(TOLEDO, Ohio - September 26, 2010) - Jerick Johnson may not be in contention for the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards championship, but there's plenty for which the 30-year-old Minnesotan is "charging" as the season winds down.
Though 18th in overall series points after making 12 of 18 possible starts this year, Johnson (No. 76 American Legion/David Law Firm Chevrolet) is currently in second place in the CGS Imaging Hard Charger Award standings, seven behind award leader and ARCA Racing Series points leader Patrick Sheltra (84-77). Points are awarded race-by-race, with drivers accumulating totals based on positions advanced from the start within a race. Cars must feature a CGS Imaging decal to be eligible for the award, and are not eligible if using a starting provisional.
The driver who advances the most positions during each race receives the CGS Imaging Hard Charger Award for that event, and the driver with the most points at the end of the season receives the CGS Imaging Hard Charger of the Year award. The CGS Imaging Hard Charger Award provides a $200 product certificate per race, and the year-end CGS Imaging Hard Charger of the Year receives a full race car wrap, which is valued at $2500.
"As a small business owner, it's very rewarding for me, personally, to promote our company through ARCA's special awards program," said Chuck Stranc, CEO and president of Maumee, Ohio-based CGS Imaging.
Johnson has improved from his starting position on nine occasions this year, second only to Sheltra's 13 and tied with Tom Hessert's nine. Down 81-66 after the September 6 race in DuQuoin, Ill., Johnson has improved his position five and six spots, respectively, in recent races at Toledo and Salem, Ind. to trim the gap to Sheltra. Johnson made major waves in the competition in the spring, improving 19 (Texas), 14 (Talladega), and 14 (Toledo) positions from the start in consecutive races.
"I think we're in a good position to pull off this award," Johnson said. "We're a few points behind Patrick, and he's racing for a series championship, which I think puts us in good position for the Hard Charger Award."
Johnson, who kept busy over the weekend by racing a Late Model at Ace Speedway in Elon, N.C., feels his Kansas experience may be on his side with the Kansas Lottery 150 at Kansas Speedway only four days away.
"I'm excited. The few times we've been to Kansas have been good to us. My first start in ARCA was at Kansas (in 2003). We ran really well. I was fourth until our motor let go with about 30 laps to go. Otherwise, it was going to be a good first series start," Johnson said.
Having only raced two-thirds of the possible schedule to this point, Johnson feels that a full schedule for his team could have put him on the top already.
"I'm glad we're in the position we're in because we haven't raced all the races. I think had we raced all 20 races like the rest of these guys, we'd probably be in the lead. I'm glad to be in second. To still be racing for a yearly award, that's neat," he said.
Johnson will also enter the American 200 at Rockingham Speedway on October 9.
Robb Brent, last year's CGS Imaging Hard Charger of the Year, stands third, and is followed by Craig Goess and Dakoda Armstrong.
Darrell Basham, Sheltra, and Chris Buescher have each won the race award twice this season. Basham won at Toledo in May and at Chicagoland last month, Sheltra took the honors at Berlin and DuQuoin in the season's second half, and Chris Buescher has won in each of the last two weeks, at Toledo and Salem.
Other race winners in 2010 include: Tommy Joe Martins (Daytona), Tim Cowen (Palm Beach), Goess (Salem - April), Steve Arpin (Texas), Scott Stenzel (Talladega), Ed Pompa (Pocono - June), Alli Owens (Michigan), Casey Roderick (Iowa), Max Gresham (Mansfield), Armstrong (Pocono - July), Frank Kimmel (New Jersey), and Brent (Springfield).