Column By: MIKE WARREN / RPW – ALBANY, NY – You could feel the excitement for the inaugural Albany Indoor Race at the Times Union Center as soon as you made your way into the parking garage on Friday night. This was especially true when it was announced earlier in the week that the TQ midgets would have a local entry to the field.
One person, in particular who was excited, was 2016 Albany-Saratoga Speedway Modified Champion Mark Johnson, who was behind the wheel of the Shapeshifter Motorsports car #21 usually piloted by Bobby Holmes. Throughout the early portion of the practice session, Marc said he had a fast car and was able to make some passes on the narrow, tacky arena floor.
However, that’s when some adversity came to the ‘White Knight.’
“In the third practice session, a left rear trailing arm bracket broke, forcing us to scramble,” Johnson said. “That made me miss the time trial session.
Once fixed, it also forced the Guilderland, NY campaigner to start dead last in the final heat race, (eighth), in an event where only the top four qualified.
At the drop of the green of the heat race, a wreck ensued in front of Johnson, forcing him to take evasive action. That led the car into the turn one jersey barrier, where the car flipped and landed on his roof. Marc would be okay, but left him with another uphill climb in that night’s B-main.
In the B, you could tell Marc was fighting some handling issues on the 21 machine. It seemed as though he could not keep the car on the bottom.
With a few laps to go, and a little luck (sometimes needed indoors), Johnson found himself fifth, one spot out. Unfortunately, that is as far has he would get, finishing just out of a qualifying position and not making the A-main.
Usually that would be a bad night for most drivers, but I believe Marc learned a lot after sitting into the TQ midget for the first time on Friday afternoon. We will see if Marc will be a force to be reckoned with on night #2 in Albany as part of the Indoor Racing Championships Saturday night.