Englishtown: Pro Stock heats up at SuperNationals

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. - Warren Johnson has a nickname for a reason. The six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion is methodical in the way he operates his team. He is responsible for much of the technology that has put the Pro Stock category in the six-second...

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. - Warren Johnson has a nickname for a reason. The six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion is methodical in the way he operates his team. He is responsible for much of the technology that has put the Pro Stock category in the six-second range. He also has taught two drivers in particular the ends and outs of racing, and they are No. 1 and 2 in the points. Johnson is absolutely "The Professor."

So it is no surprise that Johnson recently graded his performance after the first six events of the season. He gives himself and the GM Performance Parts Pontiac Grand Am a B- for the early part of the season. Just a B-? Well, what did you expect? The Professor has won two races (Pomona and Atlanta) which is five less than he expects of himself.

Johnson has lost in the first round just once, and is No. 3 in the points after the first seven races of the season. He sits just behind Pro Stock points leader and son Kurt Johnson and No. 2 Greg Anderson - Warren Johnson's former crew chief.

"I give our team a B- because essentially we could have won more races already, but didn't," Johnson said. "I have high expectations for our team, and I know we can increase our performance during eliminations."

Johnson would like nothing more than to earn another victory during the 34th annual K&N Filters NHRA SuperNationals presented by Pep Boys at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, May 17-18. Kenny Bernstein, Gary Densham, Anderson and Antron Brown are the defending winners in their respective categories for the $2.1 million race, the eighth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

Johnson has 90 victories during his career, but hasn't won at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park since 1993 when he beat his son in the final round.

Not only will Johnson have to battle his son, but Anderson as well. Kurt Johnson has the points lead and three national event victories to his credit for the season so far, but Anderson has made waves in the two-door category as well, earning two wins and the No. 2 spot in the points.

Taking his former bosses' lead, Anderson was quick to grade his team as well.

"I would give us a B+ so far," Anderson said of the Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am team. "I think we are in good shape and I am satisfied with what we have done, and yet I know there is still room for improvement.

"We are ahead of schedule as far as expectations of what this team could do this season, but I also know that we are capable of even more. I tend to think that we are not quite as good as we can be, but we are working on it. I know I have higher expectations for a reason."

Sound familiar? Like professor, like student. While Warren Johnson has not picked up a win at Englishtown in 10 seasons, Anderson is the defending event winner.

"Englishtown is always a fast track," Anderson said. "It is usually not hot and they have a good racing surface. It is one of my favorites and I am looking forward to going out there and defending the event title. The data we have for this event is very important. The tracks usually don't change year-after-year, and keeping the data on each run is a very important part of racing. We have to keep good notes if we want to go back there and avoid starting from scratch."

The top eight Pro Stock drivers will also have a chance at earning a $50,000 bonus during the King Demon Crown on Saturday, May 17. Anderson is optimistic about racing in the specialty event.

"This is the first time that I get to race in the bonus event and I am looking forward to it," he said. "I think we have a good shot at winning it."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Kenny Bernstein , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Gary Densham