Indy ORP: Warren Johnson preview

The Professor Looks to Achieve a Perfect Balance in Indy GM Performance Parts racer sets sights on seventh win at "The Big Go" Sugar Hill, Ga., August 29, 2007 -- It can be argued that the level of appreciation a person has for the science...

The Professor Looks to Achieve a Perfect Balance in Indy
GM Performance Parts racer sets sights on seventh win at "The Big Go"

Sugar Hill, Ga., August 29, 2007 -- It can be argued that the level of appreciation a person has for the science and technological challenge of drag racing is inversely proportional to the amount of exposure they have had to the sport. For example, a newcomer witnessing his first race might question the difficulty in taming a straight quarter-mile track, not realizing the expertise needed to effectively transfer the 1,400-horsepower produced by a modern Pro Stock car to an ever-changing racing surface.

In a similar vein, those watching Warren Johnson in his GM Performance Parts GTO might think everything was working properly, based on his improved qualifying and elimination round performance in recent races. Watching the distinctive yellow and blue hot rod, few might realize the tremendous effort and skill required by the six-time champion simply to get it down the track. Entering this weekend's Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN, however, the man acknowledged as "The Professor of Pro Stock" is hoping to make his job in the cockpit as easy as it looks on the outside.

"Although we've been somewhat successful over the last few races, we believe we have yet to extract the maximum performance from our GM Performance Parts GTO, simply because it hasn't been going straight," stated Johnson. "We've done as much due diligence as we can in trying to correct the problem, trying to get the right balance in the car. We feel that we're right on the edge, and now it's just a matter of getting it over the hump.

"This weekend's race is a big one in more ways than one, so before heading to Indianapolis, we'll spend two days testing in St. Louis, gathering information and hopefully getting a firm handle on this race car. This will be our first true test session since May, and we want to make sure we quite literally have the kinks out of it."

Should Johnson and his Terry Adams-led crew get their race car fully up to speed, it could not come at a more opportune time, as the POWERade Drag Racing season is reaching a critical point. Not only is this weekend's race the biggest in all of drag racing, and one every competitor wants on his or her racing resume, but it also marks the start of the NHRA's second season, the Countdown to Four. With the contenders in all four professional categories narrowed down to eight and separated by only 80 points, every round takes on championship implications. Steeled by the experience of six U.S. Nationals wins and half-dozen Pro Stock championships, WJ brings a typically pragmatic attitude to O'Reilly Raceway Park on what promises to be a pressure-packed weekend.

"Over the years, we've done relatively well in Indianapolis, including winning a few," said Johnson. "It's a race that everyone gears up for. Whether you call it our Daytona 500 or Indy 500, it comes down to the fact that the U.S. Nationals are the highlight of the drag racing season, the premiere event that every competitor wants to win. As I've often said, you may win a championship, but if you never win Indy, your resume is a little hollow.

"Coming into this race, we're also happy to be part of the Countdown to Four. Although we're not seeded as high as we would have liked, the primary goal was simply to make it in, and we've done that. After all, you can't launch a strike without a spot from which to start your attack. However, with only four races before the next cut down, there is even less room for error, so this GM Performance Parts Pontiac crew has to get to work."

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Terry Adams