JOHNSON JR. QUALIFIES SIXTH AT MEMPHIS MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Aug. 19, 2006) Tommy Johnson, Jr. continued to pilot a solid Skoal RacingSM Funny Car at Memphis Motorsports Park as the Iowa native raced his Chevy to the No. 6 qualifying position on...
JOHNSON JR. QUALIFIES SIXTH AT MEMPHIS
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (Aug. 19, 2006) Tommy Johnson, Jr. continued to pilot a solid Skoal RacingSM Funny Car at Memphis Motorsports Park as the Iowa native raced his Chevy to the No. 6 qualifying position on Saturday evening with a qualifying-best 4.907-second elapsed time.
Coming off his second victory of the 2006 NHRA season, Johnson and Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing team posted just one qualifying attempt on Friday after Mother Nature shortened the opening day of qualifying for the 19th annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals with a lengthy afternoon rain shower. The eight-time NHRA winner blasted his special edition Monte Carlo to a performance of 4.907 seconds at 305.08 mph late Friday evening to card the fourth quickest pass of the opening day of qualifying at a hot Memphis race.
Johnson, a two-time winner (1994, '99) at Memphis Motorsports Park, opened the second day of qualifying on a 126-degree race track by driving his Mike Green-tuned Chevy to a run of 5.079 at 268.92 mph, the third quickest attempt of the round. Only one driver (John Force) posted a 4-second pass during Saturday's first qualifying session. Johnson's silver-and-blue Chevy lost traction on its final qualifying attempt as he finished sixth in the 16-car field. It is the second time that Johnson has qualified sixth this season and 20th time in his career that he will start from the No. 6 spot. Johnson qualified third at Memphis last August en route to a semifinal f! inish.
Qualifying for the 2006 Skoal Showdown, which will be staged on Sunday, Sept. 3, at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis during the 52nd running of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, was concluded Saturday at Memphis. The eight-car field for the $100,000 bonus event has been set and Johnson finished fifth in the Skoal Showdown order, while 2005 NHRA Rookie of the Year Robert Hight earned the No. 1 position.
"We made two good runs on our first two passes and that allowed us to go for it on our last run," Johnson said. "We were just too aggressive and the track wouldn't hold it. We have a solid race car. We went down the track in the heat today and it's going to be a hot track tomorrow. I think we have one of the cars to beat."
Johnson will battle veteran flopper pilot Whit Bazemore in the first round of Funny Car eliminations, which kick-off at 3 p.m. (CT) on Sunday afternoon at the Memphis track. He is 10-13 versus Bazemore in his career.