News from Steve Johnson’s Pro Stock Suzuki
Pro Stock Motorcycle Team
Cengage Learning/White Rodgers/C&J Energy Services/Simpson
HOTRODS /HOTCAMS/VERTEX/CYLINDER WORKS/ Pivot Works
IRONDALE, AL 3/15/11 Can you remember getting you first computer? Getting it home, tearing into the box, getting it out and setting it on the desk and plugging in the charger? Now turning it on and getting ready to surf the net. But then something is wrong and there are no 14year old kids around to direct you. So now what; you dive in head first to try to make it work.
Well last weekend was when Steve Johnson was ready to start the 2011 NHRA Full Throttle series in Gainesville Florida at the GatorNationals. However the teams’ crew chief was not going to be making the trip to Florida due to a sick daughter at home.
“The guys had a great plan,” said Johnson. “With all the technology today the team was going to email the racing files back and forth to Tim and get a tune up for each round of qualifying. The guys would work on the regular between round maintenance and then get the final tune up information to help us go faster. It really sounded as easy as turning on a computer and surfing the internet.”
After two qualifying attempts on Friday the team was 26th of 27 bikes and really felt like they were behind the 8 ball. Some of the biggest problems were not having a crew chief at the races and a half of bar of cell service to email files.
“I can tell you I have had some pretty stressful days in racing,” said Johnson, “but this one really stinks. We had guests from Cengage Learning and White Rodgers there on Saturday for qualifying attempts three and four. We really wanted them to see us do lay down a career best time in the record setting weather. But after a miserable Friday we would just settle for making a great pass so we could race on Sunday. Thank God we did.”
In fact the team made two great runs on Saturday: a 6.95 and 6.94, both at over a 190mph and good enough for the 14th spot in Sunday’s race. However that is where the weekend ended as the team lost to Andrew Hines in the first round.
“We really need to test,” said Johnson. “That’s was our plan even though things are kind of tight right now, we just need to walk softly. We’ve got six weeks to refine our plan and get everyone healthy. In a perfect world we might even plan some kind of test session before Houston. The competition is going to be brutal and I know their budgets will be used anyway possible to get the most out of their team. This is our 25th year racing so making some educated decisions should be right thing to do. It’s just not always about money and this year I aim to prove it.”
JOHNSON TURNS 25 YEARS… IN THE SPORT OF DRAG RACING
Steve Johnson can’t sit still. As he tries to concentrate on putting the finishing touches on his race team before this week, March 11-13 Tire Kingdom Gatornationals in Gainesville Florida.
Johnson, who qualified for last year’s Countdown to 1 championship run and scored yet another Top 10 points finish, begins his Silver Anniversary campaign on the NHRA trail this year. From going to his first race in a wooden crate and hoping to qualify to having a standalone racing facility that supports the two-time U.S. Nationals winning team and the successful racing business.
“To be honest, I’m really proud to still be racing and celebrating this milestone,” Johnson says, but 25 years represents a ton of hard work and dedication. From marketing to tuning our Suzuki we just keep learning. The guys made giant strides last year, and I honestly think we’re going to play a major role in this year’s championship. I’ll just say one thing for sure: If we don’t win it won’t be due to a lack of trying!”
Johnson is a past winner of the Gatornationals and would like to continue what his team starter a few years ago leading the points into the third race of the season.
“Those were so great times for sure,” said Johnson, “but things are so different in my little world today. Sponsors, marketing, appearances, finding more horsepower and testing have a totally different twist to them these days. A higher level of focus and perseverance is what my goals are this year. And when the guys take our TL-1000 off the chassis dyno and roll it into the trailer I can shift gears away from our marketing team and join the guys on the racing team.”
Johnson’s Suzuki has associate support from Cengage Learning, C&L Companies, White Rodgers, C&J Energy Services, and Simpson. Product support will come from Alotta Graphics, Alpinestars, Cometic, EBC, EVS, Falicon, Fram, ISC, Kosman, Lincoln Electric, Mickey Thompson, MSD, NGK, Oakley, PJ1, Redline, Vanson, Worldwide Bearing, WPS/Fly, Yuasa, and Zero Gravity. “We’re obviously excited to have the support for such a special season,” he said. “I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to deliver the kind of results they deserve.”
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