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August 21, 2019 - Jerry Johnson Jr., locals set for SCDRA invasion this weekend
Jerry Johnson Jr. knows he’ll be fighting an uphill battle this weekend in a $5,000-to-win race at Fayetteville Motor Speedway. (Joseph Swann photo)

But he’s not shying away from the competition offered in the Sport Compact Dirt Racing Association event, which features front-wheel drive vehicles. The series’ July 13 event at the track was postponed by rain and rescheduled as part of  the Boom City Jam this Friday and Saturday.

“The car handles great,” Johnson, a 33-year-old Eastover resident, said. “Our problem now is we don’t have the motor that the big boys that travel the series do.”

Johnson was a regular in the track’s Renegades and Sportsman divisions from ages 16-20. He returned to action last year when his girlfriend, Jessica McCauley, bought him a car suitable for the speedway’s U-CAR ranks. Johnson drove that car to three victories.

This year, the name of the class changed to Stingerz, and Johnson stepped up his game with a 2004 Honda Civic EP3 hatchback he purchased from a seller in Florida.

“At the time, I didn’t know a whole lot about it,” Johnson said, “but we got two or three motors with it, parts -- a lot of stuff.

“You can spend what you want in any racecar,” he added, “but it’s really cheap as far as a week-to-week car. We don’t have entry fees. We can run 93 octane gas, but we mix a little bit of racing gas in with it. We don’t have to buy tires every week. If you get a decent set of tires, they’ll probably last you the whole year.”

After a series of second-place runs, Johnson’s first win at Fayetteville this season came June 22, then he installed a different engine. Beset by wiring problems and other issues the first four weeks with the new powerplant, Johnson then wound up in Victory Lane in Fayetteville’s most recent race, Aug. 10.

“We finally got it right and got the win by about a straightaway or so,” he said. “But we still aren’t going to have anything for the big boys.

“We know what we’re up against. I’m sitting there with 190 horsepower and there’s no telling what those guys have got. They’ve got (specially) built motors and good tune-ups. We finally got ours decent, and I think for a regular Saturday show we have a good car. But whenever those boys come, you’ll be lucky to finish top 15 or so. But you never know.”

Jonathan Sarratt of Shelby is the SCDRA points leader entering Fayetteville’s weekend show.

Action kicks off Friday with qualifying for the SCDRA cars, open practice for all divisions, and features for the Legends and Mod Lites classes. On Saturday, in addition to the SCDRA feature, there’s a $1,500-to-win special for the Diet Mountain Dew Modifieds, plus competition in Late Model, Renegades, SportModz and Sportsman.