Englishtown: Warren Johnson preview

Warren Johnson Has Weathered It All in Englishtown GM Performance Parts team Ready to Tackle Summer Conditions at Raceway Park SUGAR HILL, GA., June 15, 2004 - This weekend, GM Performance Parts pilot Warren Johnson will make his 28th appearance...

Warren Johnson Has Weathered It All in Englishtown
GM Performance Parts team Ready to Tackle Summer Conditions at Raceway Park

SUGAR HILL, GA., June 15, 2004 - This weekend, GM Performance Parts pilot Warren Johnson will make his 28th appearance at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, a competitive endeavor that has spanned four decades. During that time, he has faced 44 different drivers in 57 elimination rounds, scoring four wins in five final round appearances under conditions varying from extreme cold to blazing heat.

Therefore, "The Professor" is unfazed by this year's schedule change that moved the NHRA SuperNationals from the first week of May to Father's Day weekend, taking a pragmatic approach to the different atmospheric conditions that the POWERade Drag Racing Series will face in New Jersey this weekend.

"I've seen just about every type of weather you can imagine while racing in Englishtown, including a threat of snow during a match race in March," said Johnson. "I remember when this race was called the Summernationals and was held in the middle of July. The temperature would go up to 112 degrees - it was merciless out there. Then, just a few years ago, it was close to freezing.

"Whatever the conditions are, they will be the same for everyone. It will probably be a little hotter this weekend than it has been in previous years, and with the amount of cars they normally have at this race, there should be a lot of rubber on the track, so the NHRA's track preparation will be a key. A team's success will come down to doing a better job than the competition of adapting to what the track will give us, which is what we plan to do with our GM Performance Parts Grand Am."

Fortunately, the location of this weekend's race should help to minimize the impact of the higher temperatures. As the premier drag racing facility in the Northeast, Raceway Park has been the site of memorable quarter-mile performances for almost forty years. Although the conditions will not be conducive to the national record runs seen in previous years, the racing surface is acknowledged as one of the best on the circuit, and is therefore capable of delivering an outstanding weekend of racing.

"It should only be slightly warmer than what we've been used to, so the surface should be fine," explained Johnson. "Certainly the higher temperatures will result in our having less horsepower, but the track for the most part will handle anything we can throw at it. If it gets really hot, however, it could make things a little more interesting.

"The worse the conditions get, the more I believe it favors us, because we've raced on all types of tracks under all sorts of conditions. Many teams will make wholesale changes in extreme conditions instead of the appropriate ones, which normally result in getting way off their normal routine, and consequently their performance suffers. In that instance, our experience should help us to make the proper adjustments.

"Our primary focus this weekend will be to avoid the self-inflicted wounds that have affected our performance in the last few races. I think we're getting closer to where we want our GM Performance Parts Grand Am to be, performance-wise, and expect a strong showing this weekend in Englishtown."

In Warren's Words -

On driving on a hot race track:

"I like a loose race track. After all, that's why they put the steering wheel in the race car. When you have to drive the full length of the track, it's more fun. I have always said that race cars are meant to be driven, not just squirted out like stepping on a tube of toothpaste."

Facts on Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Racing Team entering The SuperNationals:

* WJ Excels in Englishtown: This will be Warren's 28th NHRA Pro Stock national event appearance at Raceway Park, where he has four wins (tied for the most ever by a Pro Stock driver) in five final round appearances, and a 34-23 elimination round record for a .596 win percentage.

* Warren's Qualifying Stats at Raceway Park: In his 27 previous starts in Englishtown, WJ has five No. 1 qualifying positions, with a strong 4.33 average starting position, with only four starts outside the top half (with three of those coming in his first five races in New Jersey).

* One year ago: WJ qualified tenth with an elapsed time of 6.715 seconds and a top speed of 205.69 mph, and advanced to the quarterfinals.

* Winning Streak: Warren Johnson is looking to extend a streak where has won at least one race a year for 22 consecutive years, which is the longest in NHRA history.

* No. 1 in National event wins: WJ's 92 national event victories are the most ever in the history of the Pro Stock division and place him second on the all-time NHRA win list. His most recent win came last year at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Reading, PA.

* Career best elapsed time: 6.715 seconds, Englishtown 2003

* Career best top speed: 205.69 mph, Englishtown 2003

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson