WJ Rides the Learning Curve to the Brainerd Semifinals When Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Racing team brought their new Pro Stock GTO to the Lucas Oil Nationals, they knew they would be facing a learning curve in terms of the ...
WJ Rides the Learning Curve to the Brainerd Semifinals
When Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Racing team brought their new Pro Stock GTO to the Lucas Oil Nationals, they knew they would be facing a learning curve in terms of the car's performance capabilities. With only three test runs prior to their arrival at Brainerd International Raceway, they had very little tuning data to work from making every adjustment a learning experience.
They adapted extremely well in qualifying, setting low elapsed time and top speed of the weekend to capture the No. 1 starting position. However, the warmer temperatures on race day required a completely different set-up, forcing the team to rely on their experience to make the proper adjustments, including those dealing with leaving the starting line, a crucial element in the highly competitive Pro Stock category.
Although this method proved effective in the early rounds, when Johnson eliminated veterans Larry Morgan and Ron Krisher, their day came to a premature end in the semifinals when a solid 6.749-second, 205.44 mph pass fell shy of overcoming Greg Stanfield's starting line advantage and 6.768-second, 204.08 mph run. Despite the initial disappointment, Johnson was somewhat pleased with the team's first weekend with their new car, as well as it's performance potential.
"With the limited time that we've had with our GM Performance Parts GTO, we really haven't had time to work on the finer details such as the clutch linkages or other parts of the set-up. Our primary goal coming into this event was to make sure that we were able to go from Point A to Point B, and I believe we were fairly effective at doing that. Obviously, we need to leave Point A at a more appropriate time, so that is something we will work on in the next few days, when we test in St. Louis.
"Seeing how stable this car is aerodynamically, we can now start to get more aggressive with the chassis and clutch and gear, depending on the conditions you're working with, to improve the reaction time. Fortunately, it is already among the quickest in the first 60 feet, so it's now a matter of smoothing it out to improve the reaction time without sacrificing performance.
"We obviously still have a lot to learn with this car. For example, we did not touch the four-link all weekend. We came here with a nice conservative approach, and it has already shown itself to be a great car. Now we have to take what we learned here and apply it, as well as doing some additional testing to gather even more information on it, which we plan to do this week. We've gotten off to a good start -- now we just need to build on it."