Billy Johnson to drive for Aston Martin Racing in the 12 Hours of Sebring
Aston Martin Racing will field a second Vantage GTE in next month's Sebring 12 Hours as a possible precursor to running a fifth car at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The second Aston at Sebring will be raced by Grand-Am regulars Paul Dalla Lana and Billy Johnson, who race in the main GT and Continental Tire-sponsored feeder series respectively.
They will be joined in the car by Pedro Lamy, who raced for the AMR squad in 2004-05.
Lana and Johnson are likely to be part of a line-up in the fifth factory Aston at Le Mans should the car move up from its position at the head of the GTE reserve list.
AMR team principal John Gaw said: "We want a North American car at Le Mans and we are hoping to hear some positive news on the entry situation in the next week.
"Billy Johnson is one of the best young American GT drivers around, which is why he is in the car. We've brought in Pedro to add some experience for Sebring."
AMR's lead Vantage GTE will be raced by team regulars Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke and ex-Formula 1 driver Bruno Senna.
Johnson & Roush Jr. WIN season-opener at Daytona!
The Roush empire won again at Daytona International Speedway on Friday as Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. scored a repeat Grand Sport (GS) class victory in the BMW Performance 200.
Johnson led the final 70 minutes of the 2013 season-opening race in the No. 61 Roush Performance Mustang. He finished 1.812 seconds ahead of 2012 GS driver champion David Empringham in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage. Empringham, who co-drove with John Farano to the driver title last season, swapped the lead with Johnson just after the halfway mark, but a small bobble on the team’s final pit stop gave the Johnson/Roush pairing the cushion it needed.
Roush drove from mid-pack early in the race when the Mustang suffered from a flat left-front tire. Between that and the back-and-forth tilt between Johnson and Empringham, it proved to be a dramatic day.
“There was probably more drafting and passing back and forth than I’ve ever seen here,” Johnson said. “Jack did a fantastic job on his first stint, and it’s great to get this win for all the work put in by the team. I was trying pretty darn hard the last few laps. Those Astons and Porsches were pretty quick. I knew if I could get good restarts and get a little cushion I could maintain it. But if I couldn’t, it was going to be a crapshoot.”
Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi finished third in class in Rum Bum Racing’s Porsche 997. Plumb moved from seventh to third inside the final 30 minutes.
The BMW Performance 200 will air at 4 p.m. ET, Feb. 2 on SPEED. The second round of the championship is March 2 at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
Billy Johnson Shines in 8th-Place Finish at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Montreal, Canada (Aug. 19, 2012) – With only two career NASCAR Nationwide starts under his belt, Roush Fenway’s Billy Johnson ran in the top-five for the majority of the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve; contending for the win late in the race. Fuel mileage came into play forcing Johnson to bring the No. 60 Roush Fenway "25 Winning Years" Ford Mustang to pit road after the second green-white-checkered flag attempt. On what would be the third and final green-white-checkered attempt in overtime, the young road racer restarted in the 20th position and in a mere two laps maneuvered his Ford to the eighth position to take the checkered flag.
“That was awesome,” Johnson said. “I have to thank everyone on the No. 60 team and back at the shop for giving me such a great car and helping me this weekend. To be able to run up front and contend for the win was a lot of fun. I just wish that last caution was 1 lap shorter so we could have stayed up front and duel it out with the leaders for the win.”
The rookie qualified the No. 60 Roush Fenway Ford in the ninth position for the scheduled 74-lap race. In a mere 11 laps, Johnson had moved his Ford up to the fourth position and continued to move through the pack.
“It wasn’t too pleased with my qualifying effort because we showed in practice that the car was a front-runner. But then again, hopping out of a much lighter Grand-Am BMW GT car half an hour before qualifying probably didn’t help.”
Following a 2-stop strategy plan, Crew chief Scott Graves coached Johnson to conserve fuel and brakes to have a car ready to fight at the end, and not to burn the car down trying to be the leader in the middle of the race.
“It was hard to have to conserve fuel for the last 15 laps or so when I was in P2 because I knew I could run down Jaques; but it was unlikely for the track to stay green to the end” said Johnson. Sure enough 2 green-white-checker restarts ensued where Johnson held his 2nd place position both times.
“We were almost out of fuel but were going to risk it until they added another yellow flag lap due to a hose clamp presumably on the track which was the final straw that broke the camel's back. It was heartbreaking to have to pull off the track from 2nd on that last restart when we had a car that I knew could win the race” said Johnson.
The overtime forced the team to pit on lap 77 for a splash of fuel. Johnson lined up in the 20th position and worked his way through the field to finish eighth after the two lap sprint to the checkers.
“The race was bittersweet” said Johnson. “I’m happy with a top-10 finish after what happened, but I knew we were the team to beat that day. I hope to have another opportunity to battle for the win in a Nationwide car …whether that is on a road course or oval.”
Billy Johnson makes his NASCAR Nationwide return at Montreal: Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Billy Johnson will drive the #60 Roush Fenway Racing "25 Winning Years" Ford Mustang in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve August 18th, 2012
Johnson last drove in the NNS series in place for Carl Edwards at Road America in 2011 when Carl couldn't make it back from his Sprint Cup race in Sonoma. He also filled in to setup and qualify the #60 at Montreal in 2011 turning the car over to Carl who arrived just minutes before the start of the race. This will be Johnson's first NNS race at the famous F1 circuit.
Billy Johnson Finishes 4th in GT at Indianapolis with Turner Motorsports
For the first time the Grand-Am Rolex & Continental Tire Series visits the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Johnson driving with Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana in the #94 Turner Motorsports BMW M3 finish 4th in GT.
