Innovator WJ Appreciates Meyer's Efforts at the Motorplex; GM Performance Parts GXP racer looks to add to record at Ennis quarter-mile Sugar Hill, Ga., September 18, 2008 -- Throughout his Hall of Fame career, Warren Johnson has been one of...
Innovator WJ Appreciates Meyer's Efforts at the Motorplex; GM Performance Parts GXP racer looks to add to record at Ennis quarter-mile
Sugar Hill, Ga., September 18, 2008 -- Throughout his Hall of Fame career, Warren Johnson has been one of the leading innovators in the sport of drag racing. When not behind the wheel of his GM Performance Parts Pontiac GXP, he can be found deep in his research & development work, searching for ways to improve his team's performance. It is a long and labor-intensive process, involving hours of experimentation, the results of which are not always readily apparent to others.
However, as the POWERade Drag Racing Series heads to the Lone Star State for this weekend's O'Reilly Fall nationals, Johnson wanted to acknowledge the significant contribution made by someone else, namely Texas Motorplex owner Billy Meyer, who 22 years ago introduced the sport to the all-concrete racing surface.
"What is often overlooked when discussing racetracks is how Billy Meyer was essentially a visionary, building the first concrete racing surface, which still stands today and on which we'll race our GM Performance Parts GXP this weekend," said Johnson. "At the time, I remember he was roundly chastised for doing it, but today a concrete track is the direction many of the newer tracks are taking, including the state-of-the-art facility we just left in North Carolina.
"When he built the Motorplex, the norm at other tracks was a 60-foot long concrete launching pad, after which there was asphalt. Over time, the length of concrete used has grown to 300 feet and then an eighth of a mile, which is now almost the standard, with a few having concrete for the entire quarter-mile. Any way you look at it, the Motorplex was simply ahead of its time."
The six-time champion is uniquely qualified to discuss the merits of the Ennis quarter-mile, having participated in all 25 national events held there prior to this weekend. A review of previous races shows that it has been a good track for The Professor, whose five wins and eleven final round appearances pace the Pro Stock category.
"An all-concrete track can give you a false sense of security, because, if properly groomed, it has bite all the way through the finish line," said Johnson. "Unfortunately, due to the relatively few undulations in the surface, the groove ends up being rather narrow, and if you end up out of it, there's trouble in River City. In addition, I believe it's easier to clean up after the invariable oil downs by our nitro-burning brethren as the oil cannot penetrate as far into the substrate as it does in an asphalt surface.
"Fortunately, our tune-up seems well-suited to this type of surface, with both Kurt and myself scoring multiple wins there over the years, allowing us to assemble a tremendous notebook on the track's characteristics. On top of that, we're coming directly from racing on a concrete track in Concord, where my GM Performance Parts GXP ran extremely well. Hopefully, we'll be able to put all that information to good use this weekend, delivering the type of performance we know we're capable of."