Long Hopeful for 2011 NASCAR Season; Brings a Little "Snowball" to Sunny Homestead-Miami Speedway at the Ford 200
18-year old makes first run at 1.5-mile oval; No.20 truck paintout to feature historic Snowball Derby
Mooresville, NC (November 15, 2010) - NASCAR driver Johanna Long, 18, is setting her sights on competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' season finale - the Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway "under the lights" on Friday, Nov. 19. Driving the No.20 Panhandle Motorsports Toyota Tundra, she'll be bringing a little "snowball" to sunny Miami by featuring a decal of the historic late model weekend - the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby. Held at Five Flags Speedway from Dec. 1-5, Long, the defending Blizzard Series champion, will be driving her late model in the weekend's races. After Miami-Homestead (her seventh NCWTS attempt in 2010), Long is also hopeful for a rookie year in 2011 if the right marketing partner can come along.
Continuing the Girl Scouts partnership this year, Long will also take on two of the local Girl Scouts - from Girl Scouts Council of Tropical Florida - as "honorary pit crew" members for the team at the Ford 200. Long partnered at each track this year with a local council, speaking about her journey in motorsports, hard work and determination in whatever they choose to do in life. She will also have her "honorary pit crew" members cross the stage with her at driver introductions.
"I'm excited to have the Snowball Derby decal on the truck this weekend," said Long. "Late models are my roots, my comfort zone and my first love, so it's nice to be able to showcase the Derby where I'm racing now - the Truck Series. The Snowball Derby is a tough week of racing, and I look forward to it every year. A lot of people know me from the Derby and the Blizzard Series - so it's nice to show where I came from in the sport. I'm looking forward to shedding some light on these races, as well as my home track of Five Flags Speedway. Plus, it might give me a little luck going into the weekend!"
Long will make her seventh career NCWTS start at Homestead-Miami Speedway, while juggling the preparations for the upcoming legendary Snowball Derby. A native of Pensacola, Fla., she began her racing career in go-karts at eight years old and then moved on to Legends cars. She then made the big jump to the Pro Late Model division as a 15-year-old at her home track of Five Flags Speedway. She posted three wins and became the youngest track champion - in the long history of Five Flags Speedway. She won at other tracks as well enhancing her racing reputation and move up another level to the Super Late Model division where she competed against and often beat her father Donald, an accomplished racer in the now-defunct All-Pro Series.
This season she made another major jump in the racing ranks, moving to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Panhandle Motorsport - running a limited schedule this year to gain track knowledge and experience on the Speedways. Her season-best finish of 17th came at Indianapolis Raceway Park. She also has qualified among the top 20 in all six of her previous starts, with a top qualification of 9th at Texas Motor Speedway in November.
"I have such great people around me this year, teaching me so much about the tracks. Plus, it has been really awesome to get support from so many of the veteran drivers, all of whom don't hesitate to get me in a car to do track walks. I'm really hopeful for a Rookie season in 2011 - it's time to show what I can do with a full year. We're looking for marketing partners now, and it's critical for that to happen. If anyone out there wants to help support our efforts, please be in touch - let's keep this momentum going!"
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SNOWBAL DERBY:
The Snowball Derby draws the best and brightest Super Late Model teams from all across the land to Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. For more information about the week's events from December 1-5, 2010, visit http://5flagsspeedway.com/ or www.speed51.com.