finished a strong second while C.J. Johnson, Patrick Stasa and Campbell rounded out the top five.
With the second annual "Sprint Car Mania" rained out back in May, the tour tried it again on September 1st at RPM Speedway in Hay's Kansas with the first of three events on the Labor Day Holiday weekend. On this night it was Brian Brown Higginsville, Missouri taking the lead from his pole position and never looking back to pick up the victory over a twenty-seven car field. Ryan Roberts, Jeff Swindell, Peters and Campbell rounded out the top five. It was the first time since the season opener that C.J. Johnson failed to crack the top five. Twenty-eight drivers from five states were pit side.
From there it was on to 81 Speedway and for the third time this season it was Jennings finding victory lane. Jake Martens had a great run and came home second while Gullian made another appearance with the series a good one and came home third. C.J. Johnson finished fourth while Peters rounded out the top five. The Belleville High Banks played host to the tour on its tradition Sunday night event and it was Jack Dover picking up the feature win. C.J. Johnson finished second, followed by Don Droud, Jr., Peters and Cranston.
The 2012 race season came to a close on October 20th and for the second time this year and this time aboard his familiar #10c it was Campbell taking the lead with three laps to go from race long leader Marc Robe to take the twenty-five lap victory. Peter came home third, followed by C.J. Johnson and 12TH starting Don Droud, Jr.
Below are a few facts and figures from the 2012 race season for the NCRA 360 sprint car tour:
74 different drivers from 11 states competed in at least one NCRA 360 sprint car event in 2012. Among the states represented were: Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Tennessee, New Mexico, North Carolina, Washington, Colorado and Texas.
Six drivers competed in all six events that were scheduled. They were C.J. Johnson, Campbell, Luke Cranston, Zach Blurton, Jon Freeman and Jeff Stasa. Mike Peters missed one show, due to motor gremlins.
Drivers reaching NCRA sprint car victory lane were: Danny Jennings (3), Jeremy Campbell and C.J. Johnson (2), Jason Johnson, Brian Brown, Jack Dover, Adam Gullian and Logan Forler.
Gullian and Forler were first time winners with the series.
Average car count was 23 per event with 39 during the season opener at 81 Speedway the highest and 16 and Dodge City Raceway Park the lowest.
Final 2012 NCRA 360 sprint car point standings:
1) C.J. Johnson 3505, 2) Jeremy Campbell 3350, 3) Luke Cranston 3235, 4) Mike Peters 2910, 5) Zach Blurton 2905, 6) Jon Freeman 2870, 7) Jeff Stasa 2550, 8) Marc Robe 2335, 9) Jake Martens 2255, 10) Taylor Velasquez 1920
Final 2012 NCRA 360 Brodix Rookie of the Year Standings:
1) Zach Blurton 1430, 2) Jordan Weaver 930, 3) Wyatt Burks 820
2012 NCRA 360 Sprint Car Completed Schedule:
March 31 Saturday 81 Speedway Park City, Kansas Jason Johnson
April 28 Saturday 81 Speedway Park City, Kansas C.J. Johnson
May 25 Friday RPM Speedway Hays, Kansas Rained Out
June 17 Sunday 81 Speedway Park City, Kansas C.J. Johnson
July 14 Saturday 56th Hutch Nationals Hutchinson, Kansas Jeremy Campbell
July 21 Saturday 81 Speedway Park City, Kansas Danny Jennings
July 22 Sunday Enid Speedway Enid, Oklahoma Danny Jennings
Aug 11 Saturday Dodge City Raceway Park Dodge City, Kansas Logan Forler
Aug 18 Saturday Mid-Nebraska Speedway Doniphan, Nebraska Adam Gullian
Aug 31 Friday RPM Speedway Hays, Kansas Brian Brown
Sept 1 Saturday 81 Speedway Park City, Kansas Danny Jennings
Sept 2 Sunday Belleville High Banks Belleville, Kansas Jack Dover
Oct 20 Saturday 81 Speedway Park City, Kansas Jeremy Campbell
For more information on the 42nd anniversary season for the National Championship Racing Association of Park City, Kansas or the series 360 sprint car division, find them at their online address www.racencra.com or call the series office (316) 755-1781. Race schedules as well as additional partners and contingency sponsors are currently being obtained and will be officially released after the annual NCRA banquet on Saturday night, January 26, 2013.
The series would like to take this time to thank their sprint car division partners and sponsors for the 2012 race season:
Park City, Kansas, Hoosier Racing Tires, Sunoco Race Fuels, Vertex Magnetos, Rod End Supply, Brodix Cylinder Heads, Keizer Aluminum Wheels, The Joie of Seating, Ultra Shield, Hooker Harness, Precise Racing Products, Taylor Cable Products, XXX Racing Chassis, Super Shox, Competition Suspension, JE Racing, Martens Machine Shop