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CJ Johnson Edges Out Salem For URSS Win At Oberlin

As the sun settled on Decatur County, the winged warriors invaded Oberlin for night number two of a three day run for the United Rebel Sprint Series. The fans would witness a heavy weight prizefight, as Quinter’s C.J. Johnson would slug it out with St. Joseph, Missouri’s Cody Salem in a sprint car battle for the ages. Twenty-one teams would check in and when the final bell rang, it was Johnson driving to victory lane for the fifth time in 2009 and the nineteenth time in his Rebel career.

Ransom’s Reed Bernbeck would lead the all-star cast to the green for a twenty-five lap feature with Craig Jecha, Timken, alongside. Jecha would use his outside row one starting position to grab the lead down the back chute with Bernbeck, Ken Lutters, Cody Salem, and Corey Lutters settling into the top five.

The second circuit would see C.J. Johnson rocket into the top five bringing Willy Wynn along for the ride. Not wasting any time Johnson would eat up positions lap after lap and would find the front on lap five. Jecha would drop to second with Bernbeck, Wynn, and Jon Johnson in tow.

After a frantic five lap green flag run, several cautions would halt the momentum in the early going. The yellow would be pulled for Wynn after a turn four spin. On the ensuing restart, Bernbeck would slip off the top side of turn one. Barry Crane would narrowly avoid a collision with Bernbeck slipping in between the C3 and the guardrail.

Meanwhile Salem had begun his march to the front. Coming from the fourth row he had used the choppy start of the Rebel main event and the low groove to thread the needle between Jon Johnson and Craig Jecha reaching the second position.

After the top five shake down, C.J. Johnson would show the field the way with Salem, Jon Johnson, Jecha, Smokey Fairbank, and Barry Crane in tow. But the green would fly for only two circuits, as the action would be halted once again for Jecha looping in turn four. The following restart would see Salem grab the lead from Johnson in turns one and two using the low line once again but the pass would not hold up, as the caution would fly for Bill Hartpence.

Back under way C.J. Johnson knew exactly where the pressure would be coming from after Salem had shown his hand. Johnson would slam the door closed on Salem’s low line with Jon Johnson, Ray Seemann, and Fairbank the top five.

The next laps would be fast and furious with the field slicing it up for position. Seemann, Fairbank, and Crane would battle each other for a chance at the top five with Seemann holding down fourth spot and Crane and Fairbank going back and forth in the fifth and sixth positions. Crane would crack the top five with nine laps to go and just as he had his sights set on Seemann’s fourth slot, Crane’s charge would be halted by an empty fuel tank.

At the front the pace was frantic as the battle for the lead began to heat up. Salem was hot on C.J. Johnson’s heels as the top two battled their way through lapped traffic. Lap after lap Salem would drive alongside the Quinter native’s door to no avail. The side by battle for the lead was intense. With the crowd on their feet and eight laps to go, Salem roared by C.J. Johnson to take the lead. But turn four was the hot spot once again and as Salem hammered the high line the cushion would not hold. With the leader up in the marbles the door was open and C.J. Johnson would take advantage of the Salem miscue driving underneath the 22 to regain the lead. Salem would be unable to mount another charge and C.J. Johnson would make an inaugural trip to victory lane at Decatur County Speedway, the nineteenth of his rebel career, and his fifth of the season. Salem would settle for second, with Jon Johnson grabbing the third slot. Seemann would hold the fourth position with Fairbank rounding out the top five.

The Keizer Aluminum Wheels “Hard Charger Award” was picked up by Michael Williams who raced his way to seventh place finish from his eighteenth starting position.

Heat Races - #1-CJ Johnson, #2-Reed Bernbeck, #3-Willie Wynn

A-Main: 1-CJ Johnson (45X), 2-Cody Salem (22), 3-Jon Johnson (86), 4-Ray Seemann (72), 5-Smokey Fairbank (51), 6-Willie Wynn (36W), 7-Michael Williams (77W), 8-Jeff Radcliffe (21R), 9-Corey Lutters (07), 10-Ken Lutters (79), 11-Reed Bernbeck (C3), 12-Bill Hays, (2H), 13-Shawn Radcliffe (3), 14-Craig Jecha (17X), 15-Bill Hartpence (11H), 16-Chad Salem (17), 17-Barry Crane (30C), 18-Randy Bantam (5R), 19-Cody Keiswetter (38), 20-Blake Bogenhagen (27B), Darren Berry (12) DNS




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