Johnson & Maxwell Drive Mustang Boss 302R to 2nd at Laguna Seca
Billy Johnson drove a tremendous final stint of the race, charging back through the GS field to bring the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R home in second position in the third round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Johnson pitted for fuel and fresh tires with about 40 minutes remaining in the 150-minute race and rejoined the field in eighth position before carving through the field and nearly taking the win.
“Initially, I wasn’t quite sure how everything was shaping up strategy-wise, but Multimatic called a perfect strategy for the last pit stop and getting tires when we did,” explained Johnson.
“We thought that if we could pit at the end of the race with 30 minutes to go and get new tires, that’s the ticket. If we don’t do that we are a sitting duck on equal tires because we burn off our tires. We had to do something.”
The strategy played out perfectly as the No. 15 pitted for new tires but the other GS cars opted to stay out and retain their track position. “We were able to mow through the field, get into second place and pressure the Camaro. Both the Nissan and the Camaro had more straightaway speed. They got off the corners better, not because of tires but from a horsepower standpoint.
Johnson finished just 0.552 seconds behind the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro and just 0.284 seconds ahead of the Doran Racing Nissan 370Z. Johnson described his late-race strategy.
“I couldn’t do anything at the end of the straightaway other than dive-bomb and I had to work them in the corners to pressure them into a mistake to pass them under braking. That’s how we got the Nissan and the Porsche. I didn’t have enough time to get it done on the Camaro. Maybe another lap or two, but we were definitely there.”
While the race ended well for Johnson, it didn’t start out as well for his co-driver Scott Maxwell, who started the race from the sixth position on the grid and fell to ninth after early race incidents.
“I went into the race prepared mentally just to stay out of trouble and ironically the first three laps were anything but clean,” explained Maxwell. “I got tapped and knocked off the track on the first lap. About the third lap, two cars took each other out right in front of my so I basically came to a stop. After that I though there’s a curse over me so I’ll just drive around and hand it over as soon as I can.”
Maxwell ended up driving about half the race before handing over the driving duties to Johnson. “We had really no chance so it was like a perfect storm with that last yellow. We had a brand new set of tires and Billy Johnson who is the best here at Laguna,” said Maxwell.
“With 30 minutes to go Billy had fresh tires and he went for it and just about pulled it off. It was a perfect strategy call by Multimatic and a great drive by Billy."
Top-5 finish for Johnson/Maxwell duo in season-opener at Daytona
Multimatic driver Billy Johnson was on a mission during the closing stages of the BMW Performance 200 as his #15 Boss302R had suffered an ECU malfunction with less than an hour remaining in the race, which although resolved by the driver cycling the main power on-track, left Johnson with no radio communication with his crew chief, Jeff Ripley, for a brief but extremely important few moments. A full-course caution was thrown just shy of the leaders final pit window but due to the lack of a radio Johnson missed the call to box the Mustang. Forced to stop two laps later, the Multimatic entry rejoined for the restart at the very back of the 56 car field having missed the GS class wave-by. But showing true Multimatic tenacity Johnson went to went to work, quickly slicing through the slower ST cars and beginning his attack of the GS pack within two laps. The #15 Mustang went from P15 to P8 in a matter of minutes, catching each successive car by nearly a second a lap. His teammate, Jade Buford in the #158 Mustang, let him through with twenty minutes remaining in the race and as the white flag was brought out he was up to P5 and three of the cars in front began to slow to conserve fuel. On the last lap the #15 was catching the P2-P4 cars rapidly as there was still fuel left in the tank courtesy of the slightly later pit stop. but it all ended a bit too early as everybody got to the checker and then promptly ran out of fuel on the cool-off lap while Johnson drove back to the pits. What could have been but for a few seconds. P5 for the #15 and P8 for the #158 which also ran out of fuel on the cool-off lap having stopped with the rest of the field during the final caution.
Scott Maxwell started the #15 from the front row after securing pole position Thursday afternoon with a time of 1:56.520, this being the third consecutive Q1 for the team at Daytona and a phenomenal seventh time a Multimatic car has started from the pole position at the “World Centre of Racing”. Maxwell was in control of the race for the duration of his stint before handing the car off to Johnson during the team’s first stop, an hour into the two and half hour contest.
