JOHNSON JR. EYES WINTERNATIONALS REPLAY AT POMONA FINALS POMONA, Calif. (October, 31, 2005) & ...
JOHNSON JR. EYES WINTERNATIONALS REPLAY AT POMONA FINALS
POMONA, Calif. (October, 31, 2005) There are a handful of races on the NHRA tour that drivers covet just a bit more than the rest. Tracks like Gainesville (Fla.), Englishtown (N.J.), Columbus (Ohio) and Indy, along with the season-opener and finale at Pomona Raceway are drag racing's "major" races. Therefore, if a driver is able ! to score to the win at one of these storied facilities, they've accomplished something special.
Coming into the 2005 kick-off event at Pomona in February, veteran nitro driver Tommy Johnson Jr. was mired in a winless streak that dated nearly four years. It had been 89 races since the Iowa native had visited the winner's circle (Las Vegas 1 2001). After catching a break in the opening round, Johnson used a stellar Mike Green setup to record three consecutive 4.7-second passes en route to starting off the '05 campaign with a win at the historic Winternationals.
With a solid Pomona Raceway tune-up and a winning combination for the celebrated Los Angeles-area track in the books, Johnson and Don "the Snake" Prudhomme's Skoal RacingSM crew look to sweep the Pomona events as the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season comes to an end, Nov. 3-6, with the 41st annual Auto Club Finals.
"You always want to start and finish the season on high note," Johnson said. "It's been a good 2005 season for our race team. While not quite as good as you hope for when you start off the season with a win, it certainly hasn't been a bad year, but it would definitely be a nice to end the season with a win."
Bookend victories, along with playing the role of spoiler for the three championship contenders would indeed be a gratifying way to end the season for the six-time NHRA winner. Johnson set both his career-best elapsed time and speed at the Winternationals en route to the event title. Having bettered his top speed and E.T. in late September, Johnson's Skoal Racing Funny Car has a tune-up that's capable of displaying stellar numbers, and with a consistent race day tune-up, a Finals victory could be in store.
"I'm really confident going into the Finals," Johnson said. "With the way the car has been running and the success we had there in February, we should run well. We ran a career-best at the Winternationals and improved upon it during the season. I like that we've not just maintained what we started with, but we've improved it. So, going back to Pomona again, the confidence is a lot higher knowing you've won there already."
T.J. 'Talks' Pomona...
What do you like most about Pomona Raceway?
There's just something special about Pomona. There's a cool aura that goes along with the Pomona races.
What is your favorite memory from Pomona Raceway?
Winning at the Winternationals in February.
What is your favorite Pomona-area restaurant?
El Merendero, right behind the track. It has great Mexican food.
What do you like most about the Pomona area?
California is a fun place to visit.
First thing that comes to mind when you hear Pomona Raceway?
Beginning or end of the season.