Driver turned owner finds success on circuit

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Davey Johnson has won a lot of races and even a few championships, but that was before this Imperial native was a car owner.

Johnson, 50, won the 3rd Annual Jackpot 75 Sunday night at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne, W.Va., which paid $20,000.

Before the 2013 racing season, Johnson always drove for someone else.

That all changed in 2013 when Johnson bought a racecar.

While Johnson had some success, it was time to hire someone to take care of the car full time, so Johnson hired Austin Hargrove, 30, from New York.

Since Hargrove came on board, Johnson won a $10,000 feature in Florida with their eyes on the bigger-paying Super Late Model races.

Johnson is having fun now.

“If we’re not too busy we’ll go racing, we’re not going racing just to go racing” Johnson said. “We’re not going to wear our stuff out before the bigger paying races.”

“With Austin taking care of the car, the little things don’t go wrong and we’re having fun … I am enjoying it.”

The next race on Johnson’s schedule is the $100,000 to-win 20th Annual Late Model Dream 100 June 7.

Johnson is looking forward to racing close to home this season at the Firecracker 100 at Lernerville Speedway, which pays $30,000 to the winner.

“I love racing at Lernerville,” Johnson said. “It’s a great track and it’s only an hour away. Sure beats driving 20 hours to race for the same amount.”

Johnson is also a big fan of the Pittsburgher 100 at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway.

“I am looking forward to the Pittsburgher this year,” he said.

Lernerville event

Lernerville Speedway returns to action at 7:30 p.m. today with Trophy Girl Reunion Night.

All four divisions will be on hand at the Sarver oval. While still early in the points chase, only sprint car driver Carl Bowser has more than a one-point lead over his closest competitor. In the other divisions, leaders hold a one-point advantage or are tied.

Danny Holtgraver and Russ King are the only two-time winners this season at Lernerville.


• Motordrome Speedway will be back in action at 7:30 p.m. today with five divisions. All fans that bring back their ticket stub from May 23 receive half off general admission to the NASCAR weekly racing series asphalt oval in Smithton, Westmoreland County.

• Pittsburgh Raceway Park, the IHRA drag strip in New Alexandria, will be the host of its third points race for all classes at 3 p.m. Saturday.

• Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway near Imperial will be racing at 7 p.m. Saturday with five divisions plus the Ed Laboon 20 for Pro Stocks. Russ Kolesar won the RUSH Late Model feature Saturday in his first race at PPMS since 2008.

• Mercer Raceway Park is the host of the ASCS Patriot Sprint Tour at 7 p.m. Saturday. The ASCS 360 Sprint Car field will include four past champions and upcoming talent Paige Polyak driver Mike Woodring, who has mentored Erin Crocker and Becca Anderson.

• Roaring Knob Motorsports Park Sunday will host the return of the 410 Sprints and the Kasey Kahne Dirt Classic qualifier, which will pay $5,000 to the winner. Dave Blaney is expected to return to claim his spot after narrowly defeating Jac Haudenschild May 18 at Roaring Knob. Many more regional sprint car drivers are expected to compete in the chance to win a guaranteed starting spot in the Kasey Kahne Dirt Classic Sept. 27 at Lincoln Speedway.

• Blaney will be inducted to the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Saturday in Knoxville, Iowa.

• The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix announced that the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Foundation will be the new presenting sponsor.

• The World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars invade Attica Raceway Park tonight in Attica, Ohio, with local drivers Danny Holtgraver, Tim Shaffer and Blaney competing along with Steve Kinser, who is in his final season as a regular on the tour. ARP is the closest track to Western Pennsylvania. It’s the only chance to see the WoO Sprint Cars in the area before the Don Martin Memorial Silver Cup Twin 30’s July 15 at Lernerville.

DJ Johnson:

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