Multimatic Motorsports Team Principal, Larry Holt, commented: “Other than the disappointment of not making it onto the podium, I could not be happier with the drivers, cars, crews and overall pace. Scotty and Austin were outstanding in qualifying, kind of bookends as far as age but very close on speed. Billy’s drive in the last forty minutes was amazing and Jade put up a hell of a tenacious fight for P6. The pit stops were brilliant and we came away with a good haul of points. Could have been worse. Without the radio screw-up we would have been second because nobody had anything for the Rum Bum Porsche.”
Billy Johnson teams up with Scott Maxwell in the No. 15 Ford Mustang Boss 302R for 2015
Multimatic veteran, Canadian Motorsports Hall of Fame Inductee and two-time series Champion, Scott Maxwell will have a new co-driver for 2015 in the form of Billy Johnson, one of the winningest drivers in series history. Every single win the Boss 302R has accumulated in CTSC competition has come at the hands of one of these two drivers. Johnson shared the #158 Multimatic Motorsports/Miller Racing Mustang with Ian James last season and the pair secured three podium finishes, the win at Road Atlanta and 7th in the Driver’s Points.
Maxwell’s co-driver for the past two seasons, Jade Buford, is stepping up to a lead role this year in the #158 Mustang. Buford holds the record for the most CTSC pole positions in a season, capturing 6 of 11 in 2013, and is the only CTSC driver to secure pole twice in a row at the BMW Performance 200 at Daytona. Buford and Maxwell finished 4th in Driver’s Points in 2013 and 3rd in 2014.
Buford will be joined in the #158 by Multimatic’s newest driver, the very young and incredibly quick Austin Cindric. At only 16 years old, Cindric already has an incredible resume that includes an X-Games medal in the Red Bull Global Rallycross Lites Series and ten top-ten finishes in USF2000 in 2014. He is also the youngest driver to ever podium in USF2000, the youngest driver to ever win an Historic Sportscar Racing Series race and later this year will become the youngest driver to ever compete in the legendary Bathurst 12-Hour, where he will pilot the Erebus Motorsports Mercedes SLS AMG GT3.
At the ROAR Before The 24 Test at Daytona early in January the team definitely proved that they are ready for 2015 when Billy Johnson set the fastest lap of the test and an unofficial lap record with a time of 1:55.794, besting teammate Buford’s pole time from 2014. The pace continued into race week at Daytona as the #15 Multimatic Mustang set the fastest time in two of the three practice sessions. Maxwell went on to qualify the #15 on pole position Thursday afternoon, giving Multimatic a 3rd straight Daytona pole. Newcomer Cindric put the #158 an incredible P4, less than half a second off of Maxwell’s time.
The BMW Performance 200 starts at 1:45 ET, January 23rd. Expectations are high, the team’s optimism is palpable and it looks as if 2015 is shaping up to be a banner year for Multimatic.
Billy Johnson Hoping to
Billy is an American professional race car driver competing in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS class for Multimatic Motorsports / Miller Racing in the #158 Ford Racing BOSS 302R Mustang with co-driver Ian James.
Billy drove the #007 Aston Martin Vantage in the 12 Hours of Sebring for Aston Martin Racing in the GT class with Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana in 2013.
He has been called to drive in the #77 Doran Racing Ford Daytona Prototype during the 2012 running of 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 road-course test driver and coach for Roush Fenway Racing and drove the #60 Nationwide car to an 8th place finish at Montreal in 2012. Johnson made his Nationwide oval debut at Loudon in 2013 and finished an impressive 15th position on the lead lap. He also led laps in the #16 at Road America.
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 Wellington, FL.
SPEED Channel 2013 Race Broadcast:
1 - BMW Performance 200 (Daytona) WIN - (Click Here)
SPEED Channel 2012 Race Broadcast:
Video interview from the WIN at NJMP (2011):
Billy Johnson & FX Motorsports Development re-set the Buttonwillow Track Record by ~3 seconds (1:37.520) as confirmation of fastest time attack car in the country.
Billy Johnson & FXMD beat HKS Japan's long-standing track record at Buttonwillow. The only RWD car to do so!