In a 1997 Thunderbird, Shawn Johnson blasted to mid-9s in NMRA Aerospace Components Open Comp in his first year competing in the series in 2001.
He cruised to the class championship the following year, but wanting to high-tail it to heads-up competition, he moved to a 1999 Mustang Cobra in 2004 and earned a championship in Richmond Gear Factory Stock in 2005 and 2006 with a 4-Valve and manual transmission, and earned another championship in Pure Street in 2010 with a 2-Valve and manual transmission.
While he sailed to a 9.65 to set a record for the quickest naturally aspirated 2-Valve at the 18th Annual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky last fall and stayed with the class until its cancellation soon after, he’s setting his sights on the NMRA’s new heads-up category, Limited Street, which will debut as an invitational shootout during the 19th Annual Nitto NMRA All-Ford World Finals, Sept. 28-Oct. 1, 2017 at Beech Bend Raceway in Kentucky before being contested at all six NMRA races in 2018.
He’ll rely on his current 2-Valve engine and manual transmission, and while he won’t immediately enhance it with a power-adder, he said he’ll pay close attention to category rules as they develop to determine whether he’ll keep that combination naturally aspirated or add a power-adder.
But meanwhile, he’ll climb into the driver’s seat of Jay Dold’s 2003 Mustang Mach 1 to rumble in Richmond Factory Stock at the 12th Annual Nitto NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street Legal Drag Racing, July 27-30, 2017 at Route 66 Raceway in Illinois.
The car is powered by a 4-Valve and manual transmission, and rolls on recently updated suspension components.
“Jay hasn’t had time to work on his combination,” said Johnson. “Because I have been running a combination comparable to his for the past couple years, and have a history of running 4-Valves in Factory Stock and making it work, I’m setting his car up for him.”
The Byron Center, Michigan-based driver has been in possession of the car for about a month, and while he has been testing at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, he declines to share more than he and the car are ready for the hot and humid conditions that the race at Route 66 Raceway traditionally brings, and that he’s confident the car’s elapsed-times will surprise some of his fellow racers.
“We put a call-out video on Facebook to let everyone know we’re coming,” said Johnson, with a laugh. “It was especially directed toward all of the guys running automatic transmissions rather than manual transmissions. We went over the top with the video, and we’ve had fun with it, and we think other people have, too, because it currently has over 3,000 views.”
Johnson, who added that he’s likely to be sporting one of his newly-designed “Danger Close Racing” T-shirts at the race, is supported in his efforts by his wife, Christine Johnson, Andy Smith from Pro Tree Race Cars and Paul Svinicki from Paul’s High Performance.