Jake Johnson ready to fill in for injured Brad Baker at the Don Tilley Memorial Charlotte Half-Mile aboard the No. 5 Factory Harley-Davidson

By Andrew Swain:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 24, 2015) – In a few short days, Jake Johnson will pilot the No. 5 Factory Harley-Davidson XR750 in place of the injured Brad Baker when AMA Pro Flat Track visits Charlotte Motor Speedway on Aug. 29 for the Don Tilley Memorial Charlotte Half-Mile. The race will be Johnson’s first time competing on a twin in Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines competition since the Flat Track Finals in Pomona, Calif., last season.

“I’m really excited and a little nervous,” said Johnson. “I haven’t had very much time on a twin this season but I’ll have a great motorcycle to ride at Charlotte and I’m pretty confident we can get a good finish.”

Like most AMA Pro Flat Track competitors, Johnson made his 2015 debut last March at the season-opening DAYTONA Flat Track doubleheader in Daytona Beach, Florida. Johnson recorded seventh and 19th-place finishes that weekend but didn’t race again at the professional level until last round at the Peoria TT, where he finished sixth after starting from the back row.

If it weren’t for Baker’s crash on Aug. 4 at the Black Hills Half-Mile during Round 8, which resulted in a broken leg for the 2013 champion, Johnson most likely would not have returned to the circuit in 2015.

“My expectations filling in for Baker and riding the Factory Harley-Davidson are very high,” said Johnson. “Brad has been doing exceptionally well this year so I have some big shoes to fill. Plus, I expect a lot out of myself anyway. I’m going for wins. They have a great crew and great bikes, I just need to do my job.”

Though he hasn’t been around much this year, Johnson is no stranger to success and the podium. The New Jersey native won back-to-back GNC1 championships in 2010 and 2011 and has consistently been one of the fastest riders in the AMA Pro Flat Track paddock over the course of the last decade.

Johnson hasn’t raced at Charlotte Motor Speedway since his rookie campaign in 2002, when he finished third in the Charlotte Half-Mile. Since then, Johnson has racked up 19 career victories in the premier class and he will look to make it a clean 20 aboard the lightning quick No. 5 Factory Harley-Davidson XR750 on Saturday, Aug. 29.

Baker’s injury is expected to keep him sidelined until after the Calistoga Half-Mile on Sept. 26, though there is a slim chance he may be ready by then.

Fans can expect to see Johnson this Saturday at the Don Tilley Memorial Half-Mile, as well as the following Sunday on Sept. 6 at the Springfield Mile, also on Sept. 19 at the Delaware Half-Mile, and if Baker can’t go at Calistoga, then Johnson would race there, too.

Fortunately for Baker, he is positive that he will be ready for the Flat Track Season Finale in Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 20.

For tickets and information regarding this Saturday’s Don Tilley Memorial Half-Mile, fans are encouraged to visit http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/0E004EC299CF305C?brand=cms&camefrom=cfc_cms_AMA.

Fans that are unable to attend the event are encouraged to watch all of the action live on www.FansChoice.tv.