Johnson Jr. eyes rebound performance at Houston
Houston, prerace: After bowing out early at the 2006 NHRA season-opener at Pomona, Calif., veteran Funny Car racer Tommy Johnson Jr. and Don "the Snake" Prudhommeís Skoal Racing Funny Car team rebounded quite nicely winning the second race of the season. For Johnson, it was his seventh career NHRA victory and third since joining the Snake Pit in 2001.
Two weeks ago, the Skoal Racing crew battled tire issues adapting to the newly mandated Goodyear 2420 tire as Johnson fell in a narrow opening round battle with last seasonís Rookie of the Year, Robert Hight. Johnson and Co. look to continue the trend of following up a slow effort with a strong performance as the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series makes the first of two visits to the Lone Star State, March 31-April 2, at Houston Raceway Park for the 19th annual OíReilly Spring Nationals.
"We didnít get the results we were looking for at Gainesville two weeks ago," Johnson said. "We ran decent, but not good enough, so we stayed and tested to try and improve our early performance numbers. Iím confident that weíll run much better in Houston this weekend. Iím definitely looking for a rebound and to get back to another final round. We need to go some rounds and maintain our position in the top five of the standings."
While disappointed with the results in sunny Florida, the Skoal Racing team enters the Houston event fifth in the NHRA Funny Car standings and with a strong showing they can pick up a few spots in the flopper division along with placing some distance between some of the categoryís toughest foes.
Following the Gainesville event, Johnson powered his Monte Carlo Funny Car to four passes as the Mike Green-led crew worked on adapting to the 2420 tire in warmer temperatures and improving the early incremental performance of the Skoal Racing Chevy. Pleased with the results, Johnson is confident that he can bounce back and do some damage at a Houston track thatís long been known for yielding record performances.
"If the weather cooperates, I think we can run some good numbers," Johnson said. "The Houston track is notorious for big numbers, and these tires seem to like cooler tracks. So, hopefully on the Friday night run, we can get in a good qualifying effort with a run in the mid to low 4.70s. Qualifying is really important and we need to improve our qualifying position."
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