Johnson Makes Final Round Appearance In Brainerd: An Impressive Performance From Pro Stock Motorcycle's Most Popular Rider BRAINERD, MN 8/13/06 It may be hard to believe, but after making his first final round appearance of the 2006 NHRA ...
Johnson Makes Final Round Appearance In Brainerd: An Impressive Performance From Pro Stock Motorcycle's Most Popular Rider
BRAINERD, MN 8/13/06 It may be hard to believe, but after making his first final round appearance of the 2006 NHRA POWERade Series season, Snap-on Tools Suzuki rider Steve Johnson of Birmingham, AL was all but speechless. Often irreverent and almost always outspoken, the president of PRO2, the organization that represents his fellow Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors in their dealings with racing's management, turned his season around in Minnesota.
"I can't say enough about the fantastic job my team, and our crew chief, Mark Peiser, did this weekend," Johnson said after losing a tough finale to his good buddy, Antron Brown. "Our Snap-on Tools Suzuki performed well during qualifying, and we definitely got lucky during eliminations, but when it counted the most we ran our two best elapsed times, and that's the kind of results you need if you hope to reach the winners circle.
"Because these motorcycles react so quickly when you let out the clutch it's very easy to redlight and throw a race away with a foul start. I 'pushed' the lights a little in the first round (with a 0.006-second Reaction Time), but we got lucky because Chris (Rivas) redlighted. I backed off a little in the next three rounds because I didn't want to throw this opportunity away, and it paid off.
"I knew Antron (Brown) had a good bike, and I knew he wouldn't make a mistake in the finale. I got the jump on him on the starting line by so little that it didn't even matter. Today he had the better motorcycle, but we're getting there. I think we can run with anyone, so the rest of the season's going to be really exciting for us."
Johnson once again had a busy week, appearing and speaking before a large gathering of WyoTech instructors during their annual meeting in Las Vegas on Wednesday, and then addressing 70 high school instructors in Minnesota on Thursday. On Sunday Johnson was an integral part of Snap-on Tools' "Day At The Races" program, which included 600 Snap-on Tools franchisees and their best customers.
"I love making those appearances, and, as everyone knows, I love talking," Johnson said, "so that wasn't work for me, it was fun. I really get a kick out of talking about the positive aspects of motorsports involvement to the WyoTech folks because they're relatively new to the sport. Being involved with companies like Snap-on Tools and WyoTech is a dream come true for a guy like me."
Johnson won't have much time off, as the series moves to Memphis, TN next weekend, but he'll be ready. "We'll probably spend a couple of hours quietly celebrating reaching the final round here, but then our sites will be set on next weekend. We proved this weekend that we're ready to race anyone, and the best way of proving that is by making it to the winners circle. That's just one step away from where we are now, and I'm hoping we can make that leap next weekend."