MOORESVILLE, N.C. (June 6, 2011) – Johanna Long continued her recent string of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) debuts on Saturday at Kansas Speedway in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250. In her first race at the 1.5-mile track, Long finished 24th in the No. 20 Panhandle Grading & Paving Toyota Tundra.
Long took to the track on Friday for two practice sessions. In the first session, the 19-year-old worked with driver coach Johnny Benson to learn eccentricities of Kansas Speedway. With a truck that was loose-handling in Turn 3, Long finished in 28th. In final practice, she felt more comfortable with the track and her truck, finishing practice with the 24th quickest time.
Following practice, Long joined other NCWTS drivers for an autograph session at the track. On Saturday, the Pensacola, Fla. native returned to the track to qualify. She improved over her practice times, qualifying 21st with a time of 32.806 seconds.
The No. 20 suffered from a tight-handling condition in the corner to begin the race as Long lost a few positions in the early going. On lap 16, the Panhandle Motorsports team called her in to the pits for a chassis adjustment and fuel. Long continued to fight for positions throughout the green-flag run, despite the fact that her truck was loose going into the corners and tight off. The second caution flag waved on Lap 60, and Long pitted for tires, fuel and another adjustment.
Long went one-lap down while green flag pit stops were cycling through but returned to the lead lap on the lap 66 restart. Following the team’s latest adjustments, Long radioed that the truck was better. She continued to race until a Lap 97 caution, when Long pitted for tires and fuel. The truck tightened up, and Long returned to the pits for an adjustment and fuel on Lap 110.
Long restarted in 16th position on Lap 115 and raced in the top-20 until she pitted for tires and fuel following the race’s final caution on lap 131. Long restarted in 19th position on Lap 137. Throughout the race’s final laps, Long reported that her No. 20 Toyota Tundra had gotten really loose getting into the corners, relegating her to a 24th-place finish.
Johanna Long will return to the track this week in the No. 20 Panhandle Grading & Paving Toyota Tundra, racing in the WinStar World Casino 400k on Friday, June 10 at Texas Motor Speedway. The race will air at 8 pm CDT on SPEED.
Johanna Long Quote:
“We struggled a little throughout the day fighting the handling of the truck, but the guys never gave up and kept on making adjustments during our pit stops. By the end of the day, the truck was handling a lot better, and we were able to make gains. I learned a lot during the race and gained valuable experience, which is really important coming to race at places that I’ve never been before. I would’ve liked to have had a better finish, but I will take what I’ve learned at Kansas and move on to Texas.”
About Johanna Long:
Johanna Long, one of the youngest drivers in the elite NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, races the No. 20 Pan Handle Grading & Paving Toyota Tundra for family-owned Panhandle Motorsports. The 19-year-old 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 http://www.johannalong.com/ .