The local racing community lost a big supporter on Sunday when Dawn Johnson died after a sudden illness.
Johnson was part of a huge extended family of three generations of Johnsons who have, or currently compete, on dirt tracks with Bakersfield Speedway being their home track.
Her husband, Bruce, competed at the Speedway and sons Michael and Kevin currently compete in the Sports Mod division. Michael Johnson finished seventh in a race at Bakersfield Speedway on Saturday night, Kevin Johnson was 17th.
Johnson worked as a Retirement Technician at the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office.
In addition to her sons, Dawn is survived by five grandchildren.
Dawn helped explain the family tree to The Californian for a feature last year.
Bruce Johnson’s brother, Stephen, also raced. Stephen’s son, Chad, still drives and does Chad’s brothers, Tyler and Steven. Chad’s three sons all compete at the track.
“It’s a really big family,” said Chad Johnson for an article last year.
A large family that is now grieving.
410 Sprints at Bakersfield Speedway
The USAC/CRA 410 Sprints roll into Bakersfield Speedway on Saturday for their first stop at the third-mile clay oval since 2017.
Damion Gardner came away with the victory when the series last stopped at the Speedway and currently sits second in points, 16 points behind Brody Roa, who has one win.
Five different drivers have raced to victory through the first five races, the last being Troy Rutherford at Ventura last Saturday night.
Also in action will be Hobby Stocks, IMCA Stocks and Mini Stocks.
Trevor Baker holds a six-point lead over Don Mead in Hobby Stocks and both are looking for their first win. Raymond Noland, Michael Scruggs and Dylan Wilson have each driven to a victory.
Wayne Dotson has won two of the three IMCA Stock races and is atop the points. Larry Thompson Jr. has the other win.
Andy Boydstun has finished all four previous Mini Stock races in the top five but has yet to drive to victory. David Wolford, Matt Herod, Chris Rutledge and Gene Glover have race wins.
Coffey looking to extend streak at KCRP
Defending track champion Jim Coffey will be seeking his fifth straight Modified win on Saturday night at Kern County Raceway Park.
His current four-race win streak has propelled him to an 18-point lead over his brother, Ed, who has twice finished second. Anthony Barkett also has a pair of runner-up finishes and is third in points.
Also in action will be Street Stocks, Legends, Bandoleros and Mini Dwarfs. Street Stocks and Bandoleros will be running twin mains.
Chris Dalton has won two of the three Super Stocks features. Colton Page and Braden Rogers have each won a Legends race.
Thorn wins in Las Vegas
Derek Thorn of Bakersfield set a track record in qualifying then charged to the front late in the race to win the $10,000-to win Spears Southwest Tour race last Saturday night at the Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Despite qualifying No.1, Thorn drew No. 8 for the invert. He spun on a restart after the midway break and battled back from the rear of the field to take the lead from Preston Peltier on lap 135 and held it the rest of the way. Peltier was second and Carlos Vieira third.
Shepherd wins in Madera
Bakersfield’s Buddy Shepherd became the first winner in the new California Challenge Cup Series last Saturday night at Madera Speedway. Shepherd set fast time on the third-mile oval and held off Derven Dodson from North Carolina for the win. Shepherd and Dodson ran side-by-side for numerous laps before Shepherd edged a car length ahead just before the finish of the 100-lapper.
Gary Dutton raced to victory in Sports Mod competition last Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway. Kaden Cochrun won in Mod Lites, Jerry Stewart raced to victory in Pro Stock and Rich Souza came away with the win in the Hard Tops division. Seth Hanson won the Senior Mini Dwarf race with Khloe Cotton winning the Junior Mini Dwarf race.
Tim Randolph raced to the Pro Stock victory on Friday night at The Dirt Track at KCRP. Rich Denman won the American Stock race, Austin Liggett won the POWRi BCRA Midget race and Brooklyn Holland won the 305 Sprint Car feature.
Mike Griffith can be reached at 661 395-7390. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeGriffith54.