Johnson makes big jump up qualifying ladder in second round
Las Vegas, Friday: After the first round of qualifying for Friday's ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Tommy Johnson Jr. and the Don Prudhomme-owned Skoal Racing/bigger>/bigger>/fontfamily> Monte Carlo crew were in 20th place. Only 16 Funny Cars get to play for the trophy on Sunday.
After a few changes to the car, Johnson proved he will definitely get to race for the trophy this weekend. Crew chief Mike Green tuned the car to a 4.734-second pass at 323.97 mph to move up into the No. 5 position.
"After that first run we were all scratching our heads because we couldn't figure out why it smoked the tires," Johnson said. "Mike refused to believe that it wasn't the right setup. So we put some new tires on it, tuned it up and sent it down the track.
"You don't want to have your back against the wall and go into Saturday not qualified, so it was great to get solidly in the field."
Professional teams will have two more rounds of qualifying on Saturday before final eliminations start Sunday.
Johnson has earned two wins and two No. 1 qualifying awards this season but said there is still one goal left to reach – finishing in the top five. Going into this weekend's race, Johnson is in sixth place.
"We are still aiming to break into the top five of the point standings," Johnson said. "We want to gain some good momentum here and carry it over to the season finale in Pomona (Calif.).
"We also have so many guests here this weekend and it's always a great show when the car makes a nice pass to end the day."
Johnson has one win in two runner-up appearances at The Strip.
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