ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 21, 2004) - With 18 events completed and just five remaining on the 2004 NHRA POWERade Series schedule, it can be difficult for those drivers not competing for a championship to get motivated to compete and go to the race...
ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 21, 2004) - With 18 events completed and just five remaining on the 2004 NHRA POWERade Series schedule, it can be difficult for those drivers not competing for a championship to get motivated to compete and go to the race track, but not Skoal RacingSM Funny Car driver Tommy Johnson Jr. Having spent his entire life around quarter-mile racing, there aren't many things the Iowa native would rather be doing than driving his Don Prudhomme-owned Funny Car.
"You do this because you love doing it," Johnson said. "I'm not here for the money or the points. You do it because you love drag racing. It doesn't take a lot to motivate me to go drag racing. Any day I can go to the track and drive a race car, is motivation enough for me. I always look forward to going to the next race. I'm always ready to race, whether it's for the championship or at a local bracket race."
The five-time NHRA winner aims for his first career victory at Billy Meyer's Texas Motorplex, Sept. 23-26, when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes its final 2004 visit to the Lone Star State for the 19th running of the O'Reilly Fall Nationals. The Texas Motorplex features the only all-concrete quarter mile on the NHRA tour and is known for its fast times and blistering performances.
The Dallas event is the second of three-consecutive weeks on the road and at this junction of the season, it's very common for a driver and his team of talented mechanics to be a bit weary from all the time away from home during the racing season.
"Part of me is a little burned out and another part of me is dreading the end of the season," Johnson said. "I don't like the off season. I like a few weeks off and then I'm ready to go racing again. I don't have a whole lot of hobbies and racing is what excites me. So, when I'm not racing, I get grumpy. I love drag racing."
Perhaps with a solid performance from veteran tuner Mike Green and some luck on race day, Johnson can convert his motivation and passion for the sport into a trip to the winner's circle at the Texas Motorplex and a sixth career NHRA victory as car owner Prudhomme seeks his 100th career win.