After four cautions within 30 laps and a massive wreck in Turn 1 on lap 176 that resulted in a red flag for the field, the team knew it was time to come in on the next caution lap. Long's team got her out in the first position where she battled with Ross Kenseth for the lead for 38 laps, much to the delight of the crowd.
As the laps wound down, Long bided her time before hitting pit road for fresh rubber a mere six laps from the scheduled checkered flag. It would turn out to be a dramatic finish under Snowball Derby rules, which state that five consecutive green flag laps must be driven before the checkered flag would be waved. A rash of cautions at the end of the race gave Long the time she would need as she wheeled past the top six cars, taking them down one at a time and again narrowly escaping two crashes.
By saving her tires through the middle portion of the race, the teen was able to pass Landon Cassill to take the lead when it mattered most with two laps to go, sailing into the history books becoming the second female to ever win, and the youngest female in track history to take the title.
The importance of Long's victory can't be understated. Besting a stacked field that included Cup Series drivers David Ragan, David Stremme, multi-time Derby winner Augie Grill, as well as up and coming superstars Elliott and Kenseth, means that Long has indeed arrived.
"What a night, what a weekend, what a year," said Long of her achievement. "This is what I've dreamed of ever since I became a racer. It is my family's dream, and I couldn't have done it with my dad, my mom and sisters, my aunts and uncles, and grandparents-all of whom were supporting us in the paddock tonight. I'm speechless, and it's the best Christmas present I could ever get.
Long completed seven starts in the Camping World Truck Series, with three Top 20 finishes and Top 20 qualifying grid starts at all races started. She hopes to race for a full Rookie season in 2011. Female or not, teenager or not, Johanna Long is a racer who can get the job done and that's going to be good for the sport of short track racing, mark our words.