Madison: Tommy Johnson Jr Saturday summary

MADISON, Ill. (June 26, 2004) 0x2022 Tommy Johnson Jr. powered his blue Skoal RacingSM Chevy Monte Carlo to his best qualifying position since the 2001 Winternationals Saturday at Gateway International Raceway after racing to the No. 2 qualifying...

MADISON, Ill. (June 26, 2004) 0x2022 Tommy Johnson Jr. powered his blue Skoal RacingSM Chevy Monte Carlo to his best qualifying position since the 2001 Winternationals Saturday at Gateway International Raceway after racing to the No. 2 qualifying position.

The five-time NHRA winner used a Mike Green tune-up to blast his Don Prudhomme-owned Chevy flopper to a career-best performance of 4.765 seconds at 324.90 mph to claim the second qualifying spot at the Sears Craftsman Nationals. Johnson made his career-best effort on Friday's second qualifying session.

On Saturday, the Iowa native's Chevy Funny Car was too aggressive on its first qualifying attempt as Johnson slowed to a run of 5.284 at 205.63, before Johnson drove his Skoal Racing car to a run of 4.875 at 322.42 on the final qualifying run of the weekend under the lights at Gateway Raceway.

"You would think that coming into the last qualifying session qualified second that you'd be relaxed and enjoy yourself, but that was the most intense I've ever been cause I want to continue to do well," Johnson said. "I want to run as good as we did on Friday night on every run. It's bad to be that greedy, but that's just the way it is. I want to run well and I know we're capable of it.

"Nobody in Funny Car is an easy draw. We proved that last weekend winning from the No. 16 spot in the first round. You have to race like it's the final round or the competition will sneak up on you. We have a good combination and a good car, there's no reason we shouldn't go rounds on Sunday."

Johnson, who drove to a runner-up finish at the St. Louis event in 2001, will do battle against No. 15 qualifier Jeff Arend in the first round of Funny Car eliminations on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. (CT). It will be the first time that Johnson and Arend have met on race day.

-www.snakeracing.com

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Series NHRA
Drivers Tommy Johnson , Jeff Arend , Tommy Johnson Jr.