Johnson earns $5,000 victory at Santa Maria

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (May 29-30) — Polesitter Mike Johnson of Lompoc, Calif., fought off challenges from fellow front-row starter Chris Shannon of Merced, Calif., to record a $5,000 victory Sunday at Santa Maria Speedway, the richest purse in two years of West Coast Shootout Late Model racing.

Shannon dueled with Johnson early, and pressured him again side-by-side after a lap-23 restart, but Johnson stayed in control at the third-mile oval.

Shannon slipped back to third at the finish as eighth-starting A.J. Kirkpatrick, who dropped out of the top 10 earl in the race, rallied back to finish second in one of the biggest California Late Model events this season. Former track champion Steve Drake of San Luis Obispo Calif., was fourth and Mike Kirby of Torrance, Calif., rounded out the top five.

Bobby Hogge IV of Salinas, Calif., started third and ran among the leaders much of the way before a spin knocked him from contention.

Among other cautions was a lap-23 scramble between turns three and four for John Lowrey, Chet Buckley and Jason Selvidge.

Notes: Johnson’s Fringer Motorsports entry is sponsored by Coors Light, North Coast Connection and Amercian Industrial. … Drivers failing to make the main event: Jason Papich, Tony Toste, Jerry Stewart, Johnny Cardoza, Ron Bartels, Anthony Barkett, Carla Laney and Larry Childress. … Next up for West Coast Shootout competitors is a $2,000-to-win event June 12 at Giant Speedway in Hanford, Calif.

WCS @ Santa Maria: (1) Mike Johnson, (2) A.J. Kirkpatrick, (3) Chris Shannon, (4) Steve Drake, (5) Mike Kirby, (6) Nick Bartels, (7) Jeff Decker, (8) Bobby Hogge, (9) Chet Buckley, (10) Dino Napier, (11) Andy Obertello, (12) Tommy Malcolm, (13) Logan Drake, (14) John Lowrey, (15) Clay Daly, (16) Brad Pounds, (17) Jason Selvidge, (18) Jeffrey Priddy, (19) Bill Bartels, (20) Robert Sanders. Fast qualifier (among 30 cars): Daly, 16.199 seconds. Heat race winners: Pounds, Bartels, Hogge, Johnson. Dash winner: Johnson. Consolation winner: Napier.

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