Johnson goes agonisingly close to more stock-car title glory

Whitwell-based Formula One stock-car racer Dan Johnson came agonisingly close to retaining the National Points Shootout after a thilling finale at the Belle Vue Stadium in Manchester.

Monday, 7th November 2016, 11:07 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:52 pm
BELLE VUE BATTLE -- Dan Johnson attacks the new champion, Rob Speak, in the final showdown at Belle Vue, Manchester. (PHOTO BY: Anthony Jenkins and Faye Johnson).

The title is decided over ten rounds, featuring the top 12 drivers in the season’s National Points Championships, headed by world champion Frankie Wainman. Going into the Belle Vue showdown, Johnson sat in third place after clawing back an earlier leeway with victory in Sheffield. He was still more than 60 points adrift of pacesetters Rob Speak and Nigel Green, but anyone down to sixth had a mathematical chance of pulling it off.

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In his heat, mechanical gremlins threatened to scupper his challenge, and he ended up having to qualify for the final via the consolation race, which he duly won, overcoming a big field.

In a frantic final, he cut through the field to take the lead, and although he was eventually caught, he still bagged 40 points, which kept his title hopes alive. However, in the Grand National decider, Johnson’s progress was hampered as he was clipped while trying to drive past a heap of cars, spinning him momentarily. He recovered to finish sixth but had to be content with third overall, behind champion Rob Speak and runner-up Nigel Green.