Tommy Johnson Jr. Drives Chevy Impala SS Funny Car to Provisional Pole at Englishtown Skoal Racing Chevy Impala SS Runs Quickest Times in Each Qualifying Session ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., June 22, 2007 - Tommy Johnson's Skoal Racing Chevy Impala SS ...
Tommy Johnson Jr. Drives Chevy Impala SS Funny Car to Provisional Pole at
Skoal Racing Chevy Impala SS Runs Quickest Times in Each Qualifying Session
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., June 22, 2007 - Tommy Johnson's Skoal Racing Chevy Impala SS posted the quickest runs in each of today's Funny Car qualifying sessions allowing the Avon, Ind., resident to stake a solid claim to the provisional pole for Sunday's 38th annual ProCare Rx NHRA Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Johnson's Chevrolet ran a track-record 4.729 seconds at 321.96 mph to take the No. 1 spot with two rounds of time trials remaining on Saturday.
"When we won Brainerd (Minn.) last year, we came out of the box and ran well and just continued to run well all weekend," said Johnson. "To me, this has that feeling, shades of Brainerd when we found something and ran it on through to the win. We've struggled all through the year but we've worked hard and figured those problems out, and at Joliet (Ill.) it saw signs of life. We tested on Monday and saw even bigger things and I was really confident coming here that our Skoal Racing Chevy Impala was going to run this good. I'm not really surprised, but yet, pleasantly surprised.
"I think the first-session run was a bigger emotion changer for us. To come out of the box and run .12 (12 hundredths) better than No. 2 in the first session, I haven't seen that many smiles in our pits in a long time. That was big, and then to come out and back it up the next run, the guys, they needed that. It couldn't have come at a more opportune time, especially since we're an hour-and-a-half away from the corporate headquarters of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco. We have the chairman of the board here today and we couldn't have picked a better time."
In the first round of qualifying today, Johnson's Chevy Impala ran 4.775 seconds at 315.93 mph to lead the Funny Car field. In tonight's second session, the 37-year-old Johnson took advantage of the cooler air temperatures to run the low qualifying number. If it holds out through tomorrow, it would be Johnson's eighth career No. 1 qualifying award, his first ever at this venue and his first since last September's Toyo Tires Nationals in Reading, Pa. Earlier this year, Johnson debuted the new Chevy Impala SS Funny Car at the season's opening event at Pomona, Calif.
"It's been unfortunate that we haven't utilized the body to its fullest," said Johnson. "The Impala body is superior to anything we've ever had, and I was excited about it, but we've had struggles in the clutch department, and we weren't able to utilize how good that body was. Now we've got our problems solved - I think we'll make that body shine. The Impala is going to show how good it is now. I think that first run today might have showed how good it is. While a lot of guys were smoking the tires that thing allowed us to go down through there - body and some timing adjustments."
Qualifying coverage of the ProCare Rx NHRA SuperNationals will be telecast on ESPN2 on Saturday, June 23, beginning at 11 p.m. Eastern. NHRA Race Day will kick off eliminator coverage on June 24 starting at 11 a.m. Eastern on ESPN2, and a three-hour telecast of final eliminations will start at 10 p.m. Eastern.
-credit: gm racing