First Round Exit In Denver Still Keeps Johnson A Championship Contender MORRISON, CO 7/15/07 Snap-on Tools Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Steve Johnson of Irondale, Alabama suffered a tough first round loss at this weekend's Mopar...
First Round Exit In Denver Still Keeps Johnson A Championship Contender
MORRISON, CO 7/15/07 Snap-on Tools Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Steve Johnson of Irondale, Alabama suffered a tough first round loss at this weekend's Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, but remains a championship contender. Only the top 8 points earners in the new NHRA POWERade Series championship format -- named the "Countdown to 8" -- will be eligible for the title following the Toyo Tires Nationals in Pennsylvania in late August, but at this juncture Johnson is among them, holding on to the eighth position by a fairly slim margin.
Although racing in the rarified air of Bandimere Speedway just outside of Denver is tough on everyone, Johnson still enjoys the challenge. "I love this track," he said Sunday afternoon following a first round loss. "The Bandimere family, who run this facility, are terrific, and so are the Colorado fans because they dig motorcycle drag racing, but I hate the fact that it's so difficult to race up here.
"Mark Peiser, our crew chief, had a great motorcycle prepared for this race -- for a Suzuki. We give up a lot of cubic inches to the Harley's and Buells, and while that's not a problem at sea level, it means a lot up here.
"When we raced Geno Scali in the first round Mark had a great tune-up in the motorcycle, and I cut a double-oh-five light, but we were just a little short. I hate losing by a few thousandths of a second, but that's what this class has come down to.
"My frustration is that we could have made a big move in the points today, because the racers behind us all lost early. Still, things are definitely going to tighten up. Ultimately the fans get a great show because they all know everyone's fighting for that eighth spot, but we're just barely hanging on to that right now."
Johnson was also pretty excited about the fact that his team fed and hosted over 50 WyoTech Technical School enrollees in his pit area over the weekend. "That was awesome," he said with a smile. "I love seeing how excited those new students are. It's a blast to entertain them at the track because for some of them it's their first experience with drag racing, and they all seem to really dig it."
The Pro Stock Motorcycle contingent will have a weekend off before the tour heads to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California in two weeks. "We're already looking ahead to that," Johnson said. "We're in a real battle here for that eighth spot, and we intend to win that war!"