Performing in the clutch is what seperates a winning driver from the rest of the pack. Flexing muscle at the right time is something that true talents posess. Often luck plays a big role in winning versus losing, but being able to squeeze just enough strength out at the perfect opportunity is what separates winners from losers. Performing in the clutch doesn't necessarily mean winning, however; it's all about making the most from what you've got.
That's why Quarter Master, providers of winning clutches & driveline components to racers from Super Speedway to the Bullring, from IRL to Rally, from NASCAR to the "Weekend Warrior," is proud to honor a weekly "Clutch Performance of the Week" from the short track ranks of America. Each week, an esteemed panel of short track industry insiders will vote on which drivers came through in the clutch. The driver or team with the most votes will then be the "Clutch Performance of the Week." At the end of the season, the driver or team that received the most votes for their performances throughout the season will then be the "Clutch Performer of the Year" and will be awarded a clutch kit from Quarter Master, valued at $3,500 - just like the 2008 Quarter Master Clutch Performer of the Year winner Eddie MacDonald and 2009 winner Jeff Fultz.
Now, it's time to name the 2010 "Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Year", which goes to ...
Johanna Long - Snowball Derby Winner
The circumstances of Johanna Long’s victory in the 2010 Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida couldn’t have been any more dramatic if they had come from a Hollywood scribe’s typewriter instead of real life. So when it came time to tally votes for Speed51.com’s 2010 Quarter Master Clutch Performance of the Year award, it came as no surprise that Long was the overwhelming winner.
Long literally grew up in the shadows of Five Flags. But she was not the typical hometown girl who just went to the races for fun. Long was there to watch her father Donald compete in the Super Late Model division there. The elder Long made one dozen Derby starts with a best result of sixth, before halting his own driving career to help his daughter pursue hers.
Johanna Long proved to be a quick learner. She first started in karting at the age of eight before moving up to Late Models at the age of fourteen. It was only natural at that point for her to base her efforts at the hometown track of Five Flags Speedway. At just fifteen years old, she became the Pro Late Model champion at the facility. She followed that with a Blizzard Series championship and a Gulf Coast Super Late Model championship as well.
In 2010, Long struggled to top those accomplishments at first. Bad luck, wrong circumstances and fate kept her far out of victory lane with her Super Late Model for most of the season – even as she began the first steps of a very promising NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career.
Then came the biggest race of all season, the 43rd Annual Snowball Derby.
The pressure on Long for that race could have been crippling. By winning the event, she could turn her whole season and become the hometown success story. But with the best of the best assembled for the race, one moment of letting the pressure get to her could result in an early exit on the back of a tow truck. There were plenty of opportunities to get in trouble too – with fourteen caution periods in the 300-lap event.
Long wasn’t going to be the cause of any yellow flags though. She buckled down and worked her way into contention for the victory during a five-lap dash to the finish. When the going got rough, she pushed back. When the dust settled, Long ended the race in the record books as its 2010 winner.
That performance made her the Quarter Master Clutch Performer of the Week at the time and put her name into the running with 34 other weekly winners on the ballot for the annual award. A panel of industry insiders and media then put in their two cents to decide which of the bunch was most worthy to win. Their overwhelming choice was Long.
Long joins Eddie MacDonald in 2008 and Jeff Fultz in 2009 as an annual winner of the award.
2010 Quarter Master
Clutch Performer of the Year
Quarter Master's Clutch Performance of the Year
Who Came Through in The Clutch The Most of All in 2010?
As Decided by the Quarter Master and the Staff of Speed51.com