Vision Aviation Racing (VAR) driver, Justin Johnson and his No. 51 Wounded Warrior Project/Vision Airlines Toyota Tundra finished 35th in last nights "Too Tough To Tame 200" at Darlington Raceway after an incident on lap 37 forced the team to load up early.
With an estimated crowd of 20,000 on hand at the 1.36 mile oval, Johnson took the green flag from the 20th starting spot. It didn't take long for things to heat up with the first caution flag falling on lap two. After the restart on lap four, Johnson made his way up five spots to 15th.
"The race started off great," said Johnson. "We ended up qualifying 20th and I thought we had a pretty decent truck after we got through the first caution there. I was just hanging out and learning the track."
The second caution of the night fell on lap 15. Crew Chief Doug George made the call to stay out with the leaders in order to maintain precious track position. The caution flag would fall again on lap 26. This time, with the leaders also hitting pit road, George brought the truck in for four tires and fuel.
After a crowded pit road made for a tight exit, Johnson was penalized for speeding and sent to the rear of the field. He would restart 32nd. While trying to work his way back through the pack, Johnson hit the inside wall in turn two bringing out the next yellow flag.
"We ended up getting the caution there and we came down pit road. I ran a little fast exiting so we had to serve a penalty. I went back out and I felt we could have done better if we could have stayed out but we had to come in and serve our penalty. I knew we were in the back with some of the slower trucks that were damaged already so I knew we were going to be in trouble back there, and I had to get away from those guys as quick as I could. I got on the inside of the 1 truck and we were going through the middle of one and two running fine coming off of two. Then he started crowding me a little bit. I got my lefts (tires) on the apron down there and just lost control of it."
The VAR crew worked feverishly to get back in the race but the No.51 Toyota Tundra suffered heavy frontend damage. The first few laps back on the track revealed a hole in the oil cooler that would make it impossible for the No. 51 to continue, ending their night early.