JOHNSON JR. EXCITED TO KICK OFF SECOND HALF OF 2006 NHRA SEASON MORRISON, Colo. (July 10, 2006) -- While only using just a few days of his summer vacation to rest, relax and escape the drag racing grind, seven-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson Jr....
JOHNSON JR. EXCITED TO KICK OFF SECOND HALF OF 2006 NHRA SEASON
MORRISON, Colo. (July 10, 2006) -- While only using just a few days of his summer vacation to rest, relax and escape the drag racing grind, seven-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson Jr. is excited to get away from all the action away the race track and return to normalcy. For Johnson, that's the comfort of the friendly confines of the race track and his Skoal RacingSM pit.
"I'm ready to go racing," Johnson said. "The few weeks off seem to be more work than it should be, so I'm looking forward to getting back to the race track."
After spending a few days in Los Angeles with his high-speed racing wife, Melanie Troxel, partaking in the pomp and circumstance surrounding ESPN's annual ESPY awards, which will air on Sunday, July 16, the veteran nitro pilot and third quickest Funny Car driver in NHRA history (4.672 seconds) returns to the site of his first career final round appearance (Top Fuel -- 1991), Bandimere Speedway, July 14-16 for the 27th annual Mile-High Nationals.
"I've always done well at Denver," Johnson said. "The car is running really well and I think we've got a great shot to start the Western Swing off with a win. I've raced there for so many years, that place is kind of special to me. I've been going there since, I think, 1984. It's a beautiful track and I always enjoy visiting."
While it's arguably the most scenic venue of the 21 tracks on the NHRA circuit, the famed Colorado drag strip presents many challenges to both crew chiefs and drivers. The combination of the track's 5,860-foot elevation and the warm July temperatures, makes getting the world's fastest accelerating vehicles from point A to point B in the quickest time quite demanding. Crew chiefs must make drastic changes to the tune-up of the 8,000 horsepower nitromethane-burning race cars for the Denver race, while the racers have to be more attentive to maneuver their 300-mph beasts down the 1,320-foot course.
"It's harder as a driver because the downforce isn't as good and the car wants to move around a little more than normal," Johnson said. "It's slower in the car because of the reduced performance, but it can be a challenge because the car wants to move around and spin the tires, so you have to be ready to grab the break and pedal the car."