Johnson Grabs a $15k Payday in the Joe Shear Classic at Madison
By: Kevin Ramsell
Casey Johnson and the Apex Motorsports team only needed 25 minutes between practice and qualifying to get the transmission changed in his car.
He paid his team back for their hard work by winning the 15th running of the ARCA Midwest Tour’s Joe Shear Classic 200 presented by Keen Parts on Sunday afternoon at Madison International Speedway in Oregon, Wisconsin.
For the first time, the event paid $15,000 to win and $1,500 to start.
“This is definitely a crown jewel,” Johnson exclaimed after the race. “Especially with the way how Gregg (McKarns, ARCA Midwest Tour Promoter) is bumping up the purse for 200 laps and honoring a great race car driver like Joe Shear. This is a big win for me.”
The two-time ARCA Midwest Tour champion would start third and fall back to fifth in the early going but that is as far as he would fall back as he would move forward by driving up to the second spot by lap 14.
His run to the front would be slowed on lap 27 when five-time Midwest Tour champion Ty Majeski broke an oil line going into turn three making hard contact with the backend of his car. He would walk away, but was done for the day.
Austin Nason would lead the field back to green on lap 34 with Dalton Zehr taking over the second spot from Johnson.
Zehr would take over the lead from Nason on lap 54 and would lead until the competition caution on lap 99. The entire field headed to pit road for fuel and tires.
On the re-start on lap 105, Zehr and Johnson would battle for the top spot with Johnson taking over the lead from Zehr.
The final caution would wave on lap 136 when Nason had a left rear trailing arm break coming out of turn two causing him to spin and make contact with the backstretch wall.
Johnson would again lead the field on the final re-start on lap 141. He would build up a comfortable lead on Zehr and Derek Kraus.
Zehr would make a charge at the end but would come up 0.424 seconds short at the checkered flag.
Kraus would finish third with fast qualifier John deAngelis finishing fourth. Riley Stenjem came from his 20th starting spot to finish fifth.
“If you are going to win the race, you don’t have a lot of time to think, you just got to hit your marks and stay smooth,” Johnson said regarding Zehr’s late charge. “If they catch you they do, if they don’t they don’t. I just set a pace where I knew the car would hang on and it was just enough.”
“Joe Shear is a staple in the midwest short track racing community, so it’s a big honor to win his race.”
The ARCA Midwest Tour’s next event is on Saturday, May 28th at Jefferson Speedway, located between Cambridge and Jefferson, Wisconsin, for the Salute the Troops 100.
More information can be found at midwestour.racing.