Casey Johnson has become one of the drivers to beat in the state of Wisconsin with Ty Majeski’s rise into NASCAR and national Super Late Model stardom, though his appearances outside of the Badger State have been limited. The defending ARCA Midwest Tour champion will leave the familiar Wisconsin tracks this weekend, as he heads to Anderson Speedway to make his ARCA/CRA Super Series debut.
Johnson isn’t completely unfamiliar with the Champion Racing Association, having competed in one of the “Border Wars” events that was co-sanctioned by CRA and the Midwest Tour in 2014 as part of the Midwest Tour contingent, as well as last year’s Speed51 Super Select. However, this will be his first foray into a standalone points-paying ARCA/CRA Super Series event.
With the Redbud 400 on his radar in less than a month, Saturday’s 125-lapper gives him an opportunity to get his feet wet at the facility before the 400-lap marathon coming on July 13.
“We’re trying to get prepared for the Redbud race and I’ve never seen the track,” Johnson told Speed51. “I figured 125-laps would let me be able to get my feet wet and learn a couple things and race against some of the guys that I’ll be running with at the Redbud.”
While he may have never competed at Anderson, he is no stranger to success at quarter-mile bullrings. Johnson won the ARCA Midwest Tour event and the National Short Track Championships at Rockford in 2019, and won the Super Late Model feature at Slinger Super Speedway just last Sunday night.
While he has received mixed opinions on which track Anderson mirrors more, he hopes to use past experience at both facilities to find the perfect setup for Saturday.
“We’ve been talking to a lot of guys that have been there, half have said it’s just like Slinger and the other half have said it’s just like Rockford. I’ll have to judge that for myself,” he said. “We’ve had success at both places. Hopefully we can take notes from each and make a hot rod out of it.”
After a strong 2018 season, 2019 was even better for Johnson. In addition to winning the ARCA Midwest Tour title, he also earned the TUNDRA Super Late Model Series championship and the local Fox River Racing Club Super Late Model championship at Wisconsin International Raceway. That number could have easily been four championships if it wasn’t for a mechanical issue in the Alive For Five Series finale, giving that championship away to Dalton Zehr.
He talked about how he was able to be so successful in 2019, even with driving for multiple teams throughout the season.
“To be honest, there was a lot of preparation. We had really good equipment and I took care of TUNDRA and Dennis Chase took care of Midwest Tour stuff. Really, we just worked together so well. We were able to really be prepared at the racetrack and unload with a good piece, make good adjustments, and everything fell into place. We also had a lot of good luck on our side. It just turned into a great season, really.”
He now heads to Anderson with Apex Motorsports, a partnership between he and former ASA Challenge Series champion Travis Dassow that started during the recent offseason. With the Redbud up ahead and new track waiting this weekend, the goal remains the same.
“We’ve never been there but my goal’s always to go there and win the race, it doesn’t really matter to me if we’ve been there or not. If we can go out there and get some good notes and get comfortable with the track, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be up front.”
Fans who can’t make it to Anderson can see Casey Johnson go up against CRA’s best live on Speed51. Click here to purchase your PPV ticket for Saturday’s ARCA/CRA Super Series Mitch Smith Auto Service 125.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo