JOHNSON JR. QUALIFIES FIFTH AT BRAINERD; SECURES STARTING SPOT IN SKOAL SHOWDOWN BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12, 2006) - Tommy Johnson, Jr. and his Skoal RacingSM Funny Car team are back on track after the veteran nitro pilot raced to the No. 5 ...
JOHNSON JR. QUALIFIES FIFTH AT BRAINERD; SECURES STARTING SPOT IN SKOAL SHOWDOWN
BRAINERD, Minn. (Aug. 12, 2006) - Tommy Johnson, Jr. and his Skoal RacingSM Funny Car team are back on track after the veteran nitro pilot raced to the No. 5 qualifying position Saturday at Brainerd International Raceway. The Iowa native made four consistent passes during qualifying with his quickest time comin! g Friday evening at 4.796-seconds.
The seven-time NHRA winner and one of 13 drivers to have earned wins in both nitro categories used two solid passes on Friday to finish third in the 16-car flopper order after carding the third quickest elapsed time of the day with his 4.796-second, 321.19-mph effort.
After securing a solid placing in the Funny Car order, the Mike Green-led crew decided to test some new parts and pieces on the silver-and-blue Skoal Racing Chevy on Saturday. Johnson raced his Monte Carlo to a pass of 4.846 at 312.86 on Saturday's first attempt positioning him fifth in the field. On his fourth and final qualifying run, Johnson raced to the third quickest time of the last session, stopping the B.I.R. timers in 4.810 at 321.27. It marks the third time that Johnson has qualified fifth this season.
"I thought we'd have a good car coming in here and our goal was to improve on our qualifying from the past two races," Johnson said. "We got our car solidly in the show yesterday, and that allowed us to test some things today. I liked what I saw. I think this will make us a more consistent race car. This is the best qualifying performance we've had going into Sunday in a long time."
With the solid showing, the Skoal Racing team secured a spot in the Skoal Showdown bonus event, which will be contested on Sunday, Sept. 3, during the 52nd running of the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis. The winner of the special race-within-a-race earns a $100,000 bonus. With one race left to earn bonus points, Johnson sits fifth in the Skoal Showdown standings, just 20 points behind fourth place racer Gary Scelzi.
"Getting into the Skoal Showdown is as big for us as winning races," Johnson said. "Since we're representing Skoal, it's important for us to make the Showdown. Now, this takes pressure off of us going into Memphis next weekend. We've got a good car heading into Indy. I'm excited for the Showdown."
Johnson will face off against No. 12 qualifier and veteran Funny Car racer Gary Densham in the first round of flopper eliminations on Sunday morning at B.I.R. Johnson is 9-9 in his career versus the former teacher.