Pomona 2: Tommy Johnson ready

Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Race, July 5-7, at Pomona, Calif.  First mid-summer race held at Pomona Raceway. POMONA RACEWAY HISTORY: He was No. 1 qualifier at the Winternationals in February.  He advanced to the semifinals at the ...

Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Race, July 5-7, at Pomona, Calif.  First mid-summer race held at Pomona Raceway.

POMONA RACEWAY HISTORY:

He was No. 1 qualifier at the Winternationals in February.  He advanced to the semifinals at the Winternationals in 1993 and 1996.

STANDING:

Eighth place, 602 points after 12 of 24 NHRA Winston Series events.

LOOKING AHEAD TO ANNIVERSARY NATIONALS:

"I'd like to put something with the No. 1 qualifying position I got at the Winternationals, and the 50th Anniversary trophy is just the thing," Johnson commented.  "I'm looking forward to racing at Pomona again.  This time the track has been resurfaced so hopefully it will be a two-lane racetrack. It will be different because we've never raced there this time of year.

"If you are going to put yourself in the history book, you might as well win the 50th Anniversary race. I won't be back for the 100th.  We need to make a winning charge here soon so we can move up in points.  We might as well start it at Pomona."

A LOOK AT SEASON'S FIRST 12 RACES:

"My first response would be I'm not happy with the first half of the season.  But at the same time, if you realistically take a step back and look where we are, you have to be pretty happy with it.  As tough as Funny Car (competition) is, you can't be too disappointed because we have both cars in the top 10 and Ron Capps and I have already won races.

"But on a personal level, I think we could've done better."

"Coming out of the box at the first race with a brand new team and being No. 1 qualifier was a high point, but winning at Las Vegas (April 8) was probably the best week in drag racing that I've had.  But then we went downhill from there until we were runner-up at St. Louis (Madison, Ill., June 24).

"Our success early in the year teased us.  We thought we weren't going to have first-year blues, but we did and we made some changes to build this into a better team.  We are a better team now than what we were in the beginning, it's just that the results aren't showing yet."

FIRST HALF HIGH POINTS AND SURPRISES:

"The high point is just making the Funny Car field," Johnson pointed out.  "If we can continue to do that and win some rounds, I'm hoping to get at least one, two or three more wins before the year is over.

"I've been surprised at how many Funny Car teams are tough.  Overall, Funny Car is very competitive right now. It's the toughest class out there. If you're going to win the championship this year, you'll earn it.  It's not going to be given to you.

"It seems like everybody has run career-best times.  That also shows how tough Funny Car really is."

LOOKING BACK AT SEARS CRAFTSMAN NATIONALS:

The Skoal Racing Blue Camaro wasn't the quickest of the weekend, but it was one of the most consistent in qualifying and on race day. Johnson battled his way to the finals before losing to Tony Pedregon.

Johnson qualified eighth (4.905 seconds).  All eight of his runs were competitive, with his slowest 5.029 seconds.  Not only that, but he beat pacesetting John Force in the semifinals (4.998 at 296.31 to 5.030 at 291.32), ending Force's streak of successive final-round appearances at four. In the final, Pedregon left first and won with a 5.006 to a 4.989.

-Snake Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Tommy Johnson