Johnson assisted the TMS team to another top 5 in the final race of the 3-race North American Endurance Championship, where the team finished 2nd at Watkins Glen and DNF'd at Daytona. This marked the Turner Motorsport's 8th top-5 finish of the season and Johnson's 3rd top 5 (out of 3 races) driving for the team.
Johnson finishes 2nd in the 6-Hours of the Glen for his first career Rolex GT Podium
Driving for the first time in the Rolex 6-Hours of the Glen, Billy Johnson makes his first Rolex Podium finishing 2nd in the #94 Turner Motorsports BMW M3 with Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana.
"After driving for TMS in just a handful of races and finishing 4th twice, I'm excited to have finally reached the podium in GT" said Johnson. "Now that hurdle has passed, the next step is a win".
Billy Johnson & Jack Roush Jr. Finish 2nd at Road America
For the Second year in a row, the duo come up just one position short of the win at Road America in the #61 Roush Performance, USANA Health Sciences, Gary Yeomans Ford/Lincoln Ford Mustang BOSS 302R.
Jack Qualified the car in a solid 5th position and passed two cars going into turn 1 on the opening lap, which quickly turned into disaster when the #51 sister car of Jade Buford and Shelby Blackstock was turned around on the front straight and Buford wa found the wall before the start/finish line.
After maintaining a solid top 5 position, Roush turned the controls over to Johnson. After a few laps of passing cars who did not pit, the #61 was back up front and leading the race. There was a total of seven cautions which found Johnson fending off a hard charging #13 RumBum Porsche and #96 Turner M3. On one of the restarts the #13 passed Johnson in a late-braking maneuver and held on for the win.
"All of the yellow flags actually helped us a lot" said Johnson. "There was at least 3 restarts late in the race that only went on for 3-5 laps which allowed me to keep the tires and brakes cool to pressure the RumBum Porsche. If it wasn't for those yellows, our lap times would have fell drastically as our much heavier car would burn up the tires and front brakes. We just didn't have anything for that car in the brakes or down the straight."
In a last-ditch effort, Johnson made an inside move in the last corner of the last lap but to no avail. This podium finish moves Roush & Johnson up to 4th in the Championship with only 4 more races to go this year.
The race airs on SPEED Channel July 8th at 12:00pm NOON EST and again on July 9th at 8:00am EST.
2nd WIN of the season for Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. at Mid-Ohio
The ROUSH® Performance team leaves Mid-Ohio with both a win for the No. 61 Mustang, driven by Jack Roush Jr. andBilly Johnson, and another top ten finish for the No. 51, driven by Shelby Blackstock and Jade Buford. Currently, the No. 61 is in 5th for the championship, and the No. 51 is in 9th. This makes for the 2nd win in 2012 by the No. 61 and the 3rd top by the No. 51.
The race started with the No. 61 and No. 51 head-to-tail, with the No.61 qualifying 8th and the 51 10th. “There was some hard fighting for position early on in the race between myself and some BMWs, but I knew that the guys around me were all talented and experienced racers. As a result, I didn’t have to be overly worried about people wrecking me while we were battling. Unfortunately, not every race starts out with that same level of confidence in who you’re racing against, as we’ve seen earlier this year,” says Jack Roush Jr.
Jack brought the car in for a driver change at about 50 minutes in, after moving up to 6th position and gaining on the leaders. “I know that when I am able to bring the car into the pits in a good position, in all likelihood, Billy will once again work his magic and bring it home high on the leaderboard.”
During the second half of the race, Billy Johnson was able to keep the No. 61 ahead of cars that had fresher tires and less concern for fuel conservation. It’s one thing to be able to drive fast, but to do so while having to save fuel and tires is on a whole other level of skill as a driver.
The No. 51 also had a great run this past weekend. Shelby Blackstock started the race, and gained 3 positions before coming to the pits in 7th. Jade brought the car across the finish line in 9th, but only after overcoming significant adversity, with a pit lane incident, and stop-and-go penalty.
The past weekend’s win has closed the championship points gap for the No. 61 from 35 points down to 17. “It won’t be easy to claim the championship this year, but honestly, it never is. You had better believe that we are going to fight with all that we have to climb back on top,” says Jack Roush Jr.
“This was a close race, an intense race,” says Brad Francis, ROUSH Performance team manager. “If it hadn’t been for the supurb team work, setting the stage by Jeff Campey, and fantastic driving of Jack and Billy to put us on top it wouldn’t be the take home moment that we have! A special thanks to Kris Walker, our team engineer, for his magic calculations on fuel miles.”
Special thanks to our Sponsors: ROUSH Performance, Gary Yeomans Ford Lincoln,USANA Health Sciences, Kooks Custom Headers, BMRS, Mechanix Wear, Strategic Brand Solutions, PWR, GoPro, and Performance Friction.
Billy is an American professional race car driver competing in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS class for ROUSH Performance in the #61 Ford BOSS 302R Mustang with co-driver Jack Roush Jr. and Turner Motorsports in the #94 BMW M3 in the ROLEX GT class with co-drivers Paul Dalla Lana and Bill Auberlen.
Billy Has been called to drive in the #77 Doran Racing Ford Daytona Prototype during the 24 Hours of Daytona at the last minute Sunday morning having never driven a DP before, driving the car to a 7th place finish.
He is also a test driver for Roush Fenway Racing and recently drove the #60 Nationwide car to a top-10 finish at Montreal. Billy also competes in Time Attacks events in an assortment of cars ranging from the FXMD Turbo NSX, Twin Turbo 350Z, R34GTR, and many more.
Billy currently resides in Charlotte, NC where he drives for Roush Fenway Racing.
SPEED Channel 2012 Race Broadcast:
Video interview from the WIN at NJMP (2011):
Billy Johnson & FXMD beat HKS Japan's long-standing track record at Buttonwillow. The only RWD car to do so!