JOHNSON JR. EXCITED TO GET BACK TO THE WORLD OF NHRA DRAG RACING AT B.I.R. BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 7, 2006) Following the NHRA's grueling Western Swing, the world's fastest motor sport enjoyed a weekend reprieve before heading back out on the...
JOHNSON JR. EXCITED TO GET BACK TO THE WORLD OF NHRA DRAG RACING AT B.I.R.
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 7, 2006) Following the NHRA's grueling Western Swing, the world's fastest motor sport enjoyed a weekend reprieve before heading back out on the road for the land of 10,000 lakes. Veteran nitro pilot Tommy Johnson Jr., driver of Don Prudhomme's Skoal RacingSM Funny Car, used his weekend at home in Indiana to relax and unwind after nearly a month on the road. Like any good racer, he spent much of his free time at the race track. Only this time, the seven-time NHRA winner was a spectator, rather than speeding along at 330 mph.
Away from the comfy confines of the quarter mile, the Iowa native ventured to the land of garages and left turns at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis and storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway to take in a little stock car racing action at the motor sports capital of the world.
"It wasn't quite as stressful as racing," Johnson said. "It was more being a fan than anything else. I got my racing fix in, but I also got to sleep in my bed when it was over. I'm all about racing. I don't really care what form. It's always neat to take in another form of motor sports and get to know the folks from other racing series. I had a good time hanging out with Jeff Gordon and his team. They're a pretty good operation to try and watch and pick up things from."
Having fed his NASCAR appetite over the weekend, Johnson and his Skoal Racing crew are hungry to notch a second victory to their 2006 season belt as the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes its annual visit to Minnesota, August 10-13, at the always festive Brainerd International Raceway for the 25th running of the Lucas Oil Nationals. Entering the 16th race on the schedule six rounds of competition behind third place racer Tony Pedregon, the Skoal Racing crew hopes that what they found during the Sonoma, Calif. event two weeks ago will help them better their semifinal effort at Brainerd last season and deliver another visit to the final round.
"I think the car is back on track," Johnson said. "I can't wait to get going after the little break. We had a good showing at Brainerd last year and I'm really confident that we can repeat that performance and do well again this weekend. I'm pumped up and ready to go to the track, as opposed to counting down the number of races left in the season."
Johnson and crew chief Mike Green have developed a solid baseline for the cool-weather conditions having posted the third quickest Funny Car run in NHRA history this June (4.672 seconds). With weather forecasts calling for weekend temperatures in the low 80s, the Skoal Racing team is eager is unleash the 8,000 horsepower special edition silver-and-blue Monte Carlo in cooler temperatures than what they experienced on a very hot Western Swing.
"It's a lot easier to tune and drive the race car with the cooler temperatures," Johnson said. "With the strong performance that we've had in the cooler conditions, I'm hoping the weather forecast stays like they're predicting and we can see Funny Cars running in the 4.70s again."