(7/13/19) By Jim Allen, Petaluma, CA … Chase Johnson passed Bill Aton with nine-laps remaining to score Saturday’s fast-paced King of the West-NARC Fujitsu Sprint Car Series 30-lap headliner before a hometown crowd at Petaluma Speedway.
Wheeling the Shawn & Cyndi Thomas-owned Fire Suppression Engineering Shaver-powered Maxim, Johnson pocketed $3000 for his second career series victory, both of which have come at Petaluma.
Johnson had the best seat in the house after starting fourth in the grid. Fast qualifier and dash winner Ryan Bernal appeared to be the class of the field until he got caught up in lap traffic on the 15th circuit. This brought out the caution for Bernal, Nathan Rolfe and Klint Simpson.
After getting around Willie Croft on the opening lap, Johnson was now cruising in second behind Aton for the restart. However, Aton wasn’t about to take any prisoners and held off his aggressive tailgater until the 22nd lap when Johnson made his winning move.
Johnson catapulted out of the second turn and claimed a high-stakes drag race with the leader down the backchute to take the point entering the third corner. The rest is history.
“This feels really good,” admitted Johnson in victory lane. “We’ve had some bad luck this season and it’s really nice to get the win.”
Aton’s runner-up finish in his own Bill Aton Painting XXX sprinter was a series career best. Croft put together a strong workmanlike effort in his Amerikote-backed sprinter to fill out the podium.
Dominic Scelzi and Bud Kaeding battled throughout the contest, with Scelzi winning the war and scoring fourth in the Roth Motorsports KPC. Kaeding rounded out the top five in the Alviso Rock Maxim.
The second five to cross the checkered were DJ Netto, Kyle Offill, three-time series champ Jonathan Allard, Geoff Ensign, and Bernal. Netto’s effort earned his the Swift Metal Finishing hardcharger award after starting 14th.
Despite finishing tenth, Bernal still maintains a slim one-point advantage over Netto in the championship points standings (897-896.)
FUJITSU FEATURE EVENT (30-laps): Chase Johnson, Bill Aton, Willie Croft, Dominic Scelzi, Bud Kaeding, DJ Netto, Kyle Offill, Jonathan Allard, Geoff Ensign, Ryan Bernal, Sean Watts, Kenny Allen, Nathan Rolfe, Richard Brace Jr., Jenna Frazier, Klint Simpson, Tim Estenson.
LAP LEADERS: Bernal 1-14, Aton 15-21, Johnson 22-30.
ARP FAST QUALIFIER: Ryan Bernal – 12.894 seconds
BROWN & MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS FIRST HEAT (10 laps): Bud Kaeding, Klint Simpson, Dominic Scelzi, Ryan Bernal, Tim Estenson, Richard Brace Jr.
FK ROD ENDS SECOND HEAT (10 laps): Willie Croft, Chase Johnson, Nathan Rolfe, Geoff Ensign, Kenny Allen, DJ Netto,
SPEEDSHIFT TV/MVP THIRD HEAT (10 laps): Jonathan Allard, Sean Watts, Billy Aton, Kyle Offill, Jenna Frazier
SUNNYVALLEY BACON DASH (6 laps): Ryan Bernal, Billy Aton, Willie Croft, Chase Johnson, Dominic Scelzi, Klint Simpson