Johanna Long: Too Tough To Tame 200

The champion of the 2010 Snowball Derby, Johanna Long, took on Darlington’s infamous "Lady in Black" for the first time at Saturday’s running of NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series Too Tough Too Tame 200.

Johanna was signed on by Panhandle Motorsports at the beginning of the 2011 season to drive the #20 Toyota Tundra, with hopes of continuing for the entire season. At 18 years of age, Long is the youngest driver in the series. She is also in contention for the 2011 Rookie of the Year, as she takes on several tracks for the first time.

We are now three races into the season; with tracks such as Daytona, Phoenix and today’s race at Darlington behind us, the series is running at full speed. Long has a tough road ahead with crew chief Kevin Starland, and these first three races are evidence of that.

Daytona’s Nextera Energy Resources 250 ended early for Johanna after being taken out in turn 1 in a 14-car pileup after only 74 laps. Although she didn’t finish the race, Johanna had qualified in the 5th position and ran as high as 4th during the race. Long also ran the 5th fastest lap, 177.235 mph, which was the race’s fastest time among the contenders for Rookie of the Year.

The Lucas Oil 150 in Phoenix was the next stop for the NCWTS. The #20 Panhandle Motorsports Toyota qualified in 25th position. This was another first-time track for Johanna; she crossed the finish line in the top 20 and on the lead lap. This put the #20 team in 26th in the points standings and -35 behind the leader.

For the third race of the season, the NCWTS ran alone this weekend as Cup and Nationwide had the weekend off. It was Darlington’s Too Tough to Tame 200 in South Carolina. Today was Johanna’s first time at the infamous "Lady in Black" track. She qualified in 30th position for the race.

A caution came out on lap 98. Ricky Carmichael spun and traveled down the track right into Long’s path. Long hit the left front of the #4 and this brought out a red flag. Both drivers were transported to the care center and released.

Long stated in an interview that she had nowhere to go and may have had a flat at the time she came in contact with Carmichael.

Within no time, Johanna Long was trending on Twitter in USA.

During a recent interview, Johanna was quoted having said the following:
“Every track that I go to, I strive to soak in and gain as much experience as I can - and that's exactly what we did last year,” said Long. “We had our ups and downs, and that led to a lot of learning experiences in NASCAR. This year is about moving forward and soaking in as much experience as I can, as well as being in contention for the Rookie of the Year title. It's a huge commitment to run a full season, but hopefully we can put ourselves out there enough while continuing to knock on doors to attract marketing dollars. We're still actively seeking out marketing partners to round out the year, but we'll be doing our best to get to every single racetrack on the 2011 schedule in order to make that rookie dream happen.”

It's off to Martinsville Speedway on April 2 for the Kroger 250. We'll see you there!
Johanna Long: Too Tough To Tame 200 Johanna Long: Too Tough To Tame 200 Reviewed by Lindi Bess on Saturday, March 12, 2011 Rating: 5