JOHNSON JR. AIMS TO GAIN GROUND ON LEADERS AT ATLANTA DRAGWAY COMMERCE, Ga. (May 1, 2006) -- While the two drivers ahead of him in the NHRA Funny Car standings are off to scorching starts to the 2006 NHRA season, Skoal RacingSM Funny Car pilot...
JOHNSON JR. AIMS TO GAIN GROUND ON LEADERS AT ATLANTA DRAGWAY
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 1, 2006) -- While the two drivers ahead of him in the NHRA Funny Car standings are off to scorching starts to the 2006 NHRA season, Skoal RacingSM Funny Car pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. quietly has his Chevy flopper ranked third in the POWERade Funny Car standings following the first six races of the season.
Following his win at Phoenix in February, the seventh of Johnson's career, the Skoal Racing team is back in form after struggling to adapt to the new Goodyear 2420 tire that was mandated in March. Johnson has qualified fifth at the past two events as he looks to return to the money round when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes its annual spring visit to Georgia for the 26th annual Summit Racing Southern Nationals, May 4-7, at Atlanta Dragway in Northern Georgia.
"I feel confident going into Atlanta this season; perennially, this hasn't been my favorite track," Johnson said. "Over the last two races, during both qualifying and eliminations, we've had a top three car for most every session. We've got a great running car, now if we can get a couple of breaks and pick away at the tune-up of this Skoal Racing Monte Carlo, we're going to be one of those cars that contends for the win every week."
Johnson, who has collected victories in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, has long been known as one of the preeminent drivers in the nitro ranks. The veteran driver led the Funny Car division in average reaction time one season ago, and with an assured, seasoned crew chief like Mike Green calling the shots on his 8,000 horsepower Funny Car, Johnson knows that the Skoal Racing team will hit a hot spell, which he hopes will vault his crew back into contention for the 2006 NHRA championship.
"We have to continue to maintain our position," Johnson said. "Everyone runs well from time-to-time and both of the cars ahead of us have been running great all season long. We have to hope that they struggle while we continue to do what we're doing and improve just a bit. We can't get caught up in what they're doing. It's a long season and I'm not writing things off just yet."
The 23-race NHRA season is indeed a marathon, not a sprint, and with 17 races and 68 rounds of eliminations remaining, there's plenty of high-speed, 300-mph competition to be completed before the 2006 champion is crowned on November 12 in Pomona, Calif.