OGDEN -- Parkinson and Johnson had to work pretty hard to get a day off.
The Idaho state champion team, driven by Rod Parkinson, won Friday's first division showdown race in the 2012 Cutter and Chariot Racing World Championships.
The payoff is that his two-horse team of Ocean Runner and Whos On First AJ gets to lay out today and will return to race on Sunday for the championship title at the Weber County Fairgrounds race track.
Action begins at noon on both days at the track.
Parkinson and Johnson, competing out of the National Association, ran in 21.98 seconds, edging Ekstrom and Gift (22.00), out of the Golden Spike Association, and KBG Racing (22.18), out of the Neebo Association, in a tight race on a sun-splashed day in front of an energized crowd.
The two runner-up teams will be among those trying to qualify for Sunday's dash for the title. They'll be joined by Wasatch Pallet No. 1, out of the Skyline Association, and Jess and Grant, out of the Bear River Valley Association.
It's been several years since a non-Utah based duo has won the world championship, but Parkinson and Johnson looked primed for the opportunity with three consistent times last weekend and Friday.
Other teams earning a day off include Shaffer Family (second division), Wayment and Pope (third division), Tyler Gibbs Racing (fourth division), Stokes Racing (fifth division), and Gibbs Racing (sixth division).
There will be 30-plus races today and Sunday, plus awards in various categories, including best groomed, sportsmanship, showmanship, oldest driver, rookie driver, top association and family contribution.
The Wasatch Slopes Association hosts the championships, along with Weber County and world chariot racing organization.