Courtesy of PNJ.com
CLERMONT, Ind. — It’s a long way from Five Flags Speedway to the Indianapolis metro area, but Pensacola’s teenage sensation Johanna Long made the most of her opportunity on Friday night.
The youngest female driver in the history of NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series, the 18-year-old Long finished 17th overall in the AAA Insurance 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park.
The previous youngest female to compete in a truck series event was Caitlin Shaw, then 19, who finished 24th in last year’s race at ORP.
For the first time since 2004, three female drivers competed in a truck series event. Long was joined in the race by Jennifer Jo Cobb, 37, and Michelle Theriault, 21. Long’s debut performance easily led the group as Cobb finished 26th and Theriault was 32nd.
Long — who sat on the pole at Five Flags for the 2009 Snowball Derby won by Sprint Cup star Kyle Busch — qualified 15th in the No. 15 Toyota owned by Billy Ballew Motorsports on Friday afternoon in a speed of 107.393 mph.
In 2009, Long — who won the Pro Late Model championship at Five Flags in ’08 — competed in 38 events that covered races in the American Speed Association, Pro Late Model, Pro All Stars Series and Auto Racing Club of America. She piled up 27 top-10 finishes (17 among the top five) and five victories.
Ron Hornaday won the ORP truck series race Friday night for the third time in four years after holding off Busch at the checkered flag.
Hornaday, who qualified fifth, became the first driver to win four major NASCAR races at ORP. He also won the trucks race in 1997, 2007 and 2009. He led 129 of the 200 laps to snap a 22-race winless streak.
Hornaday’s win last year set a record for consecutive Truck Series wins with four. He then won the next race, at Nashville, to push the record to five, but hadn’t won since.