Johnson Jr. Suffers Early Setback at Columbus HEBRON, Ohio. (June 13, 2004) -- In a weekend marred by rain showers, the weather conditions became sunny and warm on Sunday as Tommy Johnson Jr. raced his blue Skoal RacingSM Chevy Monte Carlo to a...
Johnson Jr. Suffers Early Setback at Columbus
HEBRON, Ohio. (June 13, 2004) -- In a weekend marred by rain showers, the weather conditions became sunny and warm on Sunday as Tommy Johnson Jr. raced his blue Skoal RacingSM Chevy Monte Carlo to a first-round finish at National Trail Raceway.
After experiencing long delays during qualifying, where Johnson drove his Don Prudhomme-owned Chevy flopper to the No. 11 qualifying position, Johnson's Mike Green-led crew were faced with tricky track conditions in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations because of the suddenly hot race track. Johnson and first round foe Gary Scelzi had nearly identical reaction times and Johnson's Skoal Racing car posted better numbers to half track before spinning the tires allowing Scelzi to race by for the victory with a run of 4.958 seconds at 300.80 mph. Johnson recorded a run of 5.181 at 235.10.
"The conditions definitely changed," Johnson said. "Today, it was more like the Columbus you expect to see. That's what bit us down track. The early numbers on the run were as good as any we posted during qualifying. The hot track just wouldn't hold the tune-up and the car spun the tires at mid-track."
Veteran tuner and former Funny Car pilot Johnny West joined the blue Skoal Racing crew following the Topeka (Kan.) event two weeks ago. Johnson and crew will stay in Columbus on Monday and test some ideas West feels might benefit the consistency of the race car.
"Johnny (West) pretty much just observed what we were doing this weekend," Johnson said. "We'll test on Monday and try some the things he's brought to the table to try and improve our tuning window."
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 35th annual K&N Filters SuperNationals, June 17-20, at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J. Johnson posted a semifinal finish at Raceway Park last spring.