Memphis: Steve Johnson final summary

Johnson Singing The Blues In Memphis After First Round Loss MEMPHIS, TN 8/20/06 Last weekend's Lucas Oil Nationals in Minnesota included one happy man in the form of Steve Johnson. His first final round appearance of the 2006 season had the ...

Johnson Singing The Blues In Memphis After First Round Loss

MEMPHIS, TN 8/20/06 Last weekend's Lucas Oil Nationals in Minnesota included one happy man in the form of Steve Johnson. His first final round appearance of the 2006 season had the Birmingham, Alabama rider figuratively singing an upbeat tune. Now, after a tough first round loss in the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals, Johnson is singing the blues, for which Memphis is famous.

"I might be feeling a little down," admitted the popular Snap-on Tools Suzuki handler, "but by tomorrow morning I'll be all smiles again. The U.S. Nationals are just two weeks away, and we're the defending champions.

"Losing to Chip Ellis in the first round was tough, but you've got to hand it to the guy. He had a near-perfect Reaction Time, and that, combined with his motorcycle being a tick quicker than ours, is all it took. It was his day today, just like I hope it'll be ours at Indy."

Johnson acknowledges that a pinch more horsepower is all his Suzuki needs to make it a top contender, and he's hoping that appears in time for the U.S. Nationals. "Right now we're a couple of hundredths of a second from where we want to be, but I've got complete confidence in our team, and our crew chief, Mark Peiser," Johnson said.

Johnson had a somewhat conservative Reaction Time against Ellis of 0.029 seconds, a full two hundredths of second slower, but as he said, "Coming into the race against Chip I knew his bike had been quicker than ours in qualifying, but at the same time I didn't want to throw away our chances by redlighting."

Johnson's team is likely to head to Indianapolis for pre-U.S. Nationals testing early in the week, but in the meantime they'll remain in Memphis to watch the remainder of eliminations tomorrow morning, as the race was rained out before the first round of Pro Stock Motorcycle had even been completed.

"I guess I could say I wish I was one of the guys who still had a first round race," he said, "but the outcome probably would have been the same.

"This just makes me more determined than ever to run hard at Indy."

-credit: ja

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Series NHRA
Drivers Steve Johnson , Chip Ellis