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Monday Conversation II: Chad Johnson

Hailing from nearby Rhinelander, Wisconsin, it was only fitting that Chad Johnson would capture his second Toyota AMA National Arenacross Championship in Green Bay. By finishing third in Friday and Saturday night’s mains, Johnson once again has the #1 plate on his bike. Celebrating with family and friends, I tracked down the new Toyota AMA Arenacross Champ moments after getting the keys to his new Toyota Tacoma. 

Racer X: Chad, congratulations on winning your second Arenacross Championship.
Chad Johnson: Thanks Jim; I’m really pumped! It was really great to get the first one, and now just as great to get the second one. It’s taken a lot of hard work by me and the entire team. My Bad Boy Power Drink/ Thor/Cernics.com/TUF Racing Honda has been working awesome for me this year. We’ve been getting some decent starts, and staying consistent – that’s what it takes to win these.

Did you ride any differently this weekend knowing that you would likely take the title?
Actually pretty much since Pikesville, I’ve been riding differently than I normally ride, just trying to stay consistent—and trying to stay on two wheels. I haven’t been taking any unnecessary chances, or bumping anyone. I’ve just been attempting to ride as clean and smooth as possible. From Pikesville on it didn’t really matter if I won or not; it just mattered that I stayed consistent.

Is consistency the key to winning an Arenacross title?
I really think that is the key to winning any championship. Whenever you have a series that is fifteen races long, it just takes consistency. You simply cannot win one race and be on the ground the next; you have to be up near the front every time.

There were maybe ten different race winners in this series, but it appears that Kelly Smith offered up the most competition for you?
Yeah definitely, Denny Bartz (Monster Energy Babbitt’s Kawasaki team manager) put together a good team, and Kelly (Smith) and Brock (Sellards) were going very fast. But there were actually a handful of guys out there besides those two that were riding well. Everyone out there had the speed to win, but as a team, Kelly and Brock definitely had their stuff together. They were solid and consistent. Fortunately, I was just a little more consistent.

Adding onto that, you’ve now signed with Babbitt’s to race the remaining 2008 Supercross races, right?
Yeah I’m very excited about it. Junior Jackson is going to build me a 450 to do some AMA Supercrosses on. It should be fun. Brock, Kelly, and I finished third, second, and first in Arenacross, so it should be a good time out there. It shouldn’t be to stressful; we’ll just go out there, put our heads down, and do what we know to do.

What about after supercross ends?
After supercross I’m just going to go home for the summer and work for my parents’ concrete business. I’ll hang out with the family, play on the boat for a little bit, and then get ready for next season – and hopefully put something good together.

Any closing thoughts Chad?
I appreciate all the help from everyone; my wife and girls, my parents, and all those at Bad Boy, Cernic’s Racing, and TUF Honda—Dave Antolak, Chris Hunter, Tracin Zing, and my mechanic Nate Vick. It takes a good team to go out there and win – you definitely cannot do it by yourself! 

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