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DI DRIVER BLOG: Jonathan Johnson

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Some would ask, “What the heck are you doing?” when it comes to racing a car as a hobby while operating a small business and leading a family. “How do you have the time?” “Why put the effort in?” Simply, the drive. My determination, perseverance and pure drive to race sets me apart from most. To step foot into a race car is what I live for: the drive.

And, in order to persevere through the backstory of most racers, you need that “oomph” to go racing; otherwise, the average person would not deal with some of the typical trials and tribulations it takes to race.  On the surface, it seems like a life of luxury and 24/7 fun. However, reality is that racing takes lots of hard work and long hours to even get to the racetrack, then even more once you’re there. For me, doing this, I ultimately get to do what I love, with people I love to be around.

So, what has transpired since my last posting? Lots, so hang on tight…this will be a quick drive through the last few months.

As I mentioned in my first blog post, when I started this venture, I had two partners: Brad McWilliams and another friend. In early June, Brad and I parted ways in regards to the racing program, meaning that (for me) I’d need to change directions for a few aspects of this new venture: a new shop to work from and store the equipment and a new hauler, to name a few. No big deal, right?

To handle the shop situation, my buddy Bryan Brown quickly stepped up and offered his shop to house my equipment. Bryan’s shop has plenty of room, along with all the tooling necessary to maintain these cars and great company when working.

Then, to haul said equipment. Thankfully, over the years, racing has afforded me the opportunity to network and build relationships with people from all over and all walks of life. And, when it comes to haulers, there is only one group that I’d turn to: Elite Motorsports. I’ve done business with them on many occasions and have built quite the friendship with Michael Brotherton throughout the time I’ve raced, as they have always steered me in the right direction, regardless of the class I was racing in at the time. He always takes the time to understand what I’m doing and gives the best feedback to accomplish my desires in a trailer. I reached out to Michael and explained the situation of what had transpired. He did not even hesitate and pulled through, saying that they could find the right fit for me, without a doubt.

Within a matter of a few short weeks, my racing program had been flipped upside down only to fall back in perfect place with several key players. Now that the equipment had been taken care of, it was time to finish my license cross grade and start racing. I was able to complete my licensing passes in Tulsa at the Central Region event and had originally intended to run the car at that event. However, with some small hiccups and rain literally raining on my parade (OK, if you want to call a drag race a parade), I was only able to completely my licensing passes in Bryan’s car and add the TAFC class abbreviation to my competition license again.

That weekend was productive, in the fact that we were able to finish my licensing passes, tune my car up and race Bryan’s car. But, life happened and Bryan’s car needed so extra help so the team enlisted help of notable tuner Les Davenport for the AAA Texas Nationals to start Bryan’s car in a better direction. We all felt that we had been working our tails off all season for mediocre race results and needed help to get us over that hump.

This race was good for us as we were able to test Bryan’s car with Les’s guidance the following Monday with very promising results, yet also called it a season since Bryan’s trailer was the victim of that storm that rolled through Dallas, leaving it a little lighter on the awning side.

So, with a trailer that has already been sent to Performax to be made new again, a car that has been stripped to bare frame and an engine in the shop for some winter lovings, our team is resting easy and looking for the drive of 2020.

As for my racing program in 2020, I have my eyes set on 4-6 races. At this stage in life and business, I think this is most feasible, along with some smart testing early on in the year. Stay tuned for more, as we progress, lap by lap.

Over and Out… JJ

Jonathan Johnson is the driver of the NAPA Auto Parts/JKJ Motorsports Top Alcohol Funny Car. Follow Jonathan on Facebook and Twitter.

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