JOHNSON JR. THUNDERS HIS WAY INTO THE NO. 1 SPOT AT MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY READING, Pa., (Sept. 30, 2006) - Tommy Johnson, Jr. needed just one pass Saturday to drive his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Skoal Racingsm Monte Carlo into the top ...
JOHNSON JR. THUNDERS HIS WAY INTO THE NO. 1 SPOT AT MAPLE GROVE RACEWAY
READING, Pa., (Sept. 30, 2006) - Tommy Johnson, Jr. needed just one pass Saturday to drive his Don "the Snake" Prudhomme-owned Skoal Racingsm Monte Carlo into the top qualifying position for the seventh time in his career.
After two sessions on Friday Johnson was qualified in the 11th position but was confident crew chief Mike Green had a game plan that would send the Skoal Racingsm Monte Carlo up the qualifying ladder.
The game plan worked. Johnson rode to the No. 1 spot in Funny Car at the 22nd annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals with a track record 4.693-second pass at 327.27 mph. The fourth round of qualifying was canceled due to rain, but Johnson didn't mind at all. It's the second time this season that Johnson will lead the Funny Car field going into eliminations.
"I was nervous all day waiting out the rain because I knew our car could run this well," Johnson said. "I was just hoping we would get the opportunity to move up the ladder. We were qualified but we all felt like we needed to do better. Mike Green did a great job tuning the car for the specific conditions and now we have a good baseline for tomorrow's elimination rounds. That just gives me more confidence as a driver."
Johnson earned the 1999 win at Maple Grove Raceway but has not been back in the final round since. That could all change tomorrow -- if the team can walk the fine line between aggressive and consistent numbers.
"The weather conditions and the track conditions will allow us to be aggressive with our tuneup," Johnson said. "But everyone will be quick, so we have to make sure we don't come out overly aggressive and make any mistakes. It's going to take four quick, mistake-free runs tomorrow to walk away with the trophy."