JOHNSON JR. EXCITED TO GET TO THE STRIP TO BEING TESTING VISTA, Calif. (Jan. 18, 2006) & ...
JOHNSON JR. EXCITED TO GET TO THE STRIP TO BEING TESTING
VISTA, Calif. (Jan. 18, 2006) While most NHRA stars use the offseason's winter months to relax and refresh before the 10-month NHRA grind again roars to life in January, six-time NHRA winner Tommy Johnson Jr. spent his break traveling the world and jaunting across the country to various sponsor appearances and commitments.
With all that now behind him, the veteran nitro pilot can focus on getting back into the racing routine that saw him lead the Funny Car division in average reaction time last season as Johnson and Don Prudhomme's Skoal RacingSM crew will start their 2006 season when preseason testing opens with the Nitro Blast Off, January 20-23, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"I'm ready to go racing, but I'm also ready to be able to stay in one place for more than a couple days," Johnson said. "I'm looking forward to getting to the track and knowing where I'll be for four or five days. More than anything, I'm just excited to get back in the car."
After racing to a career-best sixth-place finish in the brutally tough Funny Car class last year, that saw him win the season-opening Winternationals and post career-best performance numbers (4.698 seconds at 331.45 mph), it's no surprise that the Iowa native is eager to put on the fire suit and strap into his 8,000 horsepower Mike Green-tuned Monte Carlo flopper as the Skoal Racing bunch looks to improve and compete for the NHRA title on 2006.
"The only thing new on the race car is a new chassis, which is similar to what we ran last season," Johnson said. "The way the car was running at the end of last season, if we can go out and continue that performance, and hopefully we can, than we should be in good shape. There aren't any major changes to the car or team. We just have to keep it going and come out strong like we did last season."
While he won't have the comfort of sleeping in his own bed at his home near Indianapolis for a few more weeks, Johnson will be reunited with the familiar confines of his Monaco motor coach, the driver's lounge of his Skoal Racing hauler, and the cockpit of his 330-mph flopper, and there aren't too many other places the longtime driver would rather be, even if it's just for 4.7-seconds.
<pre> 2005 SKOAL RACINGSM FUNNY CAR PRESEAON TESTING SCHEDULE
January 20-23 Nitro Blast Off The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Las Vegas January 28-30 National Time Trials Firebird International Raceway Chandler, Ariz.