Johnson Jr. Eager To Get Back Behind The Wheel To Begin 2005 Testing at The Strip LAS VEGAS (Jan. 20, 2005) - On his final qualifying effort of the 2004 NHRA season last November, Tommy Johnson's Chevy flopper stopped the Pomona Raceway timers...
Johnson Jr. Eager To Get Back Behind The Wheel To Begin 2005 Testing at The Strip
LAS VEGAS (Jan. 20, 2005) - On his final qualifying effort of the 2004 NHRA season last November, Tommy Johnson's Chevy flopper stopped the Pomona Raceway timers in 4.759-seconds at 326.79-mph, both career-bests for the veteran driver who has been raring to put on the firesuit and helmet and go testing since the conclusion of the '04 season.
"To finish the season on a high note like that, I expect us to pick up right where we left off at Pomona," Johnson said. "I was ready to go race the next day. Testing is somewhat defeating the cause because you don't make full runs very often, but we should be real close to where we left off. We don't have a new combination or any drastic changes like we did coming into last year, so we just have to refine what we had at the end of last season."
Johnson and the rest of his NHRA peers will have that opportunity to fire those 8,000 horsepower, nitromethane-burning engines on Friday, Jan. 21 when preseason testing begins at Bruton Smith's state-of-the-art facility in Las Vegas, the track where Johnson earned his last victory in April 2001.
While the race car didn't undergo many changes this off season, Johnson will have to adapt to being the focal point of the Skoal Racing operation as legendary racer-turned-owner Don Prudhomme will field just one Funny Car entry in 2005.
"Even though it's a one-car team, we're not operating like a one-car team," Johnson said. "I'm going to run two complete race cars in testing so we can gain knowledge and try a few different things. To go out and run two different combinations and drive two different cars allows me to see what I like and relay that information to (crew chief) Mike (Green) and the crew. It's a big plus for our team."
Johnson and his Skoal Racing crew will have plenty of opportunity to see the fruits of their winter labors prior to the 2005 season-opener in Pomona, Calif. (Feb. 10-13) as they will test in Las Vegas and Phoenix, before returning to The Strip at LVMS to complete winter testing in early February (Feb. 4-6).
"Going to a one-car team is probably better than some two-car teams because all the focus is going into two race cars," Johnson said. "The cars are similar, but they're not the same. We'll go to Pomona with the car that performs the best during the three weekends of testing. We really want to turn things around in 2005. We weren't happy with the results last year and we want to be competitive from the start. The more we can run the car, the more we can learn and that will allow us to do better. That's what is great about having (Don) Prudhomme as an owner. He gives us all the resources we need to win. It's a perfect scenario with three straight weekends of testing because you can go test and learn and go into the year with a strong tune-up."