STAFFORD – After finishing second in the 2013 and 2014 DARE Stock division standings at Stafford Motor Speedway, Johnny “Wicker” Walker decided a year off to regroup and retool was in order.
In 2016, Walker returned to Stafford with the singular goal of winning the DARE Stock division championship and Saturday at Stafford he accomplished that feat in perfect style.
Walker, of Ludlow, Mass., won the 15-lap DARE Stock feature Saturday at Stafford Motor Speedway to clinch his first division championship.
“By coming in second, and by kind of having nose my rubbed in it, that was the driving force coming back,” Walker said. “It kind of takes a little bit of the fun out of it when all you can really think about is the championship. It’s a lot of stress. Sometimes you’re not looking at the win when always have the championship on your mind. Week after week after week that was it.”
Walker finished the season with two victories and 16 top-five’s in 17 starts. He said he wasn’t ashamed to say he was points racing from the first event of the year. He came into the event holding a 16-point lead in the standings over Brandon Michael.
“I had my eyes set on that championship,” Walker said. “My biggest goal wasn’t always to get that win, it was to finish in the top-three. … I knew top-three’s would that championship.”
Walker passed Trace Beyer for the lead on lap 10 of Saturday’s event and never trailed again.
“Tony Membrino Jr. set the bar pretty high winning the [SK Light Modified] championship with the Dunleavy’s logo on the back and winning the race [Saturday],” Walker said. “That was a tough shoe to fill but I think I filled it alright.”
Beyer, of West Dover, Vt, ended up second and Alexandra Fearn of East Longmeadow, Mass. was third.
“I kind of crossed over and got to the inside of him,” Walker said. “It was fierce on the outside. I think he was probably going to beat me and then I caught him slip up once and I was able to capitalize on it and get the win.”