When October rolls around, the sports world is in high gear with the baseball playoffs beginning and both professional and college football in full swing. While the stick and ball sports may dominate the headlines, the stars of NHRA drag racing love when autumn arrives because the cool fall temperatures means the possibility for record-setting performances. There is no track on the 23-race NHRA POWERade circuit more conducive to yielding record times than Route 66 Raceway, just south of the Windy City, in Joliet, Ill. The NHRA tour will makes its final 2004 visit to the Joliet track, Sept. 30-Oct. 3, for the fourth annual CARQUEST Auto Parts Nationals. Racing to a new NHRA mark or personal-best elapsed time or speed is great, but stout performances don?t always equate into round wins and race victories, which is the immediate goal of Skoal RacingSM driver Tommy Johnson Jr. and his blue Skoal Racing team. ?The track at Route 66 (Raceway) has the best surface on tour,? Johnson said. ?It?s especially good with the fall conditions that we?ll experience in late September and early October. I don?t know why the track is so good. They just do an excellent job of maintaining the surface and it shows by the record performances that are turned in each time we go to Joliet. ?The Chicago races are always really fun races because the crew chiefs can throw everything they?ve got at the car,? Johnson said. ?You know you?re in for a good ride at the Joliet track because that?s about as good as it gets.? After being plagued by rain at the first Joliet event in mid-May, Johnson and the blue Skoal Racing guys are poised for a run towards the event crown this time around as the 2004 NHRA season begins to winds down. ?That race has been either really good or really bad for me,? Johnson said. ?We seem to go to the final round or struggle to qualify, and it?s about time for a good event for the blue Skoal Racing team.? Tommy Johnson?s Chicago Memory "I got my Funny Car license at Route 66 Raceway in 1999 in Joe Gibbs? Interstate Batteries car. I made my last pass in a dragster and first pass in a Funny Car at Joliet.? 2004 NHRA Funny Car Point Standings 1. John Force (4) 1457 - - - 2. Gary Scelzi (1) 1229 228 out 3. Del Worsham (4) 1221 236 out 4. Whit Bazemore (2) 1207 250 out 5. Gary Densham (2) 1143 314 out 6. Eric Medlen (1) 1131 326 out 7. Tim Wilkerson (2) 1071 386 out 8. Cruz Pedregon 1007 450 out 9. Phil Burkart Jr. (2) 987 470 out 10. Tony Pedregon 959 498 out 11. TOMMY JOHNSON JR. 740 717 out Tommy Johnson?s Career Results at Route 66 Raceway (Fall Race) Year Qualified Finish & Winning Driver 2001 No. 6 Second round?Tony Pedregon 2002 No. 10 Semifinals?Ron Capps 2003 No. 7 First round?Ron Capps Tommy Johnson?s Chicago 2 Schedule Date & Time Location Thurs. Sept. 30 6:30 p.m. Heroes & Legends (2400 W. Jefferson St., Joliet, IL 60435?815-741-9201) 8:00 p.m. Leo?s (201 E. Romeo Rd., Romeoville, IL 60446?815-886-8500) Fri., Oct. 1 4, 7 p.m. FC Qualifying Sessions 1&2 Sat., Oct. 2 1, 4 p.m. FC Qualifying Sessions 3&4 Sun., Oct. 3 10 a.m. Pre-race Ceremonies 11 a.m. Final Eliminations Tommy Johnson?s Career-Best Performances E.T.?4.765 seconds Madison, Ill. June 2004 MPH?324.90 mph Madison, Ill. June 2004
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Joliet, IL 60433
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