Las Vegas II: Steve Johnson final report

First Round Redlight Ruins Johnson's Las Vegas Weekend -- Season Finale Looms On The Horizon LAS VEGAS, NV 10/28/07 Snap-on Tools Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Steve Johnson of Irondale, Ala., had a tough outing at the...

First Round Redlight Ruins Johnson's Las Vegas Weekend -- Season Finale Looms On The Horizon

LAS VEGAS, NV 10/28/07 Snap-on Tools Suzuki Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Steve Johnson of Irondale, Ala., had a tough outing at the season's penultimate race. A brand new engine never "broke in" through four qualifying rounds -- and then decided to come alive in the first round, resulting in an uncharacteristic foul start for the 21-year drag racing veteran. "This was a tough deal for our whole team," he said as his crew loaded up his Suzuki for the trip to California for the season finale at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. next weekend.

"What we do in the Finals can set the tone for the 2008 campaign, and I know everyone on our team is very much aware of that. We are determined to run harder than we did here, and I know that we can. Auto Club Raceway is a very fast track, and we've done pretty well there in the past. Our new engine finally demonstrated what it's capable of in the first round, so that gives me some confidence heading into next weekend.

"This is all about winning in Pomona, and going after the championship next season.

"I'll admit that I'm disappointed in myself for our results in the last two races. We're better than that, darn it, and you're going to see that next weekend. I rarely make predictions, and I'm not really making one now, but I know one thing: We are going to make our sponsors and fans proud of us at the Finals."

Johnson may have been disappointed in his own performance, but his growing legion of supporters from WyoTech Technical Schools had another fun visit in what he's come to call "The WyoTech Experience" in his hospitality area. The new student enrollees and their parents may have groaned in dismay at Johnson's first round results, but they were waiting for him back in his pit area to let him know how much they appreciated his efforts. "I've got to admit that seeing those people when we got back brightened my day," he said. "It's pretty hard to be down when you've got dozens of people offering you encouragement like that.

"I get the same kind of support from the Snap-on Tools people, and I sometimes wonder if they realize how important that is to our team. They just don't let you get down -- ever. Everyone out here races for a lot of different reasons, but for me, a lot of it is the support we get from our sponsors and fans. It really means a lot.

"I just hope I can give them something to really cheer about in California next weekend."

-credit: sjr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Steve Johnson