Jake Johnson ended the 2020 season on the highest of highs, winning the Snowflake 100 at Five Flags Speedway. He now turns his attention to the new year, which sees him compete in four races in two days in North Carolina.
The Massachusetts driver will head south for Easter Bunny 150 weekend at Hickory Motor Speedway April 1-2, where he will take part in both Pro All Stars Series races as well as both American-Canadian Tour events. Add it all together, and Johnson could be turning up to 500 laps of competition over the course of two days.
After the long winter in the Northeast, Johnson is ready to kick the season off in style.
“I’m definitely excited because we can finally get some racing in. The weather’s starting to turn around but it’s been a long offseason and we’re ready to get back at it,” Johnson told Speed51. “It’s going to be a busy April for us. It’s definitely exciting because we don’t get to go to Hickory much. Whenever we get to travel it’s always nice.”
With two cars to focus on during the weekend, the team have decided to split the duties up. He has enlisted the help of former USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series competitor Chase Pistone for the weekend so Johnson won’t be stretched nearly as thin.
“To stay focused we’re going to divide the team up a little bit. My dad and me are going to work on one car and Chase (Pistone) is going to help on the PASS car just to try and simplify it a little bit so we’re not stressed on both cars. It’s definitely going to be a chaotic weekend but hopefully we’re able to keep it under control and get both cars handling good and have a successful weekend.”
The Easter Bunny weekend will be his first event since winning the Snowflake 100 last December. In that race, he had driven from 31st to third in 100 laps, ultimately credited with the race win after last-corner contact between Stephen Nasse and Bubba Pollard relegated both drivers to the tail end of the lead lap.
While the big win was huge for the team, they also picked up valuable information they can use for future races.
“It’s definitely a huge confidence booster and good for putting a notebook together for that car. We learned a lot just being down there besides the win as far as where we need to be handling-wise for the long haul and not overly focus on qualifying, which hurt us a little bit but on the long run it made us do as good as we did.
“As a team we learned good communication and working good together. It was huge just for me and the team as a big milestone, but also how much we learned down there and where everything needs to be to be successful in the long run.”
With four races on the docket on Easter weekend, Johnson will have ample opportunity to get more laps at Hickory under his belt. His overall goal for the entire weekend remains simple.
“It’s to keep everything in one piece and just finish good. We definitely should have good cars down there and we’ll have heat races. We have some experience down at Hickory so it’s not like it’s going to be a completely foreign racetrack like it is for a lot of guys that are coming from up north. We’ll have a bit of experience there and a little bit of an advantage, hopefully we can get a top-five in one of the PASS races and one of the ACT races.”
Both Easter Bunny 150 nights will be live on Speed51.TV. Click here to check out broadcast options and order your video pass today.
-Story by: Koty Geyer, Speed51 National Correspondent – Twitter: @kgeyer3
-Photo Credit: Speed51 Photo