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C J Johnson Takes Hard Fought URSS Win at RPM Speedway Opener


The opening night of the 2009 United Rebel Sprint Series season saw 31 teams converge to RPM Speedway all to do battle to lay claim to the first points of the year. Quinter’s C J Johnson picked up where he left off last year but the win wasn’t easy as he fought off numerous challenges before taking he checkers.

C J Johnson brought the field to the green along with Smokey Fairbank and jumped out to the early lead with Barry Crane, Jason Martin, Patrick Bourke and Ken Lutters rounding out the top five after lap one. Crane was right on Johnson’s rear bumper as the pair looked to put some distance between Bourke, Martin and Lutters who were battling closely for the third through fifth positions. Martin was pressuring Crane for the runner up spot, both within striking distance of the leader. Bourke spun on lap four to bring out the caution.

As the front five bunched up, B-Main winners Jon Johnson and Taylor Milton were working their way up to front.  The pair had caught up to 2008 National Champion Brian Herbert and Darren Bowman by lap five as the foursome battled for position. Up front Johnson still held the lead but Crane and Martin had closed in and were looking for the right line to take away the point. Behind them, Lutters and Bowman were fighting for the fourth and fifth spots with Bowman making the pass stick on lap ten bringing Herbert with him.

The race for the runner up spot heated up as Martin increasingly pressured Crane for the spot with Martin taking the position on lap twelve. Crane soon faced intense pressure from Bowman and Herbert, with Herbert taking the third spot on lap seventeen and set his sights on second place Martin. Lap eighteen saw Herbert take the spot away from Martin for good as Crane, Bowman and Milton were locked in a battle for positions four through six. Bourke who spun earlier had made his way all the way back up to the eighth spot by lap nineteen and was locked in a battle with Lutters. Both drivers were searching for the right line to get up to Milton in sixth.

Bowman held on to the fifth spot but was being pressured by Milton who was right on his bumper, the pair battled for several laps before Milton found the line to make the pass on lap twenty two. Up front lapped traffic was becoming an issue for the leaders as they sliced and diced their way through field. Lap twenty-three saw the battle between Milton and Bowman heat up again as Bowman took back the spot on lap twenty-four.

As the checkers fell it was C J Johnson taking the win with Herbert, Martin, Crane and Milton taking the fifth position back from Bowman on the final lap. 

The Keizer Aluminum Wheels “Hard Charger Award” went to Taylor Milton who came from his eleventh place starting spot to finish in the fifth position.

Heat #1: 1-Jason Martin, 2-Keefe Hemel (11), 3-Brian Herbert (97), 4-CJ Johnson (45X), 5-Cody Salem (22), 6-Bill Hays (2H), 7-Jon Johnson (86), 8-Craig Jecha (17X)

Heat #2: 1-Patrick Bourke (27), 2-Willie Wynn (36W), 3-Mike Spear (54), 4-Travis Decker (84T), 5-Chad Salem (17), 6-Corey Lutters (07) DNF, 7-Kirby Hagan (4) DNF, Justin Schwien (76J) DQ

Heat #3: 1-Ken Lutters (79), 2-Barry Crane (30C), 3-Ray Seemann (72), 4-Blake Bogenhagen (27B), 5-Howard Van Dyke (74), 6-Reed Bernbeck (C3), 7-Greg Thyfault (27G), Taylor Milton (91X) DQ

Heat #4; 1-Darren Bowman (9B), 2-Smokey Fairbank (2), 3-Lance Davis (9D), 4-Justin Chaffin (69), Michael Williams (77W) DNF, Tyler Kraus (12) DNS, Jake Martens (0T) DQ

B-Main #1: 1-Taylor Milton (91X), 2-Cody Salem (22), Jake Martens (0T), 4-Darren Bowman (9B), 5-Mike Spear (54), 6-Blake Bogenhagen (27B), 7-Chad Salem (17), 8-Corey Lutters (07), 9-Michael Williams (77W), Kirby Hagan (4) DNS, Tyler Kraus (12) DNS

B-Main #2: 1-Jon Johnson (86), 2-Ray Seemann (72), 3-Craig Jecha (17X), 4-Howard Van Dyke (74), 5-Travis Decker (84T), 6-Justin Chaffin (69), 7-Reed Bernbeck (C3), 8-Bill Hays (2H), 9-Greg Thyfault (27G) Justin Schwien (76J) DQ

A-Main: 1- CJ Johnson (45X), 2-Brian Herbert (97), 3-Jason Martin (36), 4-Barry Crane (30C), 5-Taylor Milton (91X), 6-Darren Bowman (9B), 7-Patrick Bourke (27), 8-Ken Lutters (79), 9-Jon Johnson (86), 10-Ray Seemann (72), 11-Cody Salem (22), 12-Smokey Fairbank (2), 13-Craig Jecha (17X), 14-Jake Martin (0T), 15-Keefe Hemel (11), 16-Howard Van Dyke (74), 17-Tarvis Decker (84T), 18-Willie Wynn (36W), 19-Lance Davis (9D), 20-Mike Spear (54)




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