JOHNSON JR. DRIVES TO SEMIFINAL FINISH AT PACIFIC RACEWAYS KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2005) & ...
JOHNSON JR. DRIVES TO SEMIFINAL FINISH AT PACIFIC RACEWAYS
KENT, Wash. (July 24, 2005) Tommy Johnson Jr. powered his Skoal RacingSM Chevy Funny Car to a semifinal performance Sunday at Pacific Raceways after a solid outing in the Pacific Northwest that saw the veteran driver qualify his Don Prudhomme-owned Monte Carlo in the No. 4 position.
The six-time NHRA winner defeated Frank Pedregon and Tony Bartone before falling to No. 1 qualifier Eric Medlen in the Funny Car semifinals. Johnson remains fifth in the NHRA Funny Car standings and moved to within 38 points of fourth place driver Ron Capps.
After qualifying fourth with a stellar 4.777-second elapsed time on Friday evening at the scenic Washington facility, T.J. bested No. 13 qualifier Frank Pedregon in the opening round of flopper eliminations when he drove his Skoal Racing Chevy to a run of 4.891 seconds at 316.60 mph to edge Pedregon's 4.942-second pass.
Johnson scored a wire-to-wire victory over Tony Bartone in the second round after using a solid .079 (of-a-second) reaction time. Johnson's flopper lost traction and slowed to a run of 6.069 seconds, but Bartone's Chevy suffered mechanical problems and coasted to an 11-second run.
After experiencing engine problems when trying to warm the car prior to the semifinal match-up with the John Force Racing driver, both of Prudhomme's Skoal Racing and Miller Lite teams were thrashing on the Skoal Racing flopper to ensure Johnson's appearance in round three of eliminations. Johnson used his best reaction time of the day (.061) before the Skoal Racing Monte Carlo lost traction and slowed to a pass of 7.363 seconds, while Medlen raced to a 4.930-second E.T. to earn the trip to the final round.
"You can't complain about going to the semis," Johnson said. "It's definitely frustrating when the finals are within your grasp like that, but it was a good points day for us."
"It was really a great team effort. We had problems with the engine after the second round. After we serviced the motor, it locked up on the warm-up. We still don't know what happened. I really have to thank the Miller Lite guys. It was a great effort in the entire Don Prudhomme Racing pits. It was just an accomplishment to make it to the semis."
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 18th annual FRAM-Autolite Nationals, July 29-31, at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. The Skoal Racing Funny Car crew will service the Don Prudhomme-owned Monte Carlo on Monday at the Seattle track before making the trip south on I-5 to complete the Western Swing.