Denver: Tommy Johnson Jr preview

JOHNSON JR. GEARED UP TO BEGIN TOILSOME WESTERN SWING MORRISON, Colo. (July 11, 2005) - Grueling is a word that can be used to describe life on the NHRA circuit, and there is no word that more appropriately describes what NHRA teams face during...

JOHNSON JR. GEARED UP TO BEGIN TOILSOME WESTERN SWING

MORRISON, Colo. (July 11, 2005) - Grueling is a word that can be used to describe life on the NHRA circuit, and there is no word that more appropriately describes what NHRA teams face during the final three weeks in July as the second half of the NHRA schedule roars to life with the grueling Western Swing.

"I'm ready to go racing," veteran driver Tommy Johnson Jr. said. "Our Skoal RacingSM team has never been more prepared than we are right now. We've had good success at the last three back-to-back-to-back stretches. So, I'm looking forward to the Western Swing. When you're running well, you went to keep racing, not take a break. If we're going to make a run in the points standings, we need to start with a good showing at Denver."

The six-time NHRA winner, who sits fifth in the competitive NHRA Funny Car division, and his Don Prudhomme-owned Skoal Racing team enter the 26th annual Mile-High Nationals, July 15-17 at scenic Bandimere Speedway near Denver, a tick under eight rounds of competition from the top spot in the Funny Car points chase.

Johnson, who advanced to his first career NHRA final round at the 1984 Mile-High Nationals in the Super Gas category, knows, not only the importance of the three-week July swing of events, but the amount of effort that his Mike Green/Johnny West-led race crew will put in during the arduous summer stretch that takes the team from its Indiana race shop to Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif. before getting a weekend off.

The Western Swing is the hardest three weeks that we face all year, Johnson said. All the three-race swings are tough, but the amount of travel time, plus the dramatic difference in the setup from Denver to Seattle takes a toll on everyone. There's a lot of work in getting the cars to run at Denver and then back to race at sea level conditions a week later. The amount of work is tremendous and the travel time makes it that much harder.

Despite the time away from home, the hours of work involved and the exhausting summertime conditions, Johnson is more ready than ever to fire-up his supercharged 8,000 horsepower engine, lower his Monte Carlo body and hit the Bandimere Speedway quarter mile.

I've had more going on in the two weeks off than I would have had I been racing, Johnson said. I'm really looking forward to getting back to the track. When we're off, I come up with too many little projects. I'm ready to go racing again.

T.J. 'Talks' Denver...

What do you like most about Bandimere Speedway?

"I like that John Bandimere and his family are a great group of people. I've had a lot of success at Bandimere Speedway. It's definitely one of my favorite tracks. I've always done well there, so it's hard to argue with the results."

What is your favorite memory of Bandimere Speedway?

"I went to my first career final round there years ago when I was driving in Super Gas. Being in my first ever NHRA national event final round was a great memory and something that I'll always remember."

What do you like most about the Denver area?

"I have a lot of friends in Denver. My wife (Melanie Troxel) is from there and I really like the town."

What is your favorite Denver-area restaurant?

"The Morrison Inn. It's a little Mexican restaurant near the track with great food."

When you hear 'Bandimere Speedway' the first thing that comes to mind is?

"That it's a beautiful facility built on the side of a mountain."

-www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tommy Johnson , Don Prudhomme , Melanie Troxel , Tommy Johnson Jr.