Indianapolis: GM Racing Funny Car Showdown notes

Tommy Johnson Jr. Puts In Strong Performance In $100,000 Skoal Showdown Skoal Chevy Driver Records Runner-Up Finish in Sponsor's Race INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 3, 2005 - Tommy Johnson Jr., driver of the Skoal Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car, did his...

Tommy Johnson Jr. Puts In Strong Performance In $100,000 Skoal Showdown
Skoal Chevy Driver Records Runner-Up Finish in Sponsor's Race

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 3, 2005 - Tommy Johnson Jr., driver of the Skoal Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car, did his sponsor proud with a runner-up finish to 13-time NHRA POWERade champ John Force in today's 25th annual Skoal Showdown. Johnson was making his third career appearance in the Skoal Showdown, a non-points bonus Funny Car event held today in conjunction with this weekend's 52nd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The "race within a race" features the top eight Funny Car drivers who have accumulated the most points in qualifying during the past year in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series with $100,000 going to the winner. Joining Johnson and Force in the elite class of eight included Chevy driver Tony Pedregon, Robert Hight, Whit Bazemore, Gary Scelzi, Eric Medlen and Ron Capps.

Johnson, a race winner just three weeks ago at Brainerd (Minn.), defeated Gary Scelzi's Dodge in Round 1 and Robert Hight, Force's Ford teammate, in Round 2 before squaring off with Force. In the final Force had a slight advantage off the starting line and never looked back in a good, side-by-side drag race. Force had an elapsed time of 4.789 seconds at 327.19 mph to Johnson's 4.823 e.t. at 321.04 mph to claim the $100,000 special-event title for the sixth time in his career. Johnson received $15,000 for his runner-up finish.

"We felt really confident coming in here the way this car's been running," said Johnson. "I think all of the other guys in the class kind of see how we've come on, and it gives you a lot of confidence going into something like this. We beat part of the Force camp today, but we just couldn't quite do it in the final. You're disappointed, but you can't be too disappointed with just getting outrun. We didn't smoke the tires, I didn't have a bad light. John Force was just the better car in the final. It was a good, close drag race, and that's all you can hope for."

Unfortunately, Tony Pedregon in the Q Racing Chevy Monte Carlo faced event-winner Force in the first round and lost a close battle with his former team owner. Pedregon had an elapsed time of 4.834 seconds at 295.46 mph to Force's winning 4.790 e.t. at 322.58 mph.

Johnson has his Chevy qualified third for tomorrow's eliminations at the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals and will face Scott Kalitta in the first round.

"We may have lost the Skoal Showdown today, but we've got a really good race car going into the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals tomorrow" added Johnson. "Going to the final today obviously didn't hurt our momentum for tomorrow."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Scott Kalitta , Eric Medlen , Robert Hight , Tommy Johnson Jr.