Johnson Jr. Enthused To Kick-Off 2005 NHRA Season at Historic Winternationals POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2005) - The cold winter months and preseason testing for NHRA drag racing teams are sort of like the hot summer months for professional...
Johnson Jr. Enthused To Kick-Off 2005 NHRA Season at Historic Winternationals
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 7, 2005) - The cold winter months and preseason testing for NHRA drag racing teams are sort of like the hot summer months for professional football teams during training camp. Hopes are high and everyone has visions of wins and ultimately a season that culminates with a championship.
Tommy Johnson Jr. and Don Prudhomme's Skoal RacingSM crew lead the list of NHRA race teams that can't wait to fire the motor on their 8,000-horsepower Funny Car for real when the 2005 NHRA season roars to life Feb. 10-13, with the 45th running of the historic Winternationals at Pomona Raceway.
"There's always something special about Pomona," Johnson said. "You get to see all the new paint jobs and because it's the first race, everyone is excited and you want to go out and shine. It seems like there's an underdog winner at the Winternationals each year and I kind of think we fit the role very well, so I'm excited to get things started. Plus, it beats being in the Midwest this time of year."
Johnson begins his fifth season under the Don Prudhomme Racing banner in 2005 and while he continues to pilot his Skoal Racing flopper, for the first time since the late '90s, the Iowa native won't have a Funny Car teammate. Sometimes, change is for the better and Johnson feels the fresh start will benefit his race team.
"The single-car team brings a new element to our race team," Johnson said. "Our preseason testing showed that we're a better team with just one race car. Even though the trend is towards multi-car teams, I think we're going to show people that there's still a place for single-car teams in the Funny Car class."
The last time he competed at Pomona Raceway, the five-time NHRA winner posted career-best numbers last fall at Pomona and during nine days of preseason testing at Las Vegas and Phoenix, Johnson powered his Skoal Racing Chevy to more 4.7-second 320-mph passes that Johnson expects to be routine for his race car this season. The last time Johnson qualified in the No. 1 position was four years ago at the NHRA season-opener. He's again ready to see his name atop the 16-car Funny Car order heading into eliminations.
"I feel like we've got our best shot to repeat that and qualify well," Johnson said. "My entire focus is to have a consistent race car. To be able to qualify in the top half of the field and go some rounds is key. It would be a nice start for us to get off on the right foot and have a solid race at Pomona and I'm confident we can do that."