A Determined Johnson Jr. Aims To Right Ship at Heartland Park TOPEKA, Kan. (May 26, 2004) - Any athlete that has not yet reached their full potential becomes more determined to succeed. There is no driver or crew on the NHRA circuit more ...
A Determined Johnson Jr. Aims To Right Ship at Heartland Park
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 26, 2004) - Any athlete that has not yet reached their full potential becomes more determined to succeed. There is no driver or crew on the NHRA circuit more focused on achieving success than Tommy Johnson Jr. and the blue Skoal Racing Funny Car crew.
In spite of a disappointing performance this past weekend near Chicago, crew chief Mike Green and the crew didn't dwell on the fact that they lost a qualifying run due to rain and faced difficult weather conditions the entire weekend. They switched to a different chassis on Sunday and made three test laps at Route 66 Raceway on Monday preparing the car for the coming weeks.
"We pulled out a new car and ran 4.78 on the first pass," Johnson said. "The other chassis is 18 months old and the cockpit is even older. It's a little different chassis design that we're running now. I like this car better. This car was designed for me and I'm a lot more comfortable in the car."
Not only did Johnson make three test runs in his Skoal Racing Chevy on Monday, but three passes in the green Skoal Racing flopper of Ron Capps. Both the green and blue Skoal Racing crews kept plenty busy Monday, determined to right the ship and land on the island of success known as the winner's circle.
"You can't believe how busy it keeps you," Johnson said. "Making runs isn't a big deal. But coordinating to warm up each car and then making a run and then going back to the starting line to make a pass in the other car has me constantly doing something. I love driving race cars. It's a dream to make this many runs in a Funny Car. I made six runs during testing. It doesn't get any better than hot lapping a fuel car. I've done eight passes in one day before, that's the most for me."
Johnson hopes he can hot lap his blue Skoal Racing Chevy Funny Car four times this Sunday when the NHRA races at Heartland Park Topeka, May 27-30, for the 16th annual O'Reilly Summer Nationals.
"You gain a lot of feedback when you test, and it sharpens your driving skills," Johnson said. "Normally, you go out and make a pass and have to wait three hours or until the next day before you run again. When you test, you can make six passes in one day. You're able to get information and gain a better feel for the car. This is the only way to practice in this sport, by making runs. The more runs you make, the better you get. The crew guys would hate me, but I'd do this four or five days in a row if we could."
The blue Skoal Racing crew wouldn't mind one bit if Johnson had to make four passes on Sunday afternoon at Heartland Park, a track where he entered the Cragar 4-Second Club on Sept. 29, 1990.
"I got in the 4-Second Club at Topeka," Johnson said. "It used to be like my home track when I lived in Iowa. I've been to the finals there before and I set the Top Fuel speed mark in 1994. It's been a good place for me and right now we need a good place."