Brainerd: Steve Johnson preview

Johnson Determined To Qualify For The Countdown With Three Races Remaining: "This Weekend In Brainerd Is Critical!" IRONDALE, AL 8/4/08 Despite a 9th place finish in the 2007 NHRA POWERade points standings, Steve Johnson of Irondale, Ala.

Johnson Determined To Qualify For The Countdown With Three Races Remaining: "This Weekend In Brainerd Is Critical!"

IRONDALE, AL 8/4/08 Despite a 9th place finish in the 2007 NHRA POWERade points standings, Steve Johnson of Irondale, Ala. acknowledges that last year was a disappointment. "We didn't qualify for the Countdown to the Championship," he said. "Nothing else mattered. We've worked all season to make sure that doesn't happen again. Right now we're okay. We're not a lock to make the Countdown, so every qualifying run we make this coming weekend at the NHRA Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, Min. is critically important, and every round of racing on Sunday is even more so.

"There are just three races remaining until the Top 10 riders in Pro Stock Motorcycle are locked in for the Countdown to the Championship, and every member of our Snap-on Tools/WyoTech Technical Schools Suzuki team is just as determined as I am that we're going to be a part of that.

"It's amazing the way things work. We've raced all year to be in the Top 10 to qualify for the Countdown, and then we'll have to push even harder to try and win the POWERade championship.

"It may be a cliche, but it really is true that if this was easy everyone would be doing it. The quality of competition in Pro Stock Motorcycle is mind-boggling. There are maybe a dozen riders who are regulars on the NHRA POWERade Series circuit who are capable of winning on any given Sunday, so that means we have to be on the top of our game every time out. Man, talk about your pressure cooker situations, this is it!"

In his last three outings Johnson has scored a semifinal round finish at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals in Ohio, a runner-up finish at the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in Denver and then a crushing first round redlight loss at the Fram Autolite Nationals in California. Despite that setback he remains in 9th place in the points standings, less than a round of racing out of 8th. But, as Johnson said while watching his team load their Suzuki race bike for the ride north, "That sounds good right now, but let's see where we are after this weekend's race. Maybe at that point I'll be able to breathe a little easier."

-credit: sj

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Series NHRA
Drivers Steve Johnson