JOHNSON READY TO MOVE UP QUALIFYING LADDER AT VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK RICHMOND, Va., (Oct. 13, 2006) -- This is the time of year when NHRA racers don't panic when Saturday mornings come around. During the hot summer months, Friday night ...
JOHNSON READY TO MOVE UP QUALIFYING LADDER AT VIRGINIA MOTORSPORTS PARK
RICHMOND, Va., (Oct. 13, 2006) -- This is the time of year when NHRA racers don't panic when Saturday mornings come around. During the hot summer months, Friday night qualifying sessions are the time to show off the best tune-ups and make a run for the top spot -- all the while knowing it will likely be too warm the next day to make a better move.
Tuners and drivers get their Saturdays back when fall rolls around each season. So while Tommy Johnson and the entire Skoal Racingsm Monte Carlo raced to the No. 5 position Friday during the Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals, they know there is still room to move up.
Johnson drove his Funny Car to a 4.813-second run at 306.33 mph and has plans to make his way to a higher position on Saturday when qualifying continues at Virginia Motorsports Park.
"We have great weather conditions but I think the track was still a little green," Johnson said. "They had so much rain last week and it just needs a little more rubber on the surface to let these Funny Cars get the grip they really need. I think as the weekend progresses, the track will turn around and we'll see those big numbers.
"We tip-toed our way down the track Friday just to get a hold on the conditions. We made two good runs and we've got a good weekend going so far."
Johnson said he wants to do whatever it takes to stay in the top half of the qualifying field, just in case.
"Lane choice may be key when Sunday comes around so what I'm most proud of is the way we got down both lanes of the track," Johnson said. "Early on the left lane has been superior to the right lane and we made a good run in the right lane to finish the day. We didn't earn the No. 1 qualifying spot but the weather will be cool again tomorrow, so we can go after it again. We went to the No. 1 spot in Reading (Pa.,) on Saturday, so we know it's possible."
The only thing that Johnson would have liked to do is take his crew on the ride during the second pass of the day.
"That second pass was a wild run," Johnson said. "It was definitely a challenge to keep it in the lane. The car was all over the place and I told my guys that it would have been fun if I could have taken them with me on that crazy run."
Qualifying for the Torco Racing Fuels Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va., continues Saturday at 12:30 & 3 p.m. Final eliminations are slated for 11 a.m. on Sunday. All the action can be seen on ESPN2 starting Saturday at 10 p.m. (ET) and continuing on Sunday at 7 p.m. (ET).