Newlywed Johnson Jr. looks to break winless streak at Pomona Raceway. POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2004) -- After the conclusion of the 2003 NHRA campaign, Tommy Johnson Jr. went into the 2003-04 off season knowing things would be frenzied. The Iowa...
Newlywed Johnson Jr. looks to break winless streak at Pomona Raceway.
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2004) -- After the conclusion of the 2003 NHRA campaign, Tommy Johnson Jr. went into the 2003-04 off season knowing things would be frenzied. The Iowa native and driver of Skoal Racing blue Chevy Funny Car and fiance, fellow nitro-category driver Melanie Troxel, were scheduled to be married on New Years Eve.
"There was sure a lot of stuff to do," Johnson said. "The wedding made the off season go by very quickly. With all the planning, the wedding and the honeymoon, I kept busy. Then it was time to go racing already."
Johnson, one of 13 drivers to have earned victories in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, tied the knot at a small ceremony in Indianapolis on December 31. Following their honeymoon in Hawaii, Johnson headed back to the mainland with one goal in mind, another top 10 finish in his Don Prudhomme-owned flopper and a shot at his first NHRA POWERade Funny Car championship.
Johnson returns his entire blue Skoal Racing team, including crew chief Mike Green, for his fourth season under the Snake Racing umbrella. The Indianapolis resident eyes a fast start when the 2004 NHRA season kicks-off with the 44th annual K&N Filters Winternationals, Feb. 19-22, at historic Pomona Raceway.
"I knew the stability would be big and after testing it was apparent that it made a big difference," Johnson said. "We didn't have to learn a new crew chief and team. We're already into full race mode. We have to make sure we don't fall back into old habits that were no good. The key is to change the things that didn't work."
Johnson has raced to five career NHRA victories, including one while driving for Prudhomme at Las Vegas in 2001. Since that victory in the spring of 2001, Johnson has appeared in six final rounds without a victory. The second generation racer is eager to break the winless drought and collect "Wally" trophy No. six and help Prudhomme inch closer towards the 100 win mark.
"I would just as soon get the win at Pomona," Johnson said. "The two-year drought has been because of certain circumstances, not because we can't do it. I'm confident this team is capable of winning or they wouldn't be here. I don't see any reason we can't start off at Pomona with a win."