Johnson and Stornetta Capture Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series Championships

PETALUMA, CA – SEPTEMBER 29, 2012:  The final race of the Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series became a shootout between former Petaluma Speedway Champion Bradley Terrell and 17-year old Chase Johnson with Terrell holding a scant 6 point lead in the standings coming into the event.

The Petaluma Speedway adobe surface was at its smooth and tacky best for qualifying and saw 17-year old Johnson a sizzling 108 mph lap at 12.431 seconds nipping Billy Butler for fast time.  The heat races would prove to be pivotal with the extremely tight championship point battle between Terrell and Johnson. 

Elk Grove’s Bobby McMahon, making his first appearance with the Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series, won the first heat over Kenny Drew with Johnson picking up one point for third place. Terrell was closing on leader Trevor Schmidt in the second heat when he could not avoid contact when Schmidt flipped in turn two relegating Terrell to the back with two laps to go. Former Petaluma Speedway Champion Art McCarthy Jr. picked up the heat race win over Butler and Chase Wood with Terrell clawing his way back to fifth.

Shawn Wright charged to the early lead in the main event over McMahon, McCarthy, and Drew. Wright got tangled with a lapped car on lap 11 and overturned in turn two handing the lead to McMahon. Upon the restart, Johnson quickly picked up two spots moving up to the second position. Bradley Terrell, relegated to 14th starting position after the heat race, was aggressively picking off cars knowing every position was critical with the championship on the line. 

Billy Butler’s night ended with a quick snap roll in turn two necessitating another red flag. Before the final green flag it appeared that Johnson would have to settle for the runner-up spot in the race and the point standings. Then with only two laps remaining McMahon encountered a lapped car giving Johnson the opportunity he needed to slide by and win the main event. Chasing Johnson and McMahon to the line were McCarthy, Terrell, and Drew.

When the points were quickly tabulated it became apparent that the pass for the lead on lap 23 was not only for the race win but the championship title with Johnson winning his first Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series Championship by one point over Terrell.

The Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series Wingless Sprint Car Crown was clinched the previous week  by young Joe Stornetta, so this nights event was like open season for many of the ‘wingless’ pilots. Benicia’s Billy Aton captured quick time with a blistering 14.461 second lap. Heat race wins went to runner-up points finisher Zack Lynskey, and veteran Sparky Howard.

In the 25-lap finale it was Howard wresting initial control over a swarm consisting of Aton, Lynskey, Stornetta, and Klint Simpson. Lynskey and Aton who put on a tremendous show in their heat race, continued to battle until the two got tangled in turn two bringing out the caution. Both were able to continue restarting from the back.

Bill Cornwell brought out the next caution falling victim to the very tacky and fast Petaluma Speedway surface high side tip-over in turn one. After a quick trip to the pits for a flat tire, Cornwell rejoined the field.

The final green flag appeared on lap 15 with Howard continuing to pace Simpson, Dupont, and Stornetta. At the checkered flag the popular Santa Rosa driver picked up his first Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series victory of the year over Simpson and series champion Stornetta. Scott Dupont having his best night of the season was fourth over Lynskey.

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