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Johnson Ends Season with 8th Victory
Sep 26, 2007 - updated Sep 26th, 2007 2:09pm
Web posted by Shawn Stewart
Newton, NC. --
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Wednesday September 26, 2007
Jarit Johnson Collected 8wins and 4poles this Season Hickory Motor Speedway
Jarit Johnson closed out the 2007 points season at Hickory Motor Speedway in dominating fashion by taking the Mintex Brake Pads Limited Late Model to victory lane from the pole. It was Johnson’s 8th win and 4th pole of the season. From mid-May to mid-June Johnson was unbeatable collecting five wins in a row. Three times he won the race and the pole award in the same event. In all Johnson collected 12 top fives out of 18 races. It was only a few mechanical failures that separated Johnson from a championship. He finished the season 3rd in the Championship Points.
At the start of the year Johnson wasn’t even sure he’d be racing this season. He called up his good friend and crew chief Dan DiPaolo last December. The pair started cleaning up Johnson’s old late model and literally removed cob webs from the race car. Johnson and DiPaolo started assembling a team to help at the races. They wanted dedicated crew members and most of all they wanted to have fun at the track. Chuck Weaver was the first to sign up. He not only said he would volunteer with the team as the car chief, but wanted to be a sponsor on the race car as well with his custom cabinet and remodeling company, Dream Weaver, INC. Others began to join the team. Mark Slausenberger, Ben Carver, Mike Crim and Shawn Stewart all dedicated their time and resources.
The crew was in place, but Johnson and DiPaolo knew their racecar would need new parts and they would need sponsorship to afford the season. Both sought after sponsors and acquired several. Mintex Brake Pads came aboard as one of the primary sponsors. Johnson and DiPaolo attribute some of those wins and qualifying awards to Mintex. “I can honestly say that Mintex Brake Pads helped us win races this year,” said Johnson. “If they were not quality I wouldn’t say it. Braking on short tracks is very important and the Mintex pads gave us the edge.”
Other sponsors such as Lowes Home Improvement and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation came aboard in support of his efforts. Part sponsors supported such as Quarter Master and The Joie of Seating. The car was now refreshed and ready for racing. But neither Johnson, his crew, or the sponsors knew if the year would produce any success. That was unknown until March 24th, opening night at Hickory Motor Speedway, when Johnson qualified 2nd and won the race. The next three races though Johnson would not see victory lane.
“We came out strong and then some circumstances on the track kept us from winning,” explained Johnson. “But this team never let it get them down. We pressed on and it just made us work even harder.”
Johnson and his team kept composure and focus and on May 12th he took his first pole of the season and returned to victory lane. Johnson continued on a 5-race win streak and led the championship points at mid-season. But the team once again hit some trouble on the track with bad luck and a few mishaps that left Johnson 3rd in the championship points and wondering if his winning was done for the year. The team battled through the diversity and on August 11th proved their strength with another win from the pole.
Johnson was a top competitor through the remaining races. Heading into the final race of the year the team couldn’t control the circumstances that had played out all year. There was only one thing they could do in an attempt to win the championship. Win the final race. Johnson did just that with a third perfect race taking the pole and win. Although he didn’t win the championship his team can rest confident that they are possibly the most winning team ever to compete in the limited late model class at Hickory Motor Speedway. “I said in the beginning of the year when I called Dan that I just wanted to go up to Hickory have fun and win some races,” said Johnson. “I didn’t really think that would be 8-times with 4-poles.”
“I’m obviously disappointed that we didn’t win the championship. If just a few circumstances went differently we would have won the championship by a landslide,” expressed Johnson. “I’ve learned in life you just can’t control everything and you just have to keep pressing on towards your goals. As a team we did that and it paid off. I can’t thank all the guys enough who left their families for eighteen weekends this year and spent them with me racing. They are all great people and good friends. That is what made this year special was the people and sponsors I had supporting me.”
Dan DiPaolo shared Johnson’s thoughts on the season. “We worked really hard this year and put a lot of time and effort into each race,” said DiPaolo. “We reached a point in the season where anything less than a win was a disappointment. Missing the championship when you win 8-races was a big disappointment. But as I look back on the year it was a great success. Every racers goal is winning and we did that more than any other team out there. We might not have the championship trophy, but when I feel bad about that I can sit and look at the 8 victory-trophies I now have on the shelf.”
Keep up with Jarit Johnson and his 2008 racing plans at www.JaritJohnson.com
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