JOHNSON JR. EXCITED TO RETURN TO SITE OF HIS PERSONAL-BEST RUN JOLIET, Ill. (June 5, 2006) -- In the sport of track and field, runners are constantly aiming to better their personal best, much like the sport of NHRA drag racing. Last September,...
JOHNSON JR. EXCITED TO RETURN TO SITE OF HIS PERSONAL-BEST RUN
JOLIET, Ill. (June 5, 2006) -- In the sport of track and field, runners are constantly aiming to better their personal best, much like the sport of NHRA drag racing. Last September, seven-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson Jr. powered his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Skoal Ra! cingSM Funny Car to the quickest and fastest run of his veteran driving career, 4.698 seconds at 331.45 mph. An elapsed time that stout would be the equivalent to a 9.7-second time in the 100-yard dash. Another parallel between the two high-speed sports is the athlete's willingness to not only turn in quick performances, but win races.
Johnson, one of 13 drivers in NHRA history to have collected wins in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, accomplished both goals last season en route to a career-best finish in the NHRA Funny Car standings. As the NHRA season enters the warm summer months, personal-bests will have to wait until the cool fall temperatures return; nevertheless the ultimate goal for any drag racer is to win rounds and races. Johnson and his Mike Green-led Skoal Racing team eye a return visit to the winner's circle when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series returns to action for the first three-race swing of the 2006 season, June 8-11, at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago.
"I can't wait to get back to Joliet (Ill.)," Johnson said. "Last fall we ran a career best E.T. and speed there, and we recently switched back to that chassis. So, the confidence level is very high going into the race. I'm not sure if we'll see 4.60s like last fall, but we'll see a much quicker field than at Topeka (Kan.) a few weeks back."
The Joliet track is notorious for yielding some of the quickest and fastest times in the sport, along with producing great 300-mph side-by-side drag racing action. While June's nearly summertime conditions won't be conducive for 4.6-second, 330-mph times, drag racing's elite are licking their chops for their only chance of the season to compete on what many racers feel is the best racing surface of the 21 tracks on the NHRA tour.
"I believe we can run with anybody; we can be right at the top of the pack," Johnson said. "We're looking for a little consistency in the car, and when you go to a track like Joliet, it should be easier to be consistent. It helps to run on a better track surface and Joliet has the best surface on the tour."
Being the quickest and fastest certainly gives you a performance advantage and produces headlines. However, in a sport where bizarre tends to be the ordinary, the consistent racer is usually the person standing on top of the podium with the trophy in hand.