Chris Johnson & Justin Carroll Make It Two In A Row

IMG_5653Lucama, NC – Chris Johnson made it two in a row at Southern National in the 2014 edition of the Thanksgiving All-Star Classic. Johnson took the lead away from Humblet in the almost caution free feature on lap 33 and immediately put two cars between the two. Early, it looked like Jimmy Humblet was going to be the car to beat, when the green flag was displayed Humblet hit the gas and the nitrous button at the same time.

Not but five laps in Humblet had built himself all but a full straightaway lead over Johnson, you had to look back another eight cars to find third place Shawn Balluzzo. I really wish there was something more interesting to talk about this race but there really wasn’t. Only other interesting thing I learned after the fact was the #77 of Hunter Slayton showed up with his huge motor pretty much to shake things down for the Snowball Derby next weekend – he would pull his machine off at half way and leave it up to everyone else.

The nights one and only caution came from the solo, untouched, random spin of none other than Chris Humblet. Which, has earned him last nights “D’oh Moment of the Race Award” – honestly I am pretty sure this puts him at the top of the list for the entire weekend! By this time in the race all but the top three were the only ones left on the lead lap leaving Humblet & Balluzzo the only ones eligible for the cone, no one took the bait creating a single file, green-white-checkered.

Even that was not enough to slow Johnson down from defending his title as he drove his #36 machine back into victory lane. “First off I got to thank Jimmy,” Chris Johnson said in victory lane.  “We broke a hub there in the first practice and he gave us a spindle and hub to put on this race car to even be able to run this race.” We had to make quite a bit of adjustments and changes to get the car to work with the parts he had. Johnson went on to talk about the race and to thank SNMP officials for allowing them to race this weekend. “I have to thank him for racing clean, we are all here to have a good time and I think we all did that. I also have to thank this crew, they did a hell of a job getting this thing back together. We lost a cylinder there during the race so we were down a cylinder. I just have to thank everyone here at Southern National for letting us come here and race.”

Results

1. #36 Chris Johnson; 50
2. #11 Jimmy Humblet; 50
3. #48 Shawn Balluzzo; 50
4. #38 Michael Johnson; 50
5. #95 Danny Harrell; 49
6. #20 Chris Humblet; 49
7. #77 Hunter Slayton; 25

Legends

Nineteen cars were in attendance this weekend at The Park for their 40 lap feature. Yes, you read that right – no that was not a typo. 19 legend cars packed the infield of Southern National, probably… no definitely the most INEX Legend cars I have seen on a single track in over three years. Pretty obvious these drivers were just as excited to get things started as we were as it took two times to get a good start from the flag man. Pole sitter Billy Hall was first to jump on it to soon causing a complete restart, then outside pole sitter Justin Carroll was found guilty of jumping on it to fast.

’Third times a charm,’ is a true statement! Finally working some green flag laps it was clear to see that Carroll in fact had the better car on restarts as well as the faster car on the longer runs. Things got single file pretty quickly as the triplet of leaders checked leaving all of a ten car gap between them and Tommy Jackson, Jr.

Besides the couple of intentional cautions brought out by a couple of guys that I will just leave their names out of the conversation, it was a relatively easy-going race. Have to give credit to Tommy Jackson, Jr for running down Billy Hall with 15 laps to go and creating some pretty interesting racing. Jackson & Hall would spend the rest of the race battle and exchanging the third place position, however, Hall would prevail to hang onto the third spot.

Alex Pacheco, in the #77 car almost made things interesting running down Justin Carroll but was not able to make a clean pass for the lead, even after a green-white-checkered and would have to settle for second place.

“I was so disappointed there,” Carroll said about that late race caution. “The car wasn’t quite handling there in qualifying for us, we left a little bit out there but made some good adjustments for the race there.” Carroll also had this to say about his first two races/wins at Southern National. “This car was just hooked up all weekend. Being the first time here at the track and winning back to back races I can’t be more proud. I just want to thank Stephen Ross for letting me drive his car,” Carroll also had to say before heading to tech. “And being able to do burnout out there, it was the first time I have done those in my life. Alex Pacheco would hold onto second, Billy Hall third, Tommy Jackson fourth with Dillion Spain rounding out the top five.

Results

1. #1 Justin Carroll; 40
2. #77 Alex Pacheco; 40
3. #30 Billy Hall; 40
4. #87 Tommy Jackson, Jr.; 40
5. #7 Dillion Spain; 40
6. #10 Justin Mitchell; 40
7. #11 Chris Stancil; 40
8. #1m Eddie Massengill; 40
9. #8 Travis Weber; 40
10. 11x Caleb Day; 39
11. #88 Zack Brown; 39
12. #86 Stephen Ford; 39
13. #28 Teddy Hodgdon; 39
14. #12 Eric Courtney; 39
15. #51 Todd McCollum; 38
16. #110 Kade Lambert; 38
17. #13 Hunter Hansen; 31
18. #91 Will Bristle; 9
19. #84b Ryan Millington; 8

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