JOHNSON JR. EYES ANOTHER SOLID PERFORMANCE AT HEARTLAND PARK TOPEKA, Kan. (May 23, 2006) -- Since turning pro nearly two decades ago, veteran nitromethane driver Tommy Johnson Jr. has developed into one of the premier drivers in the world's ...
JOHNSON JR. EYES ANOTHER SOLID PERFORMANCE AT HEARTLAND PARK
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 23, 2006) -- Since turning pro nearly two decades ago, veteran nitromethane driver Tommy Johnson Jr. has developed into one of the premier drivers in the world's fastest motor sport. Last season, the driver of Don "the Snake" Prudhomme's Skoal RacingSM Funny Car led the flopper division in average reaction time showing off the driving flair he's honed since jumping to the nitro ranks in 1989.
Having claimed victories in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, one of just 13 drivers in NHRA history to have accomplished the feat, the seven-time NHRA winner (five Funny Car, two Top Fuel) used just about every skill that a drag racer can possess to drive to a runner-up finish at Heartland Park Topeka last May. This weekend, May 25-28, the Iowa native looks to use his years of cockpit experience to earn four win lights when the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes its annual visit to Kansas for the 18th annual O'Reilly Summer Nationals at Heartland Park. A track the former NHRA Division 5 racer is very familiar with since his early days as a racer in NHRA's sportsman ranks.
"For me, Topeka was a satisfying race last year to out pedal and holeshot your opponents," Johnson said. "As a team, you'd like to crush the competition and win on performance, but that doesn't always happen. A lot of times, the car carries me, but sometimes I have to step up, that's just normal for any driver."
Winning races on holeshots (quicker reaction time) and by pedaling the race car displays a driver's skills, but Johnson, as most drivers, would much rather have a consistent and quick race car they can count on to go from A to B on each quarter mile effort. However, on warm, sticky race tracks, which are typical in the hot, summer temperatures, drivers need to be on their toes and expect the unexpected when behind the wheel of their 8,000 horsepower rocket ship.
"Without a doubt, when the car is perfect the driver doesn't always show," Johnson said. "However, when you have to make up on the track, an experienced driver shines. There's no substitute for experience in those situations when you need a light or to pedal the race car."