Columbus: Tommy Johnson Jr preview

Johnson looks for paydirt at site of first career NHR victory HEBRON, Ohio (June 7, 2004) - Being at the drag strip always provides a feeling of excitement, and certain drivers get a positive vibe at specific tracks for a variety of reasons --...

Johnson looks for paydirt at site of first career NHR victory

HEBRON, Ohio (June 7, 2004) - Being at the drag strip always provides a feeling of excitement, and certain drivers get a positive vibe at specific tracks for a variety of reasons -- such as past success at that facility. National Trail Raceway, just outside of Ohio's state capital, always will be a special place for veteran driver Tommy Johnson Jr. because 'Trails' is where the Iowa native raced to his first career NHRA national event victory in 1988.

Some 16 years ago, Johnson powered his Pontiac Firebird entry to the Top Alcohol Funny Car win in the final round over category stalwart Pat Austin to score the win at the 1988 Springnationals, one of the most storied events on the 23-race circuit.

"I won my first national event at Columbus back in 1988 in Alcohol Funny Car," Johnson said. "A Wally is a Wally. It means as much now as it ever has. It was just as tough to win in Alcohol Funny Car as any other category. Columbus is one of the tracks I really enjoy racing at. I know a lot of people in the area and it's always a good event. If we can keep the rain out, it should be a great race this year."

More than a decade after capturing his first career win at the Ohio facility, the five-time NHRA winner recorded another first at National Trail Raceway, his first career start in a nitro Funny Car, powering his Joe Gibbs-owned Funny Car to the No. 3 qualifying position at Columbus in 1999.

This June, the Don Prudhomme Racing driver looks to get another first in Ohio the weekend of June 10-13 0x2022 his first victory of the 2004 NHRA season -- when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series visits the celebrated facility at National Trail Raceway for the 40th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals.

Johnson enters the event with a bit of momentum after jumping three positions in the POWERade points standings two weeks ago in Topeka, Kan. and hopes the addition of veteran tuner Johnny West to the Skoal Racing stable can help propel him to the winner's circle at National Trail Raceway for the second time in his career.

"I'm excited about his addition to our crew," Johnson said. "Johnny (West) brings a lot of knowledge to the table. It's nothing but a benefit for our car. We're starting to run better and he brings even more to the plate. We're building a solid core of guys in our pit area and I'm excited about the future at Snake Racing."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tommy Johnson , Don Prudhomme