JOHNSON JR. QUALIFIES FIRST FRIDAY AT JOLIET MAKES THIRD QUICKEST FUNNY CAR PASS IN NHRA HISTORY JOLIET, Ill. (June 9, 2006) & ...
JOHNSON JR. QUALIFIES FIRST FRIDAY AT JOLIET MAKES THIRD QUICKEST FUNNY CAR PASS IN NHRA HISTORY
JOLIET, Ill. (June 9, 2006) Tommy Johnson Jr. drove his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Skoal RacingSM Funny Car to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position Friday at Route 66 Raceway after the veteran! nitro pilot blasted to the quickest pass of his career, 4.672 seconds. It was the third quickest Funny Car pass in NHRA history.
The seven-time NHRA winner, who entered the ninth running of the CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals ranked sixth in the Funny Car standings, opened qualifying at the record-setting Joliet drag strip by using a tune-up from crew chief Mike Green to clock a performance of 4.780 seconds at 321.58 mph to position the Skoal Racing flopper seventh following the first of four scheduled qualifying attempts.
Then, Johnson, who set his career-best performances at this facility last September (4.698 at 331.45), powered the Skoal Racing Monte Carlo to the third quickest run in NHRA history when he carded a pass of 4.672 seconds at 328.70 mph in the right lane at Route 66 Raceway to pace the Funny Car field. Only John Force has gone quicker in a Funny Car. Johnson last qualified in the No. 1 position at the 2001 Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.
"I hope it rains on Saturday," Johnson said jokingly. "We ran good on the first run and the conditions were so good, so you have to go for it and throw everything at it. Mike (Green) and the guys were going after it. I knew if it would stick, it was going to be a strong run. I thought it was a good run, but I didn't realize that it was that good. That was stout.
"I saw the guys jumping up and down at the top end giving me the thumbs up, so I knew it had to be good. I'm really happy for my crew. They've worked so hard and we've struggled at times, so this is a great reward for them. We ran the 4.69 with this same car last fall, so I had a lot of confidence coming in here. I actually didn't think it would hold with so many good cars behind us. If it doesn't rain, maybe we can run a little quicker on Saturday."
Nitro qualifying is scheduled to resume at 1 and 4:30 p.m. (CT) Saturday at Route 66 Raceway. Johnson qualified 13th at the Joliet track last June en route to a semifinal finish.