KENT, Wash. (July 25, 2004) - Despite suffering a narrow defeat in the first round of Funny Car eliminations Sunday at Pacific Raceways, Skoal RacingSM driver Tommy Johnson Jr. continues to charge towards the top 10 of the Funny Car ...
KENT, Wash. (July 25, 2004) - Despite suffering a narrow defeat in the first round of Funny Car eliminations Sunday at Pacific Raceways, Skoal RacingSM driver Tommy Johnson Jr. continues to charge towards the top 10 of the Funny Car standings.
In a first round battle with No. 3 qualifier Tim Wilkerson, Johnson used a significant starting line advantage to take the early lead on Wilkerson, a fellow Chevy driver, before Wilkerson drove around Johnson's Mike Green-tuned Skoal Racing flopper to score the narrow victory. Johnson used a .070 reaction time and a pass of 4.960 seconds at 311.27, while Wilkerson's car was slightly quicker, recording a run of 4.886 at 312.93 in his Chevy.
"I'm disappointed because we came in here on a role and we had to switch to the 85-pecent rule and it through us a curve," Johnson said. "We didn't adapt to it very well during qualifying. The cool weather came in today and we were a lot better. The 4.96 that we ran was right there with what everyone else was running. Qualifying is what bit us this weekend."
Sunday, the weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest were drastically different than what the race crews experienced on Friday and Saturday during qualifying. After getting acclimated to the new 85-percent nitromethane rule under blistering temperatures and a race track that neared 140 degrees, the crew chiefs had to adapt to cool temperatures in the mid-60's with a race track that was 85 degrees during the first round.
"I liked what I saw on Sunday," Johnson said. "It gives us some confidence going into Sonoma, but I'm disappointed because I thought we had a shot of winning at least one of these races on the Western Swing. We'll go to Sonoma and recover and do well there."
The next NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series event is the 17th annual FRAM-Autolite Nationals, July 30 - Aug. 1, at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. The blue Skoal Racing crew will service the Funny Car on Monday before heading south on I-5 to complete the Western Swing next weekend at Infineon Raceway.