JOHNSON EYES STRONG FINISH TO WESTERN SWING AS NHRA CIRCUIT ROLLS INTO SONOMA SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2005) -- It's a rare moment when you bump into Tommy Johnson Jr. and he's not wearing a smile from ear-to-ear. After driving his Skoal ...
JOHNSON EYES STRONG FINISH TO WESTERN SWING AS NHRA CIRCUIT ROLLS INTO SONOMA
SONOMA, Calif. (July 26, 2005) -- It's a rare moment when you bump into Tommy Johnson Jr. and he's not wearing a smile from ear-to-ear. After driving his Skoal RacingSM Chevy Monte Carlo to a semifinal finish at the Seattle event on July 24, the veteran NHRA competitor has reason to smile due to the strong showing of his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned flopper this season.
Johnson, who ranks fifth in the competitive NHRA Funny Car division, hopes to see his name move up a slot in the Funny Car standings when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series completes the exhausting 'Western Swing,' July 29-31, at the Bruton Smith-owned Infineon Raceway. Johnson enters the race 38 points from the No. 4 position. Another goal of the team is to maintain their strong qualifying performance and secure a slot in the lucrative Skoal Showdown bonus event that will be contested Labor Day Weekend during the historic Mac Tools U.S. Nationals and awards the winner a $100,000 bonus. A strong qualifying outing at Sonoma almost guarantees Johnson's place in the special bonus race for the top eight ! Funny Cars.
"I'm excited to continue the pace that we're on," Johnson said. "We went to the second round at Denver and the semis at Seattle, so hopefully we can make it to the finals at Sonoma this weekend.
"The Western Swing is rough on everybody, but when your car is running well like ours is, it sure makes the swing a lot easier. I think that we've proven to everybody that we've got a solid top five race car, now we just have to keep running strong and continue to go rounds on race day."
With nine races remaining on the 23-race schedule, Johnson and the Skoal Racing crew sit nine rounds of racing behind top-ranked driver Robert Hight as Johnson hopes to contend for his first NHRA title. Whether the team accomplishes that arduous task remains a question mark, but one thing you can count on is that when you see T.J. at the race track, he'll probably have a happy grin on his face.
T.J. Talks Sonoma...
What do you like most about Infineon Raceway?
That Bruton Smith owns it and the quality of his facilities are the best on the circuit.
What is your favorite memory from Infineon Raceway?
I would have to say when I was the No. 1 qualifier at Sonoma in Top Fuel in 1994.
What is your favorite Sonoma-area restaurant?
I like both Scoma's at Fisherman's Wharf and Sushi Todai For near our hotel in San Rafael.
What do you like most about the Sonoma area?
It's a pretty area with a lot to do from the wineries to San Francisco.
When you hear 'Infineon Raceway' the first thing that comes to mind is?
A Bruton Smith track.