Column By: MARTY CZEKALA / RPW – CANANDAIGUA, NY – It was over five years since fans at Land of Legends Raceway heard the phrase, “The Doctor is in victory lane.”
That all changed Saturday as Danny Johnson recorded his first win at Canandaigua since a Super DIRTcar Series race in July 2018.
Johnson has been winning races in the last few years at tracks like his Friday night home in Outlaw. To return to victory lane at the track where he is fifth on the all-time wins list was a popular one for longtime fans of Northeast dirt modifieds.
“To get here in victory lane, we’ve tried here all season, now here we are. It’s awesome,” Johnson said post-race.
This is one of many opportunities the 63-year-old has had to win at Land of Legends this year. Flashback to the race on Aug. 5, Johnson looked for the lead inside the final four laps on James Sweeting when he attempted a slide job that didn’t work and gave Alex Payne the runner-up spot at the time. Johnson would finish fourth.
Saturday, Johnson found momentum early with a new Billy The Kid motor. Starting seventh, he rolled in early to fourth by lap seven, possibly a contender to finish up or near the front. On the first restart on lap 12, he was scored third. A lap later, he and brother Alan Johnson rolled past Payne on the bottom to run 1-2. “The Doctor” would take the lead low on lap 17 after the final restart.
“It wasn’t looking good, I’ll tell you that. It surprised me to get the win. We’ve been working hard to get the car good. Today just came together. Worked well on the bottom, middle, up top. I have to thank Tim Gibson from Sunrise Insulation for giving me this great ride here today and my son Tyler for all the help he did here today.”
While he thought the outlook could have been better, Johnson always came in with the same hope to win a race.
“Every race, we hope to end up in victory lane. We don’t come just to race. We try hard.”
One more modified race remains on the Land of Legends calendar: the $ 10,000-to-win, 100-lap Gerald Haers Memorial. Johnson is looking forward to it with the momentum.
“We’ll see what happens.”
But not only use the momentum towards Gerald Haers Memorial weekend but also the rest of the year with the Outlaw Fall Nationals coming up and in planned Super DIRTcar Series races, which he has top 10 finishes in the last two features he has made at Brewerton and Ransomville.
“There’s a lot that goes into all this. It’s hard to explain in one sentence. Lot of work, lot of effort.”