Jonnie Lindberg, a two-time NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car Series champion, knew when he graduated to a nitromethane version of the car he’d mastered, things would be much quicker. The Swedish-born Lindberg expected the action behind the wheel to be this way. His success on the track, not so much.
Lindberg’s first two races have resulted in two final round appearances behind the wheel of the Jim Head, Head Incorporated Toyota Funny Car.
“Only having three runs with a (Funny Car) before Gainesville, I really didn’t know what to expect,” Lindberg said. “We jumped in the car in Gainesville just hoping to make it down the track, and we made the finals, and then did it again in Vegas. It’s been great. It’s a good combination with Jim (Head, crew chief, and team owner) and I. I don’t really think about the car in the other lane. I think it’s a good combo we’ve got going and it’s working really well.”
Lindberg earned his fuel Funny Car license last October behind the wheel of Tim Wilkerson’s Funny Car with a 3.91 elapsed time on the Monday following the NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. The licensing run would have placed him as high as ninth in the Funny Car field for the weekend’s event.
With the exception of beating Gary Densham in the semis at Las Vegas, Lindberg has been tough on the major teams scoring victories over tough runners J.R. Todd [Kalitta], Robert Hight [Force], Matt Hagan [Schumacher], Ron Capps [Schumacher] and Jack Beckman [Schumacher]. His final round losses came at the hands of John Force and Tommy Johnson Jr.
“When you’re that close it’s almost worse to be runner-up than lose in the first round because you are so close,” Lindberg said. “We just want to win now, and of course we’re going to try for that. That’s always been my goal, even if it is my rookie season. I just try to do my thing and make as good of a run as I can. You can be up and down quick in this sport, so hopefully we can keep it rolling and do well. If we stink one week, we’ll just go back and try harder the next week.”
Lindberg understands what the team needs to achieve to take their success to the next level.
“We need to continue to work on getting our E.T. better, and I have to cut my reaction times,” Lindberg said. “Those are the important things right now. Jim is really good at getting the car down the track and that’s big. It’s hard to win if you smoke the tires. Now we just need to make it a little faster. We have the power, and this is a team that works really hard.”
Bobby Bennett is the Publisher/Editor of CompetitionPlus.com, a leading independent online drag racing magazine, since 1999. For the latest in dragster news worldwide, visit www.competitionplus.com or follow on Twitter @competitionplus