Johnson Still Has Hopes for NHRA Mello Yello Championship as Team Heads To Las Vegas
Two-time NHRA U.S. Nationals Pro Stock Motorcycle winner Steve Johnson of Birmingham, Alabama is still fighting for their first NHRA Mello Yello Championship. Only the top ten in the professional categories of Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock Car and Motorcycle qualify for the 2018 Countdown to the Championship. Its drag racing version of the playoffs.
“After four of the six races completed, we are all still crazy excited,” Johnson said on Tuesday from his Birmingham race shop. “I’ve have never missed a race in 25 plus years. But I can tell you, Jock (my lead tech) and I haven’t felt this excited to racing in a while. The excitement is in our souls and it is what drives us every minute of every day.
“There a ton of things we need, more help for starters. We have a part-time guy that comes in, Drew and a buddy Alex comes in when he is done with his day Job. Big teams have depth and lots of resources. That will come in time, maybe 2019. The key now is managing the little issue and or mistakes. At this level, there is no room for that. Everyone is trying to be perfect.”
Johnson is in ninth position with just two races to go. This weekend in Las Vegas and the finals in Pomona, California two weeks later. Ninth may seem far back but there is a wild card at Pomona AAA Finals… the race pays points and a half.
Johnsons’ Suzuki, with backing from Slick 50, Tull Plumbing, MacRak, CCAR, Vintco.biz, EBC Brakes, High-Performance Oils, NGK, and Alpha Graphics, has a best elapsed time and speed of 6.832 at 196.10 in a quarter mile for the season. “We have just one thing to do at this point,” said Johnson. We need to do real well in Las Vegas. In fact winning would help a ton. So our goal is to qualify well and win first round of eliminations. Then the pressure really starts. To be totally honest, I’m still cherishing being in this Countdown to 1. We all show up every day ready to make the bike better. A Mello Yello Championship is what we want.
“Like I have said, we still may not have the best of everything, but I can promise you we are going to make the best out of everything we do have.”