A week that began on a sour note for Justin Johnson ended perfectly.
The Late Model veteran obtained a perfect restart with three laps to go and picked up his second career CARS Late Model Stock Car Tour victory at Caraway Speedway on Saturday evening.
Johnson said that the victory at Caraway was exactly what he needed following several fights that broke out between his and Justin T. Carroll’s crews at Tri-County Motor Speedway last weekend.
“I was so glad to get [Tri-County] behind us and slam that door,” Johnson said. “This whole team works their butts off and I’m so proud to be a part of this. We moved past that whole deal at [Tri-County] and concentrated on getting into victory lane today.”
The 2021 season has been a step in the right direction for Johnson and his program so far despite the post-race confrontations at Tri-County, as he finally broke through for his first CARS LMSC Tour win at Dillon Motor Speedway to open the year in a photo finish with Layne Riggs.
It appeared that Kaden Honeycutt would join his boss and teammate in Johnson as a first-time winner after he passed Bobby McCarty for the lead on a late-race restart with 45 laps to go.
Honeycutt’s commanding lead was erased following a late-race caution for Daniel Silvestri’s spin and he found himself unable to hold off Johnson in the ensuing sprint to the finish following contact with McCarty.
Honeycutt was frustrated over the way the race played out during the final few laps, as he knew that elusive first career victory was assured if the final caution had not come out.
“This is the first time we haven’t run mid-pack the entire year,” Honeycutt said. “We had a really good car and wore out Bobby [McCarty] a little bit but this just sucks because we’re going to win the race but now I just have to come back better and find some luck.”
Johnson expressed pride in Honeycutt’s performance on Saturday and is confident that the two of them will be celebrating in victory lane on plenty of occasions before the 2021 season concludes.
“This program is awesome,” Johnson said. “We have all the speed in the world but it is all on the drivers to keep the wheels on them. It’s a pleasure to drive these cars and our whole program is pretty badass right now.”
With Tri-County now firmly in the past for Johnson, he is now focused on making more improvements to his cars as the CARS LMSC Tour enters a grueling summer stretch.
1. Justin Johnson
2. Deac McCaskill
3. Kaden Honeycutt
4. Bobby McCarty
5. Brandon Pierce
6. Sam Yarbrough
7. Jonathan Findley
8. Mason Diaz
9. Trevor Ward
10. Joe Valento
11. Daniel Silvestri
12. Jonathan Shafer
13. Jared Fryar
14. Mini Tyrrell
15. Coy Beard
16. Conner Jones
17. Dylan Ward
18. Sam Butler
19. Layne Riggs
20. Mike Looney
21. Jason York
22. Josh Berry