Jake Johnson To Run Full-Time On Whelen Modified Tour For Boehler Racing Enterprises

(Press Release from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)

Jake Johnson (Photo: Jim DuPont/RaceDayCT)

For the first time since 2020, Boehler Racing Enterprises will have one driver competing full-time aboard the legendary Ole Blue No. 3 with the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

That driver is Jake Johnson, the reigning NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award winner. He will tackle the entire schedule for the first time after part-time schedules with the team in 2022 and 2023.

“Jake is unique. He is very focused and determined, and he wants to run with the best of the best,” said team owner Michael Boehler, son of Boehler Racing Enterprises founder Lenny Boehler. “I think the key part is him knowing now what he wants and us being ready to deliver it.”

The naming of Johnson as the full-time driver of the No. 3 Modified owned by the legendary Boehler family is a full-circle moment for the 21-year-old from Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

Johnson is a life-long fan of Ole Blue, the nickname given to the famous blue No. 3 Modified wheeled through the years by champions like Bugsy Stevens, Wayne Anderson and Tony Hirschman.

Now he’ll become the latest in a long line of full-time drivers of the No. 3, something Johnson is still working to fully comprehend.

“I had an Ole Blue diecast when I was a kid that Bugsy Stevens signed,” Johnson said. “I always had it on the mantle in the living room. Now I’m driving it, which is the wildest part. I look at my dad and go, ‘Oh, isn’t that weird?’ It’s kind of funny how it came completely full circle.”

Johnson has taken a unique road to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. For most of his racing career, his focus was on Late Models, with Modifieds only recently becoming Johnson’s primary focus.

He is perhaps best known for his victory in the 2020 running of the Snowflake 100, the annual precursor to the Snowball Derby at Florida’s Five Flags Speedway. Johnson never officially led a lap in that event; he was awarded the victory when event officials penalized Stephen Nasse for spinning rival Bubba Pollard coming to the checkered flag.

Johnson recalls driving a Modified early in his career, but after injuring one of his fingers in a crash, his mother forbid him from racing one.

That rule didn’t stick, and now Johnson is preparing for his first full NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season.

“I drove a Modified once when I was a little kid, and I wrecked and broke my thumb,” Johnson recalled. “My mom, she had enough of the open-wheel stuff. It’s just funny because now here I am.”

The goal for the combination of Johnson and Boehler Racing Enterprises is to return the team to its winning ways. The team hasn’t won a Tour race since Rowan Pennink scored a victory at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in 2017.

In his 19 starts to date on the Tour, Johnson has come close to victory a few times. His best effort came late last year at Thompson, where he led 22 laps and finished second to eventual series champion Ron Silk.

Boehler is hopeful that, with one driver behind the wheel and the team completely focused on the Whelen Modified Tour, a return to Victory Lane will come sooner than later.

“Winning is definitely what we all look forward to and want to do,” Boehler said. “We compete against those three or four teams that dominate all the time. How do we get just that little bit better and beat those guys? I think that’s the main focus.”

If Johnson can add his name to the list of drivers to take Ole Blue to Victory Lane, it’ll mean the completion of a childhood dream that for a time he didn’t think was attainable.

“To get to Victory Lane, every race you go to you’ve got to have a chance to finish in the top five,” Johnson said. “That’s where wins are going to come. We’ve had a lot of good races, but we had a few bad ones sprinkled in.

“It takes a lot of ingredients to make the correct recipe. I think we’re working on that right now and getting it perfect. In 2024 I hope we hit the ground running.”


  1. Great news for both team and driver – Ole Blue is still home built and still competitive – go get the checkered flags #3

  2. Nice to see ‘ole blue announce a full time effort before a season starts! I was think its quite a feat, to run as well as he did against teams with big money, big car chassis names under them, with legendary crew chiefs and owners.
    I think I remember correctly, that I was at a Haunted 100 race, where johnson had a hell of a run when nobody really expected him to. Finished about 7th if memory serves.
    So hoping the 3 team can smooth out some rough edges and gel, as it sure would be nice to see ‘ole blue in victory lane again. Still going to take a lot to consistently run with the 16, 51 , 64. As for Emerling and fuller, well, we’ll see.

  3. It is time…

    The 3 was the car consistently nipping at the heels of the 51 and 16 cars. With a full season commitment, this could be the season that the 3 is consistently in the mix, and a championship contender. This is what is expected from the 3 car, no less. This is its heritage.

    I can’t wait for the season to start.

    Go Ole’ Blue!!!!

  4. Suitcase Jake says

    I have been a longtime friend of the Johnson’s . I sold them their first Race Car way way back in the late 80’s.. So this is partly my fault that both Andy & Tim have Son’s that race…LOL .. So it is with great pleasure that Nick Won at Thompson and Jake has Won at quite a few tracks already along with Modified Wins in His Family Owned Car… Propane Plus is the Family Business who also sponsor Meg Fuller.. Rick Fuller drove a SK type Modified for the Johnson’s at Thompson years back on the High Banks..It was a beautiful yellow & white Showpiece they sat Fuller into..Anyways , Congratulations to Jake and the Johnson Family… OLD BLUE will finally Return to VICTORY LANE for the first time in a long time in 24….. Lenny hardly ever went a week without Winning the Feature somewhere when He had OLD BLUE racing 3 or 5 times a week…. When it does happen … All the Race Day Ct fans will maybe have a little tear in the corner of their eye to see the HOME BUILT not cookie cutter # 3 pull into Victory Lane on the Tour…. Jake Johnson almost made it Happen at Thompson last year….

  5. I too can’t wait to see Jake and ol blue in victory lane. Can’t help but wonder if “ the team completely focused on the WMT” means no Tri Track?

  6. Hank Stott says

    This couldn’t happen to nicer racing family…a class act. Looks like some exciting racing is in store for 2024..!

  7. He is an impressive talent.

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