Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals
Team shows fortitude
In a nail biter to see which teams would be in, and which would be out, the Monster Energy Funny Car clocked 4.327/286.38 to bump back into the field and take the final starting berth for Sunday’s eliminations.
“I was a LOT nervous on that run,” said Johnson. “The track was hot and tricky. I had confidence that we could get in the field, but I kept my hand on the brake just in case there was a wisp of tire smoke. Fortunately everything went our way, Rick Cassel (crew chief) had a good tune-up combination in the car, and we made a nice clean, smooth run.”
In the first round of eliminations, Johnson faced No. 1 qualifier Ashley Force. Ms. Force used low elapsed time of the event, 4.094 seconds at 302.01 mph, to win the round, while Johnson struggled with loss of traction.
“It wasn’t the weekend I was hoping for,” said Johnson, “but under pressure yesterday, the team showed what they were made of. They got the car down the track and in the show in the last shot. It was just a tricky track all weekend for everybody. There were only a handful of cars that ran really well this weekend and for everybody else it was sort of hit and miss. Unfortunately we drew one of the cars that ran really well first round. Based on her qualifying efforts and the caliber of her team, we knew we had to go for it.
“We had a small mechanical problem, but I think the guys have figured out what it is. They should be good for our next race in Brainerd. Even though we didn’t get the results we were looking for, I still think we’re headed in the right direction. It’s a much better team than it was earlier this season.”
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