ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 15, 2004) - The Big Apple can be quite imposing for any first time visitor. However, five-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson's maiden voyage to 'The City That Never Sleeps' left him with a lifelong memory. A few days prior...
ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. (June 15, 2004) - The Big Apple can be quite imposing for any first time visitor. However, five-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson's maiden voyage to 'The City That Never Sleeps' left him with a lifelong memory.
A few days prior to the annual race at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, about 35 miles south of Manhattan, Johnson and then fiancee Melanie Troxel were strolling through the city and decided to stop by the Ed Sullivan Theater where they were chosen to watch a taping of The Late Show with David Letterman. Unexpectedly, the drag racing duo became part of the show as Troxel was chosen to play 'Know Your Current Events' with the famed host.
"Last year was our first time in New York City and we were standing in line for The Late Show with David Letterman and Melanie (Troxel) got on there and played 'Know Your Current Events' with Dave (Letterman) and she won a free dinner at Ben Benson's Steakhouse," Johnson said. "This time, we'll tour New York city a few days before the race at Englishtown and just get away for a couple days. We're going to go to dinner and then catch a Broadway show. We've got tickets for Chicago. I'm looking forward to seeing some more of New York City. It's great that our sport can race near that market."
The NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is the only major motor sport that competes in the New York City-area, and has done so for more than three decades. The 35th annual K&N Filters SuperNationals will be held June 17-20 at the celebrated drag strip in New Jersey.
The event, formerly known as the Summernationals, will be held a month later this season following a change to the NHRA schedule and should present the drivers and crew chiefs with more difficult race conditions as it's likely to be hot and humid, rather than cool and overcast, which was the norm the past few years at Raceway Park.
"It's going to be a challenge this year because we're running during a different time of the year than the past few seasons," Johnson said. "I expect it to be a lot hotter and more humid this time around. Recently, it's been rainy and cool, which makes for great E.T.s. This year, it will be more of who can get down the race track. It can be brutally hot at Englishtown. I raced there in Top Alcohol Funny Car in 1988, and that's the hottest I've ever been inside a race car. Being in pretty good shape and in my 30s should give me an edge."