JOHNSON JR. DRIVES TO FIRST-ROUND FINISH AT U.S. NATIONALS CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 5, 2005) & ...
JOHNSON JR. DRIVES TO FIRST-ROUND FINISH AT U.S. NATIONALS
CLERMONT, Ind. (Sept. 5, 2005) After driving his Skoal RacingSM Chevy Funny Car to the second quickest run of his career (4.748 seconds) during qualifying for the 51st annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals, veteran nitromethane pilot Tommy Johnson Jr. drove t! o a round one finish Sunday at Indianapolis Raceway Park.
The Iowa native blasted his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Monte Carlo to the No. 5 qualifying spot after clocking a 4.748-second effort on Friday evening at the storied Indiana drag strip to earn lane choice in his opening round match-up with Bob Gilbertson. Johnson used the second best reaction time of the first round of Funny Car eliminations (.069 of-a-second) to sprint to the early lead before the Skoal Racing Chevy overpowered the I.R.P. quarter mile and slowed to a pass of 6.337 seconds at 181.86. Gilbertson raced to a run of 4.946 at 307.58 to score the round victory.
"It's certainly a frustrating day," Johnson said. "We had a good race car all weekend long and had high hopes going into today. With the way everything played out, we had a great chance to gain ground in the standings. The tires just came loose in the middle of the course and (Bob) Gilbertson made a good run. We'll gear up and go to Reading (Pa.) knowing we've got a good race car."
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 21st annual Toyo Tires Nationals, Sept. 15-18, at Maple Grove Raceway near Reading, Pa. Johnson won the Reading race in 1999.