MOORESVILLE, N.C. (May 23, 2011) – Johanna Long finished 20th in her debut at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) on Friday. In a race filled with cautions, the No. 20 Panhandle Motorsports driver was able to stay out of trouble as she earned her third top-20 finish in her first full-time NCWTS season.
Friday was a jam-packed day at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Long set out to learn the track with her driver coach Johnny Benson as the team worked on adjusting the truck throughout both practice sessions. Long improved over her practice times to qualify 24th for the N.C. Education Lottery 200 with a time of 31.269 seconds.
The 134-lap race began with an early caution period on lap 7. Long radioed to the crew that she was happy with the handling of her Tundra. Long brought the No. 20 Panhandle Grading & Paving Toyota to the pits for four tires, fuel and adjustments to fix the loose truck under the next caution period on lap 19.
On lap 44, the young driver reported a vibration in the steering wheel but was able to continue racing hard until the next caution on lap 51. The team pitted for another adjustment, new tires and fuel. Long restarted in 19th and started driving toward the top-15. Following a pit stop when the caution flag waved on lap 75, Long was happy with her truck and continued to gain spots.
Under the final caution period, on lap 106, Long reported that the truck had taken on a tight-handling condition in the corners. The Panhandle Motorsports team called the 18-year-old in to the pits for a package of adjustments and sent her out for the remainder of the race. Long restarted in 21st position on Lap 111 and raced her way to a top-20 finish.
Johanna Long and the Panhandle Motorsports team will return to the track on Saturday, June 4th, for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 at Kansas Speedway. The race will air on SPEED with coverage beginning at 2 pm EDT.
Johanna Long Quote:
“Charlotte was a really tough track to learn, but Johnny Benson helped show me the lines and worked with me all day to adjust to the track. We were a little free during the first half of the race, but we got it handling a lot better. After the last pit stop, the truck was a little free, but we kept on digging and were able to salvage a top 20 finish. I’m really thankful to all my guys for their hard work. We will take what we learned at Charlotte and move on to Kansas.”
About Johanna Long:
At 18 years old, Johanna Long is the youngest driver in the elite NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. After making several starts in the NCWTS in 2010, Long plans to run the complete schedule in 2011 for family-owned Panhandle Motorsports. She began racing at the age of eight, quickly moving from go-karts to Legends cars to a Late Model. She made history, becoming the youngest driver and only female to win a track championship at Five Flags Speedway. She went on to win the prestigious Snowball Derby at the track in 2010. For more information on Johanna, please visit www.JohannaLong.com.