Johanna Long’s Nationwide Series debut nets a solid finish

Johanna Long and the ML Motorsports crew pose for a picture before qualifying.
Credit: ML Motorsports

Let's hear it for the girls! Women are here to make their mark in NASCAR. From Danica Patrick to Johanna Long, the women of NASCAR are serving notice that they're just as serious about racing as the men are.

Nineteen-year-old NASCAR Nationwide Series rookie Johanna Long was one of many drivers who fell victim to the late-race caution frenzies. Debuting at Daytona is no easy feat but Long handled the task with poise and grace.

"It's okay, calm down,” Long said to her crew after being collected in the Lap 115 crash. After pitting to repair damage to the MLM No. 70 Foretravel Motorcoach Chevy, Jo (as she's called) returned to track to finish the race in 21st. Impressive finish with only one previous race at Daytona (2011 NCWTS race in which she finished 32nd).

Starting in 21st position, Long dropped back and received tandem assistance from David Ragan. At the midpoint of the race, Long was comfortably riding around in the 30s and getting a feel for the car.

At Lap 91 Jo came from out of nowhere and was up to 16th. Running as high as 12th at one point, Long was calm, cool and collected throughout the race. 

Afterwards, Long tweeted “WOW, that was fun. Thanks everyone for the support and to everyone @MLMotorsports for all of their hard work. So thankful for this opp!”

In an interview with the Pensacola News Journal, Long said of the race, “I had a drafting partner at the beginning and then I got dumped. It was a very good day. I learned a lot. It was just all about having friends out there and someone to draft with you. At the end I earned their respect and a lot of guys followed behind me. It was a good day.”

Long is running a 21-race schedule this season and will return to the track in Las Vegas. I recently interviewed owner Mary Louise Miller, who expressed confidence in Long's performance. You can also read my recent interview with Johanna Long here.
Johanna Long’s Nationwide Series debut nets a solid finish Johanna Long’s Nationwide Series debut nets a solid finish Reviewed by Unknown on Sunday, February 26, 2012 Rating: 5