Casey Johnson fought through a rain delay, power outage, and lapped traffic to emerge victorious in the Big 8 Late Model Series presented by Gandrud Chevrolet feature event Memorial Day Monday at Columbus 151 Speedway.
After three aborted starts to the event and with more threatening weather on the way, the race got underway with an announced distance of thirty-nine laps instead of the scheduled seventy-eight laps, with another rain storm fast approaching. Pole sitter and Columbus regular Brady Liddle showed the way early in the event over teenager Brent Edmunds, making his third Big 8 Series start. As the race settled in, Liddle continued to lead Edmunds, with Johnson quickly making his way to the front.
With the advancing storms apparent, a sense of urgency was felt by all competitors. Johnson especially felt this urgency, working inside of Edmunds for the second spot. As Johnson advanced through the field, Austin Nason followed the defending Big 8 Series champion through traffic. As Johnson advanced to second, Nason grabbed third. Only a few laps later, Johnson used the traffic to grab the lead from Liddle. As Johnson moved to the lead, Nason followed Johnson and assumed second place, dropping Liddle to third. Nason worked hard to find a way around Johnson, but lapped traffic worked in Johnson’s favor, as he was able to keep Nason at bay.
One final caution flew with four laps remaining, setting up a sprint to the finish. Johnson pulled away from the pack at the drop of the green, cruising to the victory. Nason matched his best ever Big 8 finish with a second place effort. Edmunds claimed third, his first podium finish in the Big 8 Series. Defending Dells Raceway Park champion Nick Nolden came home in fourth, with defending Jefferson Speedway Champion Dale Nottestad rounding out the top five.
(Thanks to Charlie Spry for his help and contributions to this report)