Johnson Jr. aims to Improve on Last Week's 4.930-Second Blast at Pomona when Winternationals Resume on Friday. POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2004) -- After a blur of an off season that saw Tommy Johnson Jr. and fiancee Melanie Troxel tie the knot...
Johnson Jr. aims to Improve on Last Week's 4.930-Second Blast at Pomona when Winternationals Resume on Friday.
POMONA, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2004) -- After a blur of an off season that saw Tommy Johnson Jr. and fiancee Melanie Troxel tie the knot last New Year's Eve during a small ceremony in Indianapolis, the five-time NHRA national event winner was eager get behind the wheel of his new Skoal Racing blue Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car for the season-opener at Pomona Raceway.
After clocking the sixth best run of the first qualifying session with a pass of 4.930 seconds at 295.21 mph, the Iowa native was sidelined for the rest of the weekend after Mother Nature showered the West Coast with six consecutive days of rain.
"I'm glad to get the first run under my belt," said Johnson, who enters his fourth season driving for Don Prudhomme Racing. "It's good to have the initial run with the new Monte Carlo body out of the way. You never know what will happen with a new body. Everything is cool. Now we can go racing."
Johnson's flopper was plagued by a few mechanical gremlins on its first pass of 2004, but the 4.930-second run puts him solidly in the Funny Car program for Sunday's final eliminations.
"It didn't do what we planned on the first run, but it could have been a lot worse," Johnson said. "I love the view from the Monte Carlo. It is, by far, the best body I've driven as far as driver comforts go. We missed the tune-up on that first run and we still ended up sixth. I'm looking forward to making plenty more runs with the body. This brings us to a level playing field with the rest of the class. We were at an aerodynamic disadvantage the past few years with the Camaro body."
Johnson, who earned his last No. 1 qualifying award at Pomona Raceway during the 2001 Winternationals, aims to move up the Funny Car ladder when racing resumes Feb. 27-29 at Pomona Raceway with the continuation of the 44th annual Winternationals.
"I just want to get the race in," Johnson said. "I don't know why, but I'm really confident about this weekend. The rain delay might actually help us. We've got everything squared away and the extra preparation that the Skoal Racing blue crew put in sure won't hurt. I'm confident in what we can do and that is win races."