After qualifying on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, Dan Greenling, Jr., narrowly lost to his dad in an exhibition race. Dan greenling is the track record-holder at Florida Sports Park. Adam Fisher/Naples Daily News
A shot of the swamp buggy track at Florida Sports Park during qualifying for the Winter Classic on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018.(Photo: Adam Fisher)
Already fueled by a painfully close defeat last time out, Tyler Johns heads into Sunday’s Swamp Buggy Races Winter Classic with a boost of confidence following Saturday’s qualifying.
Johns had the fastest time around Florida Sports Park’s “Mile-O-Mud” during qualifying, circling the track in his pro-modified buggy The Patriot in 52.97 seconds.
By piloting the fastest swamp buggy, Johns won the Pro-Modified Challenge and $1,000 in prize money.
“Everything ran good, motor sounds clean,” Johns said. “(Saturday) morning we did have a little issue with the suspension, so we did some adjustments on that and went out there and turned 52.97.”
Johns’s time was 0.03 seconds slower than the last time he was in the mud at Florida Sports Park. That was 10 months ago, when Johns came in second place to Eddie Chesser in the Big Feature – the crown jewel of the swamp buggy weekend – by just 0.22 seconds.
Johns, 34, drives without most of his left arm, which was severed near the elbow during an airboat accident in May 2016.
Fans and drivers alike were eager to get back to the track after Hurricane Irma caused the Fall Classic to be canceled in the November. Florida Sports Park still was rebuilding and