O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals
Johnson Jr. races to semifinals
After qualifying his silver-and-blue Skoal Racing Chevy in the No. 2 position for the ninth time in his career, Johnson bested No. 15 qualifier Jack Beckman and 2005 NHRA Funny Car champion Gary Scelzi before falling to No. 3 qualifier Mike Ashley in the semifinals of the 21st annual OíReilly Fall Nationals.
In a marquee quarterfinal match-up of two of the flopper divisionís elite drivers, Johnson used a starting-line advantage to earn the 12th holeshot victory of his career. Johnson used a slightly quicker reaction time (.068 of-a-second) and a performance of 4.904 at 306.81 to edge Scelziís quicker, but losing pass of 4.899 at 311.49. Johnson and Scelzi have a 3-3 mark in six races this season.
In his sixth semifinal appearance of the season, Johnson got the jump at the start, but the Skoal Racing flopper smoked the tires instantly and slowed to a run of 7.840-seconds. Ashley drove to a pass of 5.311 at 211.83 to advance to his first career final round. It was the first pass of the weekend that the Skoal Racing Funny Car failed to make a complete quarter-mile run. Johnson has now competed in 39 elimination rounds this season.
ďIt was a good weekend,Ē Johnson said. ďSure, we wanted to get back to the final round, but Iím not too disappointed. Iím happy with the way our car is running; weíre one step closer to cracking the top five and thatís our goal. Itís hard to be disappointed when you go to the semis.
ďWeíre not sure what happened on that semifinal run. We havenít smoked the tires that early all season long. Itís something mechanical, itís not a tune-up issue. Mike (Green) has a great handle on the tune-up. Itís just unfortunate that it happened then.Ē
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