JOHNSON JR. DRIVES TO ROUND-TWO FINISH SUNDAY AT BRISTOL BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 1, 2005) -- Tommy Johnson Jr. raced his Skoal RacingSM Chevy Funny Car to a win over points leader Whit Bazemore en route to a second-round finish Sunday at Bristol ...
JOHNSON JR. DRIVES TO ROUND-TWO FINISH SUNDAY AT BRISTOL
BRISTOL, Tenn. (May 1, 2005) -- Tommy Johnson Jr. raced his Skoal RacingSM Chevy Funny Car to a win over points leader Whit Bazemore en route to a second-round finish Sunday at Bristol Dragway.
Johnson qualified sixth in a rain-shorted weekend of qualifying making just one of four scheduled qualifying attempts due to persistent rain showers in the area. The six-time NHRA winner used a performance of 4.913 seconds at 316.08 mph to earn the victory over Bazemore, who qualified 11th this weekend at Thunder Valley. Johnson's 4.913 elapsed time was the third quickest E.T. of the first round.
"We were the first pair of Funny Cars to run, so we just wanted to go down the track," Johnson said. "It was a nice conservative run. We just wanted to get it through there. The car was smooth and I was glad to see a good run. It's important to win the first round."
Johnson used a slight starting line advantage to stake to the early lead over veteran nitro driver Gary Scelzi in the second round, before Johnson's Chevy flopper lost traction mid-track allowing the three-time NHRA Top Fuel champion to earn the narrow win at the 1,320-foot finish line.
"We knew he'd (Gary Scelzi) be tough," Johnson said. "The car just came loose a little bit about 500-feet into the run. I pedaled it and stayed on it, but we came up just short. His tires came loose about 100-feet further down track and that was the difference. That extra momentum carried him through there. We needed about an extra 100-feet. If the drag strip was 1,420-feet long, we would have won.
"That was a tough race to lose because we had an excellent chance to make up some ground in the standings with the top three guys in the points going out early."
Johnson remains solidly in the top 10 of the POWERade Funny Car standings in sixth position. He also sits seventh in the Skoal Showdown standings. The eight-car bonus event will be contested at the 51st annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis.
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 26th annual Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals, May 12-15, at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. Johnson and Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Funny Car team will test at Bristol Dragway on Monday, May 2, before returning to the team's Brownsburg, Ind. race shop to gear up for the first three-race swing on the 2005 NHRA schedule that begins in two weeks in Georgia.