WJ Records a Runner-up Finish in Atlanta Atlanta, GA, April 29, 2007 - Warren Johnson put a fitting end to his International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction weekend on Sunday, powering his GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO to a runner-up ...
WJ Records a Runner-up Finish in Atlanta
Atlanta, GA, April 29, 2007 - Warren Johnson put a fitting end to his International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction weekend on Sunday, powering his GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO to a runner-up finish at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, GA. It was the 150th final round appearance of WJ's illustrious Pro Stock career, first of the 2007 season and ninth at Atlanta Dragway.
"Things went along rather nicely for the GM Performance Parts GTO crew today," said Johnson. "Coming into eliminations, we elected to stick with the set-up we had used in qualifying, even though it was not the one we had been using for the last three or four races. However, since we had so much time invested in it, we felt it would serve us better than trying to go back, and it almost worked to perfection.
"We're certainly not happy losing in the final, but at least we were able to get there, which is a major step forward for our program. We also made an incremental gain in the points standings, which was another one of our goals. Finally, we will be able to take what we learned today and apply it to both (son) Kurt's and my cars, which we believe will help us maintain our forward progress. All around, it was a pretty good day."
Starting from the 15th position after battling to get a handle on their race car in qualifying, Johnson gained an easy win over No. 2 qualifier Allen Johnson in the first round when he left the starting line six thousandths of a second too early. In the second round, WJ overcame the lack of lane choice to post a solid 6.702-second elapsed time with a top speed of 205.85 mph to trailer veteran Larry Morgan. Finally, he used another solid 6.737-second, 205.60 mph pass to defeat Richie Stevens in the semifinals, setting the stage for a final round match-up against rival and No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson.
Once again racing without lane choice and facing an apparent performance advantage, Johnson knew he would need a near-perfect effort to score his 97th career national event win. Leaving the line in unison with his opponent, he deftly maneuvered the less-preferred left hand lane in 6.719-seconds at a speed of 205.79 mph. Unfortunately, it was not enough to overcome his opponent's quicker 6.671-second time. Despite his initial disappointment, Johnson was pleased with the progress made by his Terry Adams-led crew.
"We came back after qualifying to make some pretty decent runs today," said Johnson. "The track was 133 degrees today, which normally doesn't bode well for these Pro Stock cars, and we saw a number of runs in the left hand lane where people flat couldn't get down the track. However, we were able to successfully negotiate both lanes making us pretty happy overall. Although some make look at this as a good end to my Hall of Fame weekend, I prefer to see it as the beginning of our year."
In only his sixth race with the team, Terry Adams was also pleased with their showing, and looked forward to building on these results in the future.
"This GM Performance Parts GTO crew had an awesome weekend, and if Kurt's car had been a little better, we would have had both our cars in the final," said Adams. "We missed the set-up a little bit in qualifying, but we worked on it today and got it a little better, Warren did a great job behind the wheel and we made it to the final. That's all we had today, but we're going to go back to the shop, work on our engines and make our race car a little better, and hopefully go on to the next race and win that one."