What's Up Johanna Long?
By Zachary Lange
TheRacingExperts.com Lead Reporter
Zachary Lange is the new reporter in charge of the “What’s Up” section of our site. Enjoy, as Mr. Lange will continue to find out the scoop on drivers in the near-future.
As the midseason mark is creeping up on the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, the Camping World Truck Series is only on their fifth race of the 25 race season. In that series, a name that is making plenty of heads turn is Johanna Long. Long, who is in her first full year of Camping Work Truck Series racing, has raced her way to two top-20 runs this year. Her two top-20’s have come from different track lengths—an intermediate at Phoenix, and a short track in Martinsville. Besides her top-20 runs, she qualified fifth at Daytona and was running very well until a late wreck ended her day.
When asked about adapting to all the different tracks, she replied she was getting better at different tracks, but it’s just the beginning of the year. “We went to several tough tracks where I'd never raced before. So the time that a lot of the veterans get to spend working on their trucks on track, I'm still working on learning the ins and outs of the lines and the grooves with my team. It's just part of the learning process, but with all the competition this year, you have to adapt really fast. It's been good for me.”
Another thing she raced well at was the Snowball Derby, a late model race that takes place every year in Pensacola, Florida, where she took the checkered flag in first place! When asked about her win at that race Long said it was very emotional for her and her family. “ I was so excited to have everyone in my family (as well as my NASCAR family and crew) there to support me during the weekend. It was
such an amazing experience, and I still get choked up thinking about it. You have to understand, I grew up three miles from Five Flags Speedway (the track where this race takes place). My crew chief, “Cowboy,” said to me on the radio that night, "You could drive this place in your sleep. So show them!" He was right. My dad raced here for 12 years and always came up empty at the Derby, so it was special for me to bring that trophy to my family.” A hometown win is sure to please, and boost your spirits going into a long NASCAR season!
And in that long season, you need funding. She said that every driver, big or small, is hurting for sponsors. When asked about sponsors she said, “I'm so blessed and fortunate that my family has supported my racing career to this point in my life -I could not have gotten here without them. But now that I'm in NASCAR, we need someone (companies) to help with that and take a chance on me and my development.”
When asked about this years funding Johanna said “We've had enough to get us to this year and the beginning of the season, but we desperately need funding to continue this year. We're in discussions right now with companies, but again, we're working really hard to find those partners who want to support us. We know they are out there, so this is definitely a call for help. If you're a business owner, give us a call!”
If worst comes to worst, I mentioned the thought of starting and parking, to which she replied she‘d do anything I have to do to be at a race track. “ It's my life and my career goal. I've been fortunate, again, not to have to be in that type of a situation. The equipment we run is competitive, and my
guys set up my trucks with the best (equipment). Our staff is top notch and we go out there every race to finish every lap, learn, and hopefully here soon, log top 15s consistently.”
Her immediate goal is to log consistent top 15s “It's a big job in the Truck Series this year“ She explained, “With all the competition and all of the Rookies. We have the largest Rookie class of several years right now, so it's great to have a lot of guys to learn with, but hard when it comes down to fighting for the same track position. I'm blessed, but I'm a competitor at the end of the day.
Future goals consist of “keep fighting for this dream of being in NASCAR full time.”
Johanna is a young, intelligent, good all around person who pulls those belts tight and goes racing with the fast and furious. Her career is only getting started, but when asked about her legacy after NASCAR, she humbly replied “I want to leave behind that I knew I made something of myself in NASCAR and did what I said I was going to do. I want to be able to follow through with my dreams, and people can look at me and say, "yep, she did it."
And if Johanna keeps on racing the way she is, and keeps learning like she is. I think it’s a safe bet to say, yep, she did it.
Music: Christian Pop, Pop, Country
Hobby: Anything with a motor
First Memory of Racing: My earliest memory is being at the track with my
dad racing, then going to the first go-kart race at eight years old. It was so cool to walk the tracks with my dad and have him teach me step by step and showing me the lines. It's my first memory of any kind of racing.