A Relaxed Johnson Jr. Aims To Reverse Fortunes At Atlanta Dragway COMMERCE, Ga. (May 10, 2004) - Following the NHRA event at Bristol Dragway the first weekend in May, where Skoal RacingSM Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. posted his best ...
A Relaxed Johnson Jr. Aims To Reverse Fortunes At Atlanta Dragway
COMMERCE, Ga. (May 10, 2004) - Following the NHRA event at Bristol Dragway the first weekend in May, where Skoal RacingSM Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. posted his best elapsed time of the 2004 season (4.799 seconds) and a career-best speed (323.97 mph), the second generation racer and his wife, Melanie, headed south to North Carolina to spend a few days with Johnson's parents and unwind near Charlotte.
Johnson's Mike Green-tuned flopper has made a full pass down the drag strip on nine of its last 10 passes dating back to the Houston event in mid-April. That consistent performance has provided Johnson with a comfort level he hasn't experience in quite some time.
"Bristol showed that Houston wasn't a fluke," Johnson said. "The car is making consistent runs down the track. We know the car is running well. It's performing from track-to-track instead of just one hit-and-miss weekend. I think we can break the jinx at Atlanta this year. I feel like I'm racing the track instead of the other teams at the Southern Nationals.
"Bristol was a little surprising. We knew we were running well, but it surprised us to run a career-best speed at a track with altitude. It's really encouraging to see that speed at a place like Bristol. I'm excited. I can't wait to get to a sea-level track like Chicago. Then we'll really see what this Monte Carlo can do."
A calm Johnson hopes to continue the consistent performance in his Don Prudhomme-owned Funny Car and use that consistent tune-up to advance rounds on race day when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes its only visit to the Peach State, May 13-16, for the 24th running of the Summit Racing Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway in Northern Georgia.
"I'll be honest, Atlanta isn't my favorite track," Johnson said. "Last year was the first year I qualified since I've been driving for Snake. I was upside down in a Top Alcohol Funny Car, and I blew the back half of my dragster apart in 1994. That was pretty spectacular.
"Atlanta has not been one of my better tracks. However, I'm really looking forward to going there. I have a good optimistic feeling about the race. Nothing can go bad forever. We haven't had the best season so far and I think we have an excellent shot to right our luck at Atlanta Dragway this time around."
Johnson's parents and his sister Wendy, who won an NHRA event in the Super Comp category, will attend the Atlanta race hoping to root their family member to a successful finish.
"It's no different when the family is there," Johnson said. "It's certainly nice to have them at the track, but when it comes to racing, that's the last thing on my mind. My family loves drag racing and has been around if for years, and my sister won an NHRA race. I can hang out after the racing is done, but from about 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., it's all racing that I'm thinking about."