JOHNSON JR. EYES STRONG FINISH TO FIRST HALF OF 2006 SEASON MADISON, Ill. (June 20, 2006) The first half of the 2006 NHRA season has gone pretty well for seven-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson Jr. and his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Skoal ...
JOHNSON JR. EYES STRONG FINISH TO FIRST HALF OF 2006 SEASON
MADISON, Ill. (June 20, 2006) The first half of the 2006 NHRA season has gone pretty well for seven-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson Jr. and his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Skoal RacingSM team. The ve! teran nitro pilot raced to his seventh career victory this February and clocked a career-best elapsed time (4.672-seconds) in June en route to his sixth place ranking in NHRA's harsh Funny Car division.
While the always-cheerful Johnson is pleased with the current performance of his 8,000 horsepower, nitro-burning race car, he knows there's always room for improvement. Entering the 12th race of the 2006 NHRA season, the 10th annual O'Reilly Midwest Nationals, June 23-25, at Gateway International Raceway near St. Louis, the Iowa native is keen on continuing his recent strong performance and moving his Skoal Racing team into the top five of the points standings before the NHRA schedule offers a two-week break prior to the grueling Western Swing.
"We're coming off a lot of momentum," Johnson said. "Even though we didn't have a stellar performance last weekend, we went to the semifinals and that gives me a lot of confidence knowing that we can go rounds. We're going to run the old car right out of the box and test the new chassis some more before we race it. I expect to qualify in the top three or four on Friday night, and my goal is to be in the top five of the standings after the St. Louis race. We're only eight points away; I know we can do it."
Last weekend's race in New Jersey offered up a challenging riddle for both the drivers and crew chiefs as the June temperatures reached into the 90s with the sizzling track temperatures creeping into the mid-120-degree range. And while race fans didn't see blistering 4.7-second elapsed times and 325-mph speeds, they witnessed competitive drag racing under very difficult conditions. If the typical sweltering summer heat of St. Louis comes as expected, last weekend's Englishtown test will prove to have been a nice precursor for even better 300-mph racing near the Gateway City.
"Englishtown (N.J.) was a good warm-up for what's yet to come at St. Louis and this summer," Johnson said. "It helped the crew chiefs tune the race cars in some difficult conditions. They got some good practice on a hot race track. Even though it will be warm, I know we can still get down the track and put on a good show for the St. Louis fans. Plus, having a night event should help track conditions and let us get down the track even better."