JOHNSON JR. AIMS FOR ANOTHER WIN AS 2005 NHRA SEASON NEARS THE FINISH LINE ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 20, 2005) -- As the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule winds down, veteran nitro driver Tommy Johnson Jr. and his Skoal RacingSM Funny Car...
JOHNSON JR. AIMS FOR ANOTHER WIN AS 2005 NHRA SEASON NEARS THE FINISH LINE
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 20, 2005) -- As the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule winds down, veteran nitro driver Tommy Johnson Jr. and his Skoal RacingSM Funny Car team have many things to be proud of during the 2005 campaign. After a lackluster 2004 effort, the Skoal Racing crew has been a consistent top six car all season long, with one w! in in two final-round appearances, along with five trips to the semifinals. Johnson advanced to the semis just once last season.
While all that is fine and dandy to the six-time NHRA winner, Johnson knows he has a strong race car that's capable of winning rounds and races. Having qualified third, fifth and third at the last three events on the schedule, Don "the Snake" Prudhomme's Skoal Racing flopper has proven to be one of the better cars in the cutthroat Funny Car division. After losing by the narrowest of margins (11 thousandths of-a-second) last weekend in Reading, Pa., Johnson hopes the tide turns in his favor when the NHRA series returns to The Lone Star State for the 20th annual O'Reilly Fall Nationals, Sept. 22-25, at the always fast Texas Motorplex.
"We're going to a good racetrack, and with the car running as good as it is, if we can work on the consistency just a tad, we'll have a great shot at winning the race," Johnson said. "Dallas always yields really great ETs on Friday night, so I'm really looking forward to going out and trying to run my career-best during Friday's night session."
Johnson's Mike Green/Johnny West-tuned race car has been strong on Friday's night qualifying session this season and with the all-concrete quarter mile at the Motorplex, Johnson's 4.741-second career-best elapsed time might just be in jeopardy. While posting a career-best E.T. is great, the high qualifying position that comes along with a low 4.7-second E.T. is even more important come race day if a driver expects to advance far into the afternoon.
"I've changed my sights a bit," Johnson said. "At one point I thought we had a good shot (at the championship), but right now I just want to focus on winning another race before the end of the season. If we can win one or two races and finish on a high note, the points will take care of themselves and we'll be really confident going into the off season."
Johnson, who leads the Funny Car division in average reaction time, has proven to be arguably the best driver in the flopper category this year. If his race car remains consistent, a win at Dallas could be in the picture and the Skoal Racing team could add another positive note to their 2005 scrapbook.
T.J. 'TALKS' DALLAS...
What do you like most about Texas Motorplex?
I don't like the all-concrete track like most do. It wants to pull you out of the groove on the top end. However, it was the first one of the "Super Tracks" and it's still a great place to race.
What is your favorite memory from Texas Motorplex?
I was runner-up to (John) Force in 1999 and at the time, it was the quickest side-by-side Funny Car race ever.
What do you like most about the Dallas area?
I like the Dallas-area and I like the West End-area a lot. It's a neat place.
When you hear 'Texas Motorplex' the first thing that comes to mind is?