WHEATLAND, MO. (March 11, 2021) – The debut of the O’Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Car division at Lucas Oil Speedway certainly features some unknowns, both in terms of who will be competing and how the season championship chase will play out.
Scott Johnson of Nevada, a veteran of the full-bodied Stock Car racing scene, is eager to see how he fits into the mix. Johnson has spent the winter working as much overtime as he can at the 3M plant in Nevada to have funding to put together a new, competitive car for 2021.
“I think the USRA will open a lot of doors that the other class didn’t,” said Johnson, who finished eighth in Lucas Oil Speedway Street Stocks points last season. “It will give us a lot of opportunities to do different things, to run for national (USRA) points and be able to run some tracks that I couldn’t run in the past that were USRA.”
With the Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series season opener just over three weeks away, Johnson and crew chief John Waugh are putting the finishing touches on their home-brand “Sleeper” chassis.
Johnson, 45, has been racing since 1996 except for a 10-year break, from 2000-2010, following the birth of his son. While he’s dabbled in Modifieds along the way, his heart clearly is in the stock style of car.
Last season, despite missing some weeks due to work commitments, he realized a goal of finishing top-10 in Lucas Oil Speedway points. Johnson had seven top-10 finishes in nine features.
“I’ve always liked the Stock Cars because the fans can relate to the vehicles we’re racing,” Johnson said. “I’ve always liked the full-bodied car type of stuff.
“Last year was kind of an up and down season. We built a new car two years ago and kind of struggled to find the balance in that chassis. I was pretty happy with the season. We finished 8th in points and I missed a few races with work, but that’s what pays for our racing. We had a new power plant built by Eagle Machine and that’s really helped us a lot.”
Johnson said he and his dad, Mearl Johnson, and Waugh build their own chassis “because we can’t afford to buy ‘em. My dad helps out a lot. He’s at the track most weekends and he supplies us with a truck and trailer to get us back and forth of the track.”
While there was a time that Johnson would race two or three nights a week, he’s now focusing on Lucas Oil Speedway with occasionally appearances at Dallas County Speedway. If the Stock Car class has a week off at Lucas, he might look for other tracks in the region.
“I just really enjoy racing over there at Lucas and the guys we race with, as well as the staff and the facility,” Johnson said. “It’s a different feel. It seems more professional. A lot of your short-track drama is not available there, which I like.
“I like all those guys who we race with. I blew up an engine a couple of years ago and I was overwhelmed by amount of fellow racers who called me, offering me parts and the help to get back out there the next week. It was overwhelming. Just a great group of people all the way around.”
Johnson said long-time sponsors Town and Country Tire & Auto in Lockwood and Greenfield Ready Mix have been mainstays over the years. Harleman Manufacturing from El Dorado Springs has come on board this season.
As for 2021 goals, Johnson said another top-10 in points tops the list.
“I know it’s a big learning curve for a lot of people with the new rules package,” he said. “I know everybody goes out every night with the intention to win, but if you can pull off a top five or top 10 at the end of the year in points, you’ve really done something.”
Test & Tune coming up: Lucas Oil Speedway’s Open Test & Tune is scheduled for 2-6 p.m. March 27 with pit passes $25. The Big Adventure Weekly Racing Series Spring Opener Presented by Benne Media is set for April 3 with the Missouri Metal Buildings ULMA Late Models in the spotlight with a $1,000-to-win main event sponsored by HICKAMO Country Store.
The Weekly Racing Series includes 14 events, from opening night through the Rempfer Memorial Season Championship on Aug. 28, which crowns season champions. Competing classes include Cedar Creek Beef Jerky USRA Modifieds, Missouri Metal Buildings ULMA Late Models, Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods and O’Reilly Auto Parts USRA Stock Cars.
For ticket information for any event during the 2021 Lucas Oil Speedway season, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or via email at [email protected]. Fans also can use the online ticketing system.