OFF-ROAD RACING : Johnson Wins Second Straight Truck Title

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rick Johnson found the best way to stay out of traffic in the Grand National Sport Truck class of the Mickey Thompson Off-Road racing series Saturday at Anaheim Stadium.

Johnson, starting on the outside of the first row, got ahead of Roger Mears Jr. early in the first lap and pulled away to easily win the 12-lap main event before a sellout crowd of 47,833.

"I think everyone got hung up behind Roger and it gave me some room," Johnson said. "I had to just focus in and run my race."

It was the second year that Johnson, who drives a Chevrolet, has won the event. He beat Ivan Stewart off the last turn a year ago.

It was the fourth series victory for Johnson of Encinitas. The victory eased the frustration he had in an earlier heat race. Johnson's truck broke down in the first lap and he sat in it and watched as the other drivers went by for 10 laps.

Danny Thompson worked his way into second on the second lap and stayed there until he was passed by Ford teammate Rob MacChachren off the final jump.

In the divisions:

Jerry Whelchel of Mission Viejo, who has won the Super 1600 class the last two years, led from wire-to-wire in the 12-lap main event. It was his 17th victory in the series.

Larry Brooks of El Cajon, the defending series champion, won the 10-lap Ultracross race.

Tommy Croft of San Diego won the eight-lap sport utility final. Joe Byrd of Union City, Tenn. took first in the four-wheel ATV eight-lap final. Rennie Awana of Cerritos took advantage of a last-lap crash to win the superlight eight-lap race.

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