Tommy Johnson Jr. has reached the pinnacle of NHRA drag racing on many different levels. The second generation racer from Iowa is one of 13 drivers to have earned NHRA victories in both the Top Fuel and Funny Car categories, the two premier classes in the sport of drag racing. He also drove an alcohol Funny Car to an NHRA national event victory in 1988.


Ask the spectacle-clad driver which of the 20 race tracks on the NHRA circuit he enjoys racing at the most and without hesitation he¿ll say Las Vegas. Johnson has had pretty good success at the Bruton Smith-owned track since joining Don Prudhomme Racing prior to the 2001 NHRA campaign.


¿Las Vegas is absolutely my favorite race on the tour,¿ Johnson said. ¿The best thing about Gainesville being over is that Vegas is the next race on the schedule. I don¿t know what it is about the place, but I just enjoy racing there. If NHRA ran all 23 races at Vegas, it would be fine with me. The breaks seem to go my way at The Strip. It¿s a fun race and I¿m really relaxed at Las Vegas.¿


T.J. captured his only victory under the Snake Racing umbrella at The Strip in 2001 and scored a runner-up finish the following season. Johnson and his Skoal Racing Chevy Monte Carlo aim for another successful weekend in Sin City when the NHRA returns to the desert for the fifth annual NHRA Nationals, April 1-4, at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.


After qualifying in the top half of the Funny Car order at the past two NHRA events in Arizona and Florida where he advanced to round two during eliminations, the Indianapolis resident is confident that his Mike Green-tuned Chevy Funny Car will once again see success at The Strip.


¿I¿m as confident as ever heading into Las Vegas,¿ Johnson said. ¿What lifted my spirits after Gainesville was looking at points and seeing us in the top 10. We haven¿t done as well as we should have, but we¿re only 2 1/2 rounds out of second place. So, we¿re still in the hunt and have a chance to make a run at the POWERade championship.


¿If we can leave Vegas in the top five we¿ll be in good shape. Our goal is to win the race and move into the top five in the Funny Car points. We¿ve qualified better recently and moved into the Skoal Showdown. The Skoal Racing crew is making improvements and we¿re continuing to go forward. As soon as we figure out the consistency we¿ll be a contender, but none of that matters at Vegas because I have history on my side.¿


History is an important, unexplainable factor in the drag racing world. Some drivers just seem to have success at certain race tracks no matter what adversity they¿re faced with. With a little consistency, there¿s an excellent chance that Johnson and Don Prudhomme¿s Skoal Racing Chevy Funny Car will ride the wave of past success into the winner¿s circle at The Strip.