ALL DIRT ROADS: Marc Johnson finally sees perseverance pay off, exceeds rookie year expectations

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After years of toil, Johnson heads into World Finals with a solid crew and dependable equipment, ready to score a win

Marc Johnson has exceeded all expectations this year. Not only by those watching, but the ones he set for himself.

After contending for the wins in the Salute to the Troops 150 and Billy Whittaker Cars 200 during the 50th Running of NAPA Super DIRT Week, Johnson will carry that momentum into the season ending events in North Carolina, looking to cap off the season with multiple triumphs.

He’s currently the leading 2022 Super DIRTcar Series Rookie of the Year contender, sitting fourth in points, and with three races remaining at the World of Outlaws World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Nov. 2-5, Johnson still has a shot at a podium finish in the standings – only 50 points back from Jimmy Phelps in third.

However, there’s one more goal he’d like to accomplish first.

“I’d like to go there and win,” said Johnson, who has yet to pick up a Super DIRTcar Series victory. “I feel like our cars are really fast right now. I think we’ve been pretty good on hammer down racetracks, and that’s what I hear it is there. I’d like to go there and win a race.”

Johnson’s racing career started as innocently and simply as many others.

After a visit to his grandparents, he came home to find a Go Kart his father bought. It was without a motor, and after unsuccessfully trying to purchase one, they removed the motor from their snowmobile and put it into the new purchase. Johnson and his father then went down to Dodge City Speedway in Cobleskill, NY, to give it a test.

He was hooked. They never missed a weekend to race.

After racing Go Karts for about six years, he traded his equipment in for an “old, outdated, Troyer car,” essentially jumping to racing Modifieds in 2004. After bouncing around several racetracks doing his best with the equipment he had, Johnson started racing weekly at Albany-Saratoga Speedway in 2006.

“It took me a long time to get to be successful, just because I didn’t have any sponsors and I don’t come from a rich family by any means,” Johnson said.  “I’ve had to work really hard for everything I’ve got.”

When he got the opportunity to drive for Scott Hamlin at Lebanon Valley Speedway in 2018, Johnson finally found the break he’d been searching for. This year, they decided to make their first full-time venture with the Super DIRTcar Series.

“Me and Scott talked, and he’s always wanted to do the Super DIRTcar Series, and I’ve never been able to financially do it or have the time to do it,” Johnson said. “Everything aligned this year right to do it. I’m pretty optimistic with real goals. I was trying to get a top ten in points and hopefully start all the races. And it’s really been pretty good.”

After four top-five finishes and seven top-10 finishes this season, Johnson took his 358-Modified and his Big Block Modified to Oswego Speedway for the 50th Running of NAPA Super DIRT Week, looking to try and carry the momentum of his strong rookie season with the Super DIRTcar Series into the biggest Northeast race of the year.

“We raced that Small Block race and I was like, man, I don’t know if we can have a better showing Sunday then we did on Saturday,” Johnson said. “I think we blew Saturday’s performance out of the water.”

The Guilderland, NY driver led the stacked field of contenders for 38 of the 200-lap Billy Whittaker Cars 200. Though a win wasn’t in the cards this time, a fifth-place finish put to rest any doubts about his potential.

“I’ve exceeded my goals that I set for the year…I’ve had a blast on the Series,” Johnson said.

For tickets to the World of Outlaws World Finals, Nov. 2-5: CLICK HERE

If you can’t make it to the track, you can watch every lap of the World of Outlaws World Finals live on DIRTVision – either at DIRTVision.com or by downloading the DIRTVision App.