Baytown: Warren Johnson Saturday summary

Warren Johnson completed his No. 1 qualifying performance at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals in dramatic fashion on Saturday at Houston Raceway Park. Entering the fourth and final qualifying session, Johnson's 6.707-second, 205.10 mph run from...

Warren Johnson completed his No. 1 qualifying performance at the NHRA O'Reilly Spring Nationals in dramatic fashion on Saturday at Houston Raceway Park. Entering the fourth and final qualifying session, Johnson's 6.707-second, 205.10 mph run from Friday night seemed to be more than enough to assure him of the top starting position for the 131st time in his career.

However, having changed engines between sessions, Johnson's GM Performance Parts Pontiac blasted down the Baytown quarter-mile in 6.696-seconds at 205.63 mph, setting low elapsed time and top speed for the event.

"We really didn't know what to expect on that last run. We knew the conditions were good enough to run quicker, but we had changed engines, using one that had never gone down the racetrack. In fact, we had just made five runs with it on the dyno before we came here.

"It has a completely different power curve from our other engines, and since we felt no one would be able to improve enough to get the No. 1 spot away from us, we thought it was an ideal opportunity to try it. We were quite surprised that it would run that quick and fast. I guess you could say it was a successful test for the GM Performance Parts Pontiac.

"With qualifying behind us, we'll take a look at our notes and come up with a game plan for eliminations. We've successfully completed the first half of our assignment here in Houston -- now we're focused on finishing the job tomorrow."

* This is the 131st No. 1 qualifying performance of WJ's career, which is the most by any professional driver in NHRA history (John Force is second with 124).

* This is WJ's 9th No. 1 qualifying performance at Houston Raceway Park.

* WJ's most recent No. 1 qualifying position was 36 races ago at the 2003 Sears Craftsman Nationals in Madison, IL.

* Ironically, WJ's most recent No. 1 starting position at HRP also came in 2003.

* 45 of WJ's 92 national event wins have come from the No. 1 starting position.

* WJ won this event from the No. 1 position in 1998, one of his five wins in Baytown.

* This is also the first No. 1 qualifying performance for the DRCE III, the third generation General Motors Drag Racing Competition Engine. Warren and his son Kurt are the only competitors in Pro Stock currently running this engine.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson