JOHNSON JR. LOOKS FOR STRONG PERFORMANCE IN FRONT OF FAMILY MEMBERS APRIL 24, 2006 (BRISTOL, Tenn.) - All racers have a track which they refer to as their "home track." For Skoal RacingSM Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr., in his early days in...
JOHNSON JR. LOOKS FOR STRONG PERFORMANCE IN FRONT OF FAMILY MEMBERS
APRIL 24, 2006 (BRISTOL, Tenn.) - All racers have a track which they refer to as their "home track." For Skoal RacingSM Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr., in his early days in drag racing when he called Iowa home, that track was Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. These days, the Avon, Ind. resident lives just a few miles away from arguably the world's most storied drag strip, Indianapolis Raceway Park.
At the same time, the NHRA pros have a track or tracks along the 23-race circuit that qualify as a "home away from home." Perhaps a driver has experienced much success at one facility or in Johnson's case, many of his family members live just a few hours away from Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway in nearby Charlotte, making the Bristol/Atlanta two-race swing a homecoming of sorts for the seven-time NHRA winner.
"Bristol is a good race, I like going there," Johnson said. "It's one of my favorites. I've been racing there for a long time. I won the race in (Top) Alcohol Funny Car in 1987. My parents, my sister and her husband and my aunt will all be there. Mel's (wife, Melanie Troxel) mom will be there too. It will be nice to see all the family and I'm excited to see if we can pull off that double win with all the family there."
Johnson enters the sixth running of the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals, April 28-30 at Bristol Dragway, ranked third in the NHRA Funny Car standings after driving his Mike Green-tuned Monte Carlo flopper to the victory at Phoenix in February. Johnson, one of 13 drivers to have earned victories in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, is coming off of a semifinal finish three weeks ago in Las Vegas as the veteran racer looks to continue his charge toward the top of the Funny Car standings.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to the rack track after the break," Johnson said. "After getting the car back on track at Las Vegas and getting a better handle on the new tire, we're back to running like we were on the old tire and that gives me confidence going into every race."
Bristol can help deliver a dream weekend to the seasoned nitro driver if he happens to be the last man standing with the "Wally" trophy in his possession in front of his family, which could lead to Johnson having a new favorite "home away from home."