JOHNSON JR. AND SKOAL RACING TEAM COMPLETE 2006 TESTING CHANDLER, Ariz. (Jan. 31, 2006) -- Race teams embark on preseason testing with various goals in mind. For Tommy Johnson Jr. and Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Funny Car team, the immediate...
JOHNSON JR. AND SKOAL RACING TEAM COMPLETE 2006 TESTING
CHANDLER, Ariz. (Jan. 31, 2006) -- Race teams embark on preseason testing with various goals in mind. For Tommy Johnson Jr. and Don Prudhomme's Skoal Racing Funny Car team, the immediate goal was to improve the performance of the Monte Carlo flopper that Johnson drove to a career-best sixth-place finish in the NHRA Funny Car standings last season.
After spending the past two weekends at Las Vegas and Phoenix where the Skoal Racing Chevy hit the drag strip for nine days of testing, the six-time NHRA winner and his team concluded their preseason testing Tuesday at Firebird International Raceway after Johnson blistered the Firebird Raceway quarter mile to the tune of 4.719 seconds at 328.47 mph. Johnson made 24 attempts at the two preseason test sessions.
"We didn't do as much testing as we'd have liked to because of the new tire," Johnson said. "We had a successful test session after putting the old tire back on the car. Our final attempt was the second or third quickest run I've ever made, so we finished testing on a real high note.
"I'm more confident going into Pomona this year than I was last year and it turned out pretty well then. I don't see any reason why we can't repeat and start the season on a good note. The car is capable of winning races and running really good numbers and the way it ran today proved that."
Prudhomme's Funny Car team tinkered with some new parts and pieces early during the Nitro Blast Off in Las Vegas before posting solid incremental numbers and a performance of 4.757 seconds at 326.63 mph on Johnson's only full pass during the first Las Vegas test session. At Phoenix, the Skoal Racing team, as did most teams, battled tire issues at the National Time Trials before mastering the race track on Tuesday morning with the 4.71-second elapsed time.
"We didn't get some of the stuff tested that we wanted to due to the new tire and having problems with that, but when we went down the track we're pretty happy with the performance of the car," crew chief Mike Green said. "The goal of testing is to make sure we have a competitive car to take to the Winternationals. We ran 4.71 at 328 and he (Tommy Johnson) shut it off a little early. It looks like it could have gone a little quicker, so we're kind of excited about that. We're more confident than last season and we did ok at Pomona then. I think we have a little better race car than we did at the Finals in November and we ran pretty well there. So, we're cautiously optimistic."
After gearing up for the 2006 NHRA campaign at both Las Vegas and Phoenix, the Skoal Racing crew will take a weekend off before heading to historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.) for the 46th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals, Feb. 9-12. Johnson is the defending event champion of the storied NHRA season-opener after capturing his sixth career NHRA win last February.