MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 14, 2004) - After spending four days competing at drag racing's biggest event, the U.S. Nationals, five-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson Jr. and the blue Skoal RacingSM crew spent the Tuesday after the grueling race testing their...
MOHNTON, Pa. (Sept. 14, 2004) - After spending four days competing at drag racing's biggest event, the U.S. Nationals, five-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson Jr. and the blue Skoal RacingSM crew spent the Tuesday after the grueling race testing their Don Prudhomme-owned Funny Car at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Their goal is to improve the consistency of the tune-up of the Chevy flopper in order to qualify in the top half of the Funny Car ladder and go rounds on race day.
While most of the other Funny Car drivers were relaxing after the Nationals, Johnson made three passes in his Mike Green-tuned Chevy Monte Carlo on the famous quarter mile at Indianapolis Raceway Park. There, the crew gained sufficient data that should benefit them during the stretch run of the 2004 NHRA season.
Johnson and the blue Skoal Racing crew look forward to making positive use of the testing data when the NHRA schedule heats up with its fourth and final three-race swing of the 2004 campaign, Sept. 16-19, beginning at the ultra-quick Maple Grove Raceway with the 20th annual Lucas Oil Nationals.
"We've been plagued with some consistency problems after running very well," Johnson said. "We couldn't figure out why we struggled. So, we came out on Tuesday after Indy to try to solve those problems. The car ran much better, the way it needs to run going into Reading (Pa.). That was a big boost. We knew what the car should do, but it wasn't performing. Fortunately, we found the gremlin."
If you want to qualify well and go rounds at Maple Grove Raceway, you need to not only have a consistent race car, but also a quick car. The cooler fall temperatures and forest-like environment that surrounds the race track are legendary for producing big horsepower, which leads to quick times and big speeds on the Pennsylvania drag strip.
"I like the trees, they make the cars run really fast," Johnson said. "This time of year, the temperatures start going down and the performance of the cars comes back. Even with the 85-percent nitro(methane) rule, you'll see a lot of cars run in the 4.70s; the pace will get quicker. The days of seeing the 5.0s make the field are gone until next year."