JOHNSON JR. SITS 10TH WITH TWO SESSIONS REMAINING AT PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 24, 2006) - After racing to the second quickest pass of his career (4.710 seconds) two weeks ago at the 2006 NHRA season-opener in Pomona, Calif., six-time...
JOHNSON JR. SITS 10TH WITH TWO SESSIONS REMAINING AT PHOENIX
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 24, 2006) - After racing to the second quickest pass of his career (4.710 seconds) two weeks ago at the 2006 NHRA season-opener in Pomona, Calif., six-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson Jr. recorded a pass of 4.780 seconds Friday at Firebird International Raceway to place Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Funny Car in the No. 10 qualifying position.
The Iowa native used a tune-up from crew chief Mike Green to power the Skoal Racing Chevy flopper to a 4.780-second, 315.71-mph opening effort to place him third in the 16-car order after the first of four scheduled qualifying sessions.
"That was a conservative tune-up on the first run," Johnson said. "We just wanted a nice baseline run before the night session. It was really soft early, but it picked up in the middle of the track. It actually came loose on the top end and we lost at least two hundredths (of-a-second) when it spun the tires."
Under the Firebird Raceway lights, Johnson powered the Skoal Racing ha ha coupe to a 4.834-second pass. Johnson posted a half-track (660-feet) speed of more than 268-mph, and had the second quickest 1000-foot elapsed time (4.023 seconds) of the session. The veteran driver had to let off the throttle before the 900-foot mark on the track as his Funny Car made a hard move to the left nearing the retaining wall.
"It's just really frustrating because we would have been number one," Johnson said. "The car got out of the groove and made a move to the right, so I corrected to the left. Then I corrected back to the right and it just pulled me left. I lifted before 900 feet. I drove it as far as possible or it would have hit the wall.
"We know we have a really good race car. We can go out there on Saturday and run better than a 4.75 and get into the top half of the field."
The Skoal Racing team will continue qualifying for the 22nd annual CSK nationals at noon and 3:30 p.m. (MT) on Saturday at the Phoenix track.