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Johnson's Luck Takes Turn for Better at Saugus Speedway

May 05, 1991|BRIAN MURPHY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rod Johnson of Canyon Country reversed his luck Saturday night at Saugus Speedway before a crowd of 4,009.

Johnson, who shared the track's Hard Luck Award with John Higgins of Simi Valley last year, started second and raced his way to a 40-lap Sportsman Division main-event win. But what was most surprising was that nothing went wrong.

Johnson was plagued by engine trouble and misfortune in 1990, but Saturday he had no such problems en route to his first win of the year.

Also impressive was points leader Keith Spangler of Northridge, who started 12th and battled his way to a noteworthy fourth-place finish.

They were slipping and sliding all over the track in the Hobby Stock oval main event earlier in the evening, but Russ Wolff of Palmdale did the best job of holding his ground to win the 25-lap race.

In notching his first career main-event win, Wolff, who started 12th, weaved his way around a field of drivers who had trouble holding traction--especially in Turn 4, site of many a spinning car.

"Since they took our posi-traction away, we can't really hook up too well," Wolff said of a ruling in the Hobby Stock class, disallowing a specialized, stabilizing rear-end.

It was a nice night for Wolff, who also won the Hobby Stock figure-eight trophy dash and saw his fiancee, Mindy Drake, win the Jalopy trophy dash.

Points leader Mark Miller of Chatsworth finished second in the oval main event and Bob Vigil of Lancaster took third.

In a crash-marred Jalopy main event, Canoga Park's Chuck Berry was the 15-lap winner, passing Clay Forsythe of Palmdale on Lap 12, then hanging on despite three bang-ups in the final two laps.

Larry Krieger of Reseda claimed his first win this season with a victory in the eight-lap Sportsman fast-heat race. Saturday marked Krieger's second night of racing since a severe accident in the preseason sidelined him for a month. Other fast-heat race winners included Neil Conrad of Arcadia (Hobby Stock oval), John Fleming of Simi Valley (Jalopy) and Mike McAtee of North Hollywood (Hobby Stock figure-eight).

Keith Spangler of Northridge won the Sportsman Division trophy dash. Other trophy-dash winners included Miller (Hobby Stock oval), Wolff (Hobby Stock figure-eight) and Drake of Palmdale (Jalopy).

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