A CONFIDENT JOHNSON AIMS FOR ROUND WINS AT PHOENIX CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 20, 2006) -- For the past few seasons, if you bumped in to Skoal RacingSM Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. at an NHRA race, you'd generally find him wearing a beaming...
A CONFIDENT JOHNSON AIMS FOR ROUND WINS AT PHOENIX
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Feb. 20, 2006) -- For the past few seasons, if you bumped in to Skoal RacingSM Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. at an NHRA race, you'd generally find him wearing a beaming smile on his face. Driving an 8,000 horsepower Funny Car for racing icon Don "the Snake" Prudhomme is the stuff dreams are made of. The veteran driver is still the same jovial guy these days, but for a different reason, the strong performance of his Mike Green-tuned Chevy Funny Car.
Last year, the six-time NHRA winner drove to a career-bes! t finish in the challenging Funny Car division, setting career-best performance numbers multiple times during the season. At the 2006 season-opener two weeks ago in Pomona, Calif., Johnson continued that trend, qualifying his Skoal Racing car in the No. 2 position at the Winternationals after posting the second quickest run of his career, 4.710-seconds.
With a strong crew of mechanics behind him and the utmost confidence in his race car, the Iowa native aims to maintain that quick, consistent performance when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series heads to the Valley of the Sun, Feb. 24-26, at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix.
"Even though we didn't win at Pomona, my confidence level didn't waver," Johnson said. "Having such a strong car and a familiar group of guys on my team, my confidence doesn't waver like it used to. It helps going into! each race knowing you can win. I don't think we can win a race anymor e, I think we can win the championship; we have that good of a team."
After losing his first qualifying attempt at the Winternationals due to a timing malfunction, Johnson drove the Skoal Racing Monte Carlo to 4.745 and 4.710-second passes to conclude qualifying. Those were the second quickest elapsed times of the final two qualifying sessions. With such a strong showing during qualifying, an early exit due to a rare mechanical failure left the veteran nitromethane pilot disappointed, but not disheartened.
"After a No. 2 qualifying effort at Pomona (Calif.) and a few good, solid runs, I think we have a really competitive race car," Johnson said. "Now, it's just a matter of time until we can get a win. If it wasn't for a dropped cylinder, which is unusual, I think we might have been right there. We need to put that behind us and go out and do it at Pho! enix. I know we can. Last year, we won our first race and didn't win the rest of the year. I'll sacrifice the first race for a lot more wins during the season."