Bristol: Warren Johnson preview

The Professor is poised to be the best in Bristol. GM Performance Parts Grand Am driver ready to repeat as Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals champion Sugar Hill, Ga., April 21, 2003 - Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Racing team...

The Professor is poised to be the best in Bristol.
GM Performance Parts Grand Am driver ready to repeat as Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals champion

Sugar Hill, Ga., April 21, 2003 - Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Racing team return to Bristol Dragway this weekend as the defending champions of the Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals. After qualifying seventh a year ago, "The Professor" disposed of fellow drivers Gene Wilson, George Marnell and V. Gaines before capping his day with a thrilling holeshot victory over Ron Krisher in the final to earn his first national event title at one of the premier facilities on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing circuit.

"Our win last year was one of those days where everything fell into place" recalled Johnson. "Although we weren't running all that well by our standards, our GM Performance Parts Grand Am's performance was certainly competitive, and I probably had one of my better days of driving. Between the two, we were able to eke out a win."

Last year's success earned Johnson the unique distinction of being the only professional driver to have reached the winner's circle in both Bristol Dragway renditions, having scored multiple wins at the older facility in the 1970's and 80's prior to its total transformation to its current state-of-the-art configuration in the late 1990's.

"Trying to compare Bristol Dragway as it exists today, to the track we raced on in the '70's and '80's is like trying to describe the difference between day and night," stated Johnson. "Just as he has with his track in Las Vegas, Bruton Smith has elevated the bar as to what a modern-day drag racing facility should be.

"Spectators receive all the proper amenities, from elevators in the towers and suites to great views from everywhere in the grandstand. The racers are treated in a similar manner. Any problems are quickly addressed and rectified. For example, there were a few issues in the beginning with the race track, but those have been corrected to where I don't think you can find a finer racing surface."

Coming off his national record-setting performance in Houston, Johnson seems poised to score his second win of 2003. However, much like a year ago, the highly competitive nature of the Pro Stock division leaves no room for error, with a near-perfect performance necessary for the GM Performance Parts crew to repeat as the winners in Thunder Valley.

"We've been working on all facets of our racing operation since last year, knowing full well that Pro Stock would be even more competitive in 2003," detailed Johnson. "You need look no further than what happened in Houston two weeks ago, where we lost by two 10/1000ths of a second. When it's that close, every piece of the puzzle needs to be in place.

"We've obviously made some progress in the performance department, and we continue to work on the driving aspect. Although we are far from dominating, we're at the point that if we pay attention to what we're doing, and I do my job as far as driving is concerned, our GM Performance Parts Grand Am should certainly be able to win."

-jgk-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Ron Krisher , Gene Wilson , George Marnell