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Tommy Johnson Fired Up For Gainesville (1 Viewer)

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Coming off a strong performance at Phoenix , Tommy Johnson and the Monster Energy Funny Car team are excited about their prospects for the ACDelco Gatornationals March 14-16.

“ Gainesville is one of my favorite tracks on the tour,” said Johnson. “This track has a special place in my heart because the Gatornationals was the first event I ever raced in. It was 1984 and I was running Super Gas. There were 128 cars in the class, and we were down to six cars, and mine broke! I’ve been chasing a victory at this track ever since, and this year I truly feel we have a talented team and a car that will be right in the hunt.

“At Phoenix , I think we showed what the team was capable of. We were strong in qualifying and we had three very competitive runs on race day. I no longer have concerns about qualifying. Now we just want to go out and win a race.

“At the beginning of the season we set goals. I’d like to get a win for Kenny (Bernstein, team owner) and for Monster this season. The sooner the better. This team was awful close to winning more than once last year and I’d like to help them get over the hump. I’d like to be in the top five at the end of the year.”

The ACDelco Gatornationals will mark the third event for Johnson racing under the Kenny Bernstein banner. Bernstein surprised the racing community when he announced his 2007 Funny Car comeback at the wheel of the Monster Energy Funny Car. In an equally stunning announcement in December of 2007, Bernstein revealed his decision to step out of the driver’s seat and named popular Funny Car shoe Tommy Johnson Jr. as his successor.

“I’m thrilled to be associated with this team,” said Johnson. “Prior to Phoenix , we put forth some rigorous days testing, and we reaped big rewards in Phoenix . I think what we learned will continue to pay dividends for us and I believe will be a contender all year long.

“Jimmy (Walsh, crew chief) and the members of this team really buckled down to make these performance strides. It was very impressive.

“So we are looking forward to the East Coast season opener in Gainesville . Ever since I’ve been a Monster Energy driver, I’ve never signed so many autographs! I’m looking forward to meeting some new Monster fans at Gainesville Raceway.”

Nitro (Top Fuel and Funny Car) qualifying begins Friday, March 14 at 1 p.m. with a second session at 3:30 p.m. There are two qualifying sessions Saturday, 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. , with final eliminations kicking off at 11 a.m. Sunday.

NHRA RACE DAY – March 16 – ESPN2
11 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. ET
Eliminations – March 16 – ESPN2
6 – 9 p.m. ET
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