Having made off-season headlines with his surprise decision to switch teams, four-time and defending Mr. DIRT big-block modified champion Alan Johnson will be looking to make headlines on the track when the New York-based series invades The Dirt Track @ Lowe¿s Motor Speedway April 1-3 for the fourth annual Ferris 100 presented by DynoMax.

Even though he has finished outside the top-10 only once in the six DIRT big-block modified features run at The Dirt Track, Johnson is taking a conservative approach as he becomes acclimated to his new role as driver of the No. 14j Troyer entry fielded by H&H Motorsports of Cheshire, Conn.

¿Our race cars are good enough to be in victory lane,¿ said the 46-year-old resident of Phelps, N.Y. ¿But, realistically, I think if we can finish in the top-10, or more importantly in the top-five, we would all head home pretty happy.¿

The exotic big-block DIRT modifieds that will compete in the Ferris 100 presented by DynoMax are state-of-the-art distant cousins of the same modified coupes which formed the early foundation of NASCAR, and Johnson has been a dominant force in the open-wheeled machines for nearly 25 years.

Johnson was only 24 years old when he earned his first Mr. DIRT modified championship in 1981 and his 311 feature victories in DIRT-sanctioned big-block modified racing place him at the top of the all-time win list.

¿I¿ve been really fortunate. I¿ve been in really good cars and I¿ve worked with some really great teams,¿ Johnson said. ¿Most years I¿ve been competitive and when you have raced as many times as I have, you manage to get a few victories.¿

Johnson has long been known to race fans across the Northeast as ¿A.J. Slideways,¿ a unique moniker that has been with him most of his career.

"That was a nickname I earned at one of my home tracks in the early years,¿ Johnson explained. ¿We used to run the big tires like they run on the sprint cars, and sideways was just the way we ran the cars. They were never really straight.¿

In addition to the Ferris 100 presented by DynoMax, the DIRT tripleheader weekend also features the Charlotte Small-Block Championship for the Turning Stone Casino 358-Modified Super DIRT Series and the full-bodied pro stocks.

The event will run in conjunction with the April 1-4 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway. Spread over four days, Food Lion AutoFair is the nation¿s largest show of its kind. Among the attractions are a car show featuring more than 50 car clubs, thousands of parts and memorabilia vendors, a collector car auction and unusual automotive attractions. A car corral will feature nearly 2,000 vehicles of all makes and models available for sale or trade.

If purchased in advance, reserved adult tickets are $18 for the Ferris 100 presented by DynoMax on Saturday night, April 3, and $15 for the Charlotte Small-Block Championship on Friday night, April 2. Tickets for children 12 and under are just $5 each night. General admission tickets for practice on Thursday night, April 1, are $5 for adults with children admitted free.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.