Johnson Knows A Win Can Make Goals A Reality At Season Finale In Pomona INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 6, 2006) -- One win can do so much for NHRA competitors. It can get the season started well, it can turn around a losing streak. It can also help...
Johnson Knows A Win Can Make Goals A Reality At Season Finale In Pomona
INDIANAPOLIS (Nov. 6, 2006) -- One win can do so much for NHRA competitors. It can get the season started well, it can turn around a losing streak. It can also help accomplish goals.
Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Don Prudhomme-owned Skoal Racingsm Monte Carlo crew know what a win at this weekend's season finale event at Pomona (Calif.) Raceway can do -- attain goals.
"If we can go out to Pomona Raceway and win the event, goals that we set at the beginning of the season will fall into place," Johnson said. "All season long we've been focused on being in the top five of the final point standings. We've pulled within 49 points and if we can produce great results this weekend and win the race, there's a good chance we can jump into the top five. That would make for a great season."
Johnson has two wins in three final round appearances this season. He sits in sixth place of the NHRA POWERade Funny Car point standings, 49 points away from Tony Pedregon and the No. 5 position. Johnson is the only single car entry in the top 10.
Now he is headed to the 42nd annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals. Qualifying for the 23rd and final race of the season starts Thursday.
"We just want to keep the continuity going," Johnson said. "This car is running so well and we want that to carry over to next season. We struggled a bit in the middle of the year, but most teams struggle at one point or another. I think we rebounded well and it didn't take long for (crew chief) Mike Green to get our performance back.
"Mike has done a good job finding the best tuneup. We've worked to make this car more consistent and I think we finally have that."
Johnson has one career win in two final round appearances at Pomona Raceway along with one No. 1 qualifying award.
"There is definitely a lot of history and prestige associated with Pomona Raceway," Johnson said. "There has been so much history made there over the years that winning this event has become more important. We've done well there in the past and it's been a good place to race. I'm especially anxious to race there this time."
This particular event at Pomona Raceway could be Johnson's best yet.
"I think we are as well prepared for this event than we ever have been," Johnson said. "We're going to this race with more confidence than we've had in years past and I think we have a great shot at winning the race. Everyone has worked hard to be in a position to compete for the win. We came so close to winning in Las Vegas (two weeks ago, with a runner-up appearance) but I think our crew deserves to have their pictures taken in winner's circle one more time this season."
Of course, Johnson's biggest concern might have something to do with what happens once the final point standings have been distributed and the cars have been put away for the winter.
"I think everyone is starting to wear down a bit and I think everyone needs a break," Johnson said. "At the same time, I'm disappointed the season is almost over because we are running so well. It's almost a little scary to go into the offseason. You wouldn't think you could lose your setup over the offseason, but you never know. Changes are made during the offseason that affect the entire car.
"The most important thing is that we go out and ride the tide and finish the season on a high note."
The 42nd annual Automobile Club of Southern California Finals starts Thursday. Professional qualifying will be spread out over three days. There is one session on Thursday at 2:30 p.m., continuing at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and wrapping up at noon and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Final eliminations for the 23rd of 23 NHRA POWERade events will start at 11 a.m. on Sunday.