Likely, Jonnie Lindberg’s stint as a substitute driver for Bob Tasca III at the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals will be a one-and-done experience. Still, for the talented fuel driver and even more experienced Top Alcohol competitor, the opportunity to drive a front-running fuel car was a situation he intended to make the most of.
This reality is why Lindberg wanted to make an impression with the first hit.
“I knew there was only going to be two qualifiers, so I was ready to pedal it if I needed to,” Lindberg said. “This team, they have their stuff together. Between Mike Neff and Jon Shaffer, it’s, they’re really smart. I had a lot of confidence going into Q1 because we did pretty good in testing.”
Lindberg has driven for two of the best hands-on team owners, Jim Head and Tim Wilkerson. In each instance, he quickly adapted to the nuances of each car. Understanding the language Tasca’s Mustang spoke was the key to making a quick adjustment.
“I can feel the difference how they react and stuff, and their routine is just, it’s just different between every team have their way to do things,” Lindberg explained. “This car drives really good. It’s straight down a groove, and I don’t need to steer it much. It’s a little bit like normal half track on. It’s a big honor.”
Lindberg’s day ended in the quarter-finals, dropping a tough match against Tim Wilkerson. There’s a strong likelihood Tasca will be medically cleared in time for the Lucas Oil NHRA Summernationals, July 18-19.
Though it may not have been his intention, Lindberg’s performance may very well have established his resume as a quality substitute driver since NHRA allows for this practice amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
“If somebody wants me to fill in I’m up for it because right now I don’t have obligations to the sponsors, nobody yet to run my own fuel operation,” Lindberg said. “My plan next year is just to go back to race with my family car and race alcohol funny car again.
“But yeah, like if Bob [or someone else] wants me to drive more, hey, I’m up. Maybe he’s you know, you never know like I’m almost ready. I keep my license current.”
One of the most delightfully talkative personalities in all of motorsports – in all of sports – hasn’t been talking about why he isn’t participating in this race that’s unfolding about two miles from his race-team building. #DragRacingNews – https://t.co/HrJIZvpgnc pic.twitter.com/5qEkhU1VYB
— Competition Plus (@competitionplus) July 12, 2020