|*PHOTO BY ROB KOCAK PHOTOS*|
Inside Line Promotions - KNOXVILLE, Iowa (June 8, 2020) - Kaleb Johnson earned his career-best finish at Knoxville Raceway on Saturday night during the 360ci sprint car feature.
Johnson started 16th in the 24-car field and ran as high as ninth late in the race before settling for a 12th-place result.
"Our night went pretty well," he said. "If I could've qualified a little better it would've been better in the long run. But all things considered, especially since I don't have very many laps there, I thought it was okay."
Johnson knew that starting deep in a strong feature field would be challenging.
"We tried to set the car up for both the top and the bottom, but that didn't really work out," he said. "I knew I was going to be stuck in dirty air and that's a pretty big deal at that track. I tried running the top a couple of times and that didn't work. After that I just tried to stick the bottom the best I could. In the past at Knoxville I haven't been able to run the bottom very well so at least I got a little more experience doing it.
"I just pretty much tried to stay out of the wrecks and pick off cars when I could. I passed Lee Grosz for ninth on the last restart with about five laps to go, but I missed the bottom a bit in turns one and two and he and a couple of other cars were able to get by me. You always want to do better. But considering many of the guys I was racing against have a lot more laps there than me, I wasn't too ashamed of finishing 12th."
Johnson began the night by qualifying 17th quickest out of 30 cars.
"We made some changes before the heat race that I wish we would've done earlier for qualifying," he said. "But that's part of our learning curve there. Now we have something that we can consider trying the next time we qualify there."
Johnson started on the pole position for his heat race alongside Grosz.
"I got a pretty good start and was able to slide Lee going into turn one for the lead," he said. "But he stayed with me and pulled a slider on me on the second lap. There wasn't enough race track left to try to turn underneath him. About all I did was sit there and spin the tires. After that I just kind of rode around behind him, trying different entries to the turns. Eventually it pretty much became follow the leader around the top and I finished second."
Johnson hopes to take the momentum from his solid night into a return to Knoxville Raceway on June 20.
QUICK RESULTS -
June 6 - Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa - Qualifying: 17; Heat race: 2 (1); Feature: 12 (16).
SEASON STATS -
2 races, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10, 2 top 15s, 2 top 20s
UP NEXT -
June 20 at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa
MEDIA LINKS -
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"We're really excited to have Sea Foam back with our team this year," Johnson said. "Kevin and his wife are very loyal racing fans and I'm proud to represent their company."
Johnson would also like to thank Merle Johnson Farm Toys, GRP Motorsports, Oddson Underground, JF Capital, Snyder Tree Service, State Bank of Fairmont, Schaeffer's Oil, Hepfner Racing Products, DeBerg Concrete, Big Al's Diecasts, The Ron Weber Team, DeBerg Flooring, Dave's Lawncare, Guaranteed Rate - Mike Brudigan Home Loans, Triple M Trucking, Last Deck and Marthaler Dodge for their continued support.
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