Tommy Johnson Jr. Concludes First Test of 2005 Records weekend-best run of 4.779-seconds at career-best speed of 326.89-mph LAS VEGAS (Jan. 24, 2005) -- After being on drag racing hiatus for more than two months, veteran driver Tommy Johnson Jr.
Tommy Johnson Jr. Concludes First Test of 2005
Records weekend-best run of 4.779-seconds at career-best speed of 326.89-mph
LAS VEGAS (Jan. 24, 2005) -- After being on drag racing hiatus for more than two months, veteran driver Tommy Johnson Jr. and Don Prudhomme's Skoal RacingSM Funny Car crew got their feet wet in nitromethane for the first time since the 2004 season-finale last November completing four rigorous days of preseason testing Monday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The test proved to be a success as Johnson made the fastest run of his career.
Johnson posted his best run of the weekend Monday afternoon, clocking a performance of 4.779 seconds at 326.89 mph at the track where he earned his last career victory in April 2001. The five-time NHRA winner opened testing on Friday, Jan. 21 with a few short squirts and a half track pass, before blasting his Mike Green-tuned Chevy Monte Carlo to a pass of 4.810 at 319.82 on Saturday afternoon. The team returned to action on Sunday and raced to a performance of 4.882 at 316.97 before stopping the clocks in 4.785 at 325.69 on Sunday's final run.
"It's nice to have everything come back together," Johnson said. "You always want to set new records, but that's not what we're here to do. We're out here to learn and work out the early-season bugs. We're definitely going forward and learning and the car is running pretty good. We've got a competitive tune-up already and that excites me."
The Nitro Blast Off was scheduled for Jan. 21-23, but crew chief Mike Green felt an extra day of testing would benefit the performance of the race car and provide the team with additional data. Green's assumption proved to be correct as the Skoal Racing team recorded its quickest run of the weekend on Monday afternoon with the 4.779, 326.89 effort. The 326.89-mph speed was the fastest of Johnson's career. He clocked his career-best speed (326.79-mph) during qualifying at the Auto Club Finals last November. The team made 12 runs during the four days of testing.
"We didn't get as much accomplished as we wanted to during the weekend, so we came back out today," Johnson said. "The more runs you can make the better you'll be during the season. We wanted to try a few more things from what we learned throughout the weekend. The car is on the verge of really, really running good. Even though the numbers are pretty decent, there's still more there. The car was charging really hard. I could tell it was on a good run by how hard it was pulling. I haven't fought the car that hard in a long time.
"Our biggest accomplishment this weekend has been our 1/8-mile numbers. We've really increased our half track performance. We evaluated everything over the winter and came out with a new game plan. Now, we'd like to run a little better to the 330-foot mark. We have to continue to work on our early numbers and then the E.T. should drop even more."
Johnson and the Skoal Racing team will continue their preparation for the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series opener, Feb. 10-13, at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway when preseason testing heads to the Valley of the Sun, Jan. 28-31, for the annual National Time Trials at Firebird International Raceway near Phoenix.