Commerce: Steve Johnson final summary

Johnson "More Determined Than Ever" After Early Loss In Southern Nationals COMMERCE, GA 4/28/07 Snap-on Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Steve Johnson of Irondale, AL said he was "More determined than ever to find whatever it is we 'lost'...

Johnson "More Determined Than Ever" After Early Loss In Southern Nationals

COMMERCE, GA 4/28/07 Snap-on Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Steve Johnson of Irondale, AL said he was "More determined than ever to find whatever it is we 'lost' since the Gatornationals in Florida, and get our Suzuki TL-1000 running in the sixes again before the next race."

Johnson and his team, headed by crew chief Mark Peiser, demonstrated steady improvement during the middle rounds of qualifying, but on race day his 7.191-second elapsed time came out second best in his first round match-up with eventual race winner Karen Stoffer.

"I owe her two, now," Johnson said with a smile after the race. Stoffer had previously defeated Johnson in the semifinals of the Gatornationals in March. "Seriously," he added, "she's been doing a very good job, and it's nothing personal, but when the same competitor knocks you out of two races, well, you've gotta be looking for some sort of pay-back somewhere down the road, and I hope that comes at our next race."

The next outing for the Pro Stock Motorcycle contingent will come next weekend at the O'Reilly Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, IL just outside St. Louis.

Johnson's first qualifying attempt had to be abandoned just off the starting line as the Snap-on Tools Suzuki made a hard move towards the guardwall. "That was all my fault," Johnson admitted. "A Pro Stock Motorcycle is something like a bullet in a gun. If the gun isn't aimed properly, the bullet goes astray. Well, I didn't line the bike up properly, and when I let out the clutch it was obvious, so I shut 'er down."

In the two succeeding qualifying attempts Johnson produced a 7.105-second run and then an even quicker run of 7.081 seconds before slowing to 7.152-seconds on his fourth a final attempt. He ultimately ended up 13th in the 16-bike field.

"We decided to change engines prior to that fourth run," he said. "We felt that something was missing, something was keeping us out of the six second zone we ran in at the Gators, and maybe it was the engine, but clearly, that wasn't the case.

"We're going to take the bike back to our shop and completely tear down all of our engines to see if we can find anything. We're also wondering whether or not we've got carburetor problems, and whether this is the time for us to give serious consideration to making the switch to fuel injection. Those systems are incredibly pricy, but if that's what we need to be competitive, that's the direction we'll go in."

Johnson said his Suzuki "made a nice, smooth run in that first round, but we just didn't have enough power to get to the finish line first."

As is always the case, Johnson had a busy weekend, from hosting a group of new WyoTech Technical Schools student enrollees, to participating in autograph sessions and media opportunities. "I don't usually say stuff like this, but we'd really like to thank Jess Rawls and the gang from Moe's Southwest Grill, who provided the great food for our hospitality area on Saturday. It was so good it was hard to tear ourselves away from it to work on the bike!"

Johnson went on to say that this coming week is going to be another busy one for his team. "The guys are already on their way back to the shop," he said. "They're going to have to put in a lot of hours on the chassis dyno before they head up to St. Louis, but I never have to even wonder about things like that. These guys are dedicated to winning, and no matter how long it takes, they'll get the job done before we race next Friday."

-credit: ja/sj

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Karen Stoffer , Steve Johnson