JOHNSON JR. FINISHES FOURTH AT JOLIET AFTER MAKING QUICKEST AND FASTEST RUN OF CAREER JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 1, 2005) -- Tommy Johnson Jr. completed a brilliant weekend of qualifying Saturday at Route 66 Raceway as the veteran nitro pilot qualified...
JOHNSON JR. FINISHES FOURTH AT JOLIET AFTER MAKING QUICKEST AND FASTEST RUN OF CAREER
JOLIET, Ill. (Oct. 1, 2005) -- Tommy Johnson Jr. completed a brilliant weekend of qualifying Saturday at Route 66 Raceway as the veteran nitro pilot qualified his Skoal RacingSM Chevy Funny Car fourth in the quickest field in NHRA history. Johnson, one of 13 drivers to have scored wins in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, drove to the quickest run of his career Friday evening (4.698 seconds) and clocked the fifth fastest Funny Car pass in NHRA history (331.45 mph), also a personal best for the Iowa native.
The Skoal Racing Monte Carlo overpowered the sunny Route 66 Raceway quarter mile on Saturday's opening run as Johnson's Chevy flopper shook the tires just after the half track mark and coasted to a run of 5.537 seconds at 179.52 mph. The six-time NHRA winner concluded qualifying by blasting to a run of 4.808 at 309.70 to finish fourth in the quickest Funny Car field in NHRA history. Johnson has qualified second, third, fifth, third and fourth at the last five NHRA events.
"It's been a great weekend so far," Johnson said. "We left it alone from last night for today's first run and it came loose in the middle of the track. Then, we sat in the lanes for awhile and the track got better, so we tried to repeat from Friday night and it just came loose and shook and slowed to a 4.80. It should have been a 4.71 or 4.72 on the last run.
"We're right on track. My expectations were to run a 330 (mph), but the 4.69 surprised me. I thought we had a better chance to get the 330, but to get both was really big. We just have to go up there tomorrow and run low 4.70s all day."
Johnson will battle No. 13 qualifier Frank Pedregon in the opening round of Funny Car eliminations at 11 a.m. (CT) on Sunday at the ultra-quick Joliet drag strip. Johnson is 2-0 versus the eldest Pedregon brother this season and 5-6 in his career against F. Pedregon.