SYRACUSE, NY — Story by Race Chaser Online New York Correspondent Steven Ovens — Photos Courtesy Danny Johnson 27J Fan Page — Few racing nicknames are cooler than ‘The Doctor’. There’s a level of respect that goes along with that kind of nickname. Certainly ‘Brett the Jet’ and ‘Super Matt’ are cool in their own right. But you can do so much with ‘The Doctor’ and really have fun with it. You get to use terms like ‘Full Throttle Surgery’ and ‘The Doctor is making a house call tonight’.
But the theme for Super DIRT Week on ‘The Moody Mile’ this coming week for the driver out of Phelps, NY will be debuting a brand new scalpel for the mile. Chris Gennarelli and Johnson, who teamed up earlier this season before the Short Track Super Series at Orange County, look to debut a brand new Bicknell chassis with Gor-Den Big-Block power under the hood. It will be the first trip to Syracuse for this newly formed team but don’t count these guys out on account of being a new team.
This team has already proven themselves in 2014. They are currently tied with Andy Bachetti for the points lead in the Short Track Super Series fueled by VP Race Fuels, promoted by Brett Deyo. That series will come to a close at the Short Track SuperNationals at I-88 Speedway on Saturday during Super DIRT Week. Johnson doesn’t currently have a ride for the Saturday Small-Block race, but even if one came up late in the going the team won’t want to pass up the chance on winning Deyo’s championship. That championship pays $10,014 if the winner has perfect attendance at all STSS events or $6,000 without perfect attendance.
What will be interesting to watch is how well this team comes out of the box with the brand new car when practice opens up Wednesday in Syracuse. Johnson is no stranger to winning the Syracuse 200 and his crew has the experience to give ‘The Doctor’ a race-winning piece. This team prides themselves on not having the fancy stacker haulers or the full-time paid pit crew. They would rather focus on what they do have- a proven dirt modified legend and a whole lot of heart.
But ‘The Moody Mile’ is an animal all on it’s own that few have ever tamed. You have to show up with speed and a great handling car to allow your driver to make a long fuel run. What will make this team a contender in the 200 is how many different fuel strategies that will be in play with the last 25 laps having to be run under the green flag. A lot of teams will forge ahead with their 1-stop strategy and others will roll the dice on the 2-stop strategy and hope for late cautions.
I like this team’s mojo they have been riding this summer since teaming up with the Gennarelli team. They have won quite a few top-paying races which has been a staple in Johnson’s legendary career. A lot of people have made this statement and it is true- if Danny is in the race in a quality ride, you can never count him out.
Those that may look at his performance last year in the 200 and be worried about picking him for the 200, I urge you caution in blowing off the 27J. The Atlas Paving team was not on the same page with their driver and it showed. There were a lot of circumstances that took place that didn’t allow for ‘The Doctor’ to show what he had in the 2013 version of the 200.
Johnson will also be running the satellite shows at the Weedsport Speedway and the Brewerton Speedway. He ran very very well at both of these shows last year as well. The Traction Grabber by Doc 27J brought home a podium finish at Weedsport, while he won the Hurricane 100 at Brewerton after transferring into the feature from the Consi. That race at Brewerton will be one that race fans will be talking about as we approach the 2014 version of the Hurricane on Thursday night at the ‘D-Shaped Dirt Demon’.
Stay tuned to RaceChaserOnline.com and our podcast affiliates at Turn 5 Live to keep up to speed as they provide ‘blowout the budget coverage’ all week long from ‘The Moody Mile.’