FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 WARREN JOHNSON TO KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON COMPETITION AT GATEWAY MADISON, Ill. -- Don't be surprised if Warren Johnson spends more time than usual watching other categories of...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 WARREN JOHNSON TO KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON COMPETITION AT GATEWAY MADISON, Ill. -- Don't be surprised if Warren Johnson spends more time than usual watching other categories of racing during the inaugural Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. Johnson, nicknamed "The Professor," will need to study as many cars' runs as possible to help him devise a tuneup for his GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac Firebird because he, like nearly every Pro Stock competitor, has never raced on the new track at Gateway. "It makes you a little more observant of the cars before you," Johnson said. "You evaluate them to see if they're having any problems." New tracks usually pose few problems to Johnson, from Duluth, Ga. He won the Pennzoil Nationals presented by Trak Auto in June 1995 during the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series debut at Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond, Va. Johnson will try to continue his success at new tracks during the $1,468,950 Sears Craftsman Nationals, June 26-29 at Gateway International Raceway. The race is the 11th event of the 22-event, $30-million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series in 1997. In late April and early May, Johnson appeared unstoppable. He became the first NHRA Pro Stock driver to exceed 200 mph and set NHRA elapsed-time and speed national records of 6.883 seconds, 200.53 mph. He won two consecutive races and took the point lead from his archrival, defending Winston champion Jim Yates. But Johnson hasn't advanced past the quarterfinals in the last three races, falling to second. "I don't get into panic mode," Johnson said. "The only time you need to be worried is after the final round of the final race."

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Series General
Drivers Warren Johnson