MORRISON, CO. 7/24/11 Pro Stock Motorcycle racer Steve Johnson of Irondale, Ala. is considered by many to be a pretty confident guy, but lately his racing fortunes have had him wondering. But, after a pretty good showing at the NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Denver this weekend, he knows his team is headed in the right direction.
“ We ran well in qualifying,” he said as the team prepared to head to Sonoma, California for the Fram/Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma next weekend. “We ran some strong elapsed times, particularly considering this is a high altitude track, and we qualified in the top half of the field, and that’s where you need to be,” he said. “But, we had a mechanical problem in the first round, and that ended our day early. Even though we lost, we’re encouraged by how well we performed on Friday and Saturday. Now we have to put it together for the whole weekend.
Johnson heads into this coming weekend’s race in Sonoma needing a good result to help get his Suzuki-running team closer to the Top 10 standings. “That’s what this is all about,” Johnsons said. “We absolutely have to qualify for the Countdown to 1 playoffs. We’re close, but we’re not quite there, and as frustrating as that is, we have to concentrate on the job at hand, and that’s running hard at the Fram/Autolite Nationals.”
Crew chief Tim Kulungian is looking forward to next weekend’s outing, too. “That track is just about at sea level, while the one we raced on this weekend is 5,280 feet on the starting line. We ran really well up here, so if we can translate what we did here to sea level, oh man, I can’t wait!”
Johnson added, “Infineon Raceway is in California’s wine country. I’d like nothing better than to share a good bottle of a great vintage with my guys in the winner’s circle in Sonoma. We’re really overdue for a great result, and I think it’s going to come next weekend in California!”
Johnson joined NHRA Top Fuel driver David Grubnic in Montana to film an upcoming segment on driver and rider training. The feature is shot with two specially prepared Pivot Works dirt bikes that David and Steve rode near Yellow Stone National Park and will air on ESPN2 within the next 2 weeks.
NEXT: NHRA Fram/Autolite Nationals, Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, California, July 29-31. Exclusive television coverage of qualifying and eliminations appears on ESPN2. Check local listings for broadcast times.