Friday's Q1 is a Top Priority for WJ and Crew in Joliet GM Performance Parts GTO crew targets strong opening run at Route 66 Raceway Sugar Hill, Ga., June 6, 2007 -- Racing in the NHRA's Pro Stock division is certainly not for the faint of heart.
Friday's Q1 is a Top Priority for WJ and Crew in Joliet
GM Performance Parts GTO crew targets strong opening run at Route 66 Raceway
Sugar Hill, Ga., June 6, 2007 -- Racing in the NHRA's Pro Stock division is certainly not for the faint of heart. With the final qualifying spot often decided by a top speed tiebreaker and the difference between winning and losing on Sunday measured in ten thousandths of a second, competitors know they must be at their very best every time they pull up to the starting line.
As the most successful racer in the history of the "factory hot rods", Warren Johnson is well aware of what it takes to win in this most competitive category. Therefore, despite having only four days to prepare for this weekend's Torco Racing Fuels Nationals in Joliet, IL, both he and his GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO Racing team know that, in order to succeed, they must attend to every minor detail prior to the start of qualifying on Friday.
"As we illustrated in Topeka one week ago, the first qualifying session is just as important as the first round of eliminations," stated Johnson. "It sets the tone for the weekend. If you make a successful run, putting you well into the field, you have the liberty to experiment to try and improve. If not, you have to weigh how aggressive your tune-up can be while still making it down the track to get in the show. Just like on Sunday, if you don't perform, you could be headed home.
"For example, last week, we had a freak mechanical failure on Friday, which had us playing catch-up for the rest of the weekend. Basically, we ended up at the wrong end of the qualifying order, running in the first or second pair on a track that improved as cars ran on it. Fortunately, we were able to get in on our last attempt, but in a position where we did not have lane choice. Although we were the only car to significantly improve our performance in the less-preferred right hand lane, it was too late to help us advance.
"The good news is that we headed in the right direction, recovered enough to qualify when other good race cars did not, and learned a valuable lesson. For this weekend's race in Joliet, the entire GM Performance Parts crew is committed to paying attention to every detail, no matter how small, making sure everything on our GTO is in order for Q1."
Since joining the POWERade Drag Racing circuit in 1998, Route 66 Raceway's unique stadium design and consistent racing surface have made it a favorite of both the racers and the fans. It has been the sight of competitive highs and lows for "The Professor", as his two wins, three final round appearances and twin No. 1 qualifying performances are somewhat tempered by other showings he would prefer to forget. Armed with a solid notebook of tuning data, Johnson and his Terry Adams-led crew head into this year's edition cautiously optimistic about their chances.
""We've experienced both ends of the competitive spectrum in Joliet, and this year we're determined to be on the positive side of the ledger," said Johnson. "The racing surface at Route 66 Raceway is in fair condition. I'm not sure if they have addressed the bump in the right hand lane, but overall, it's a pretty decent track. They have good amenities for both the racers and fans, so, with Mother Nature's cooperation, we should be able to put on a good show.
"Based off of what we have learned in the last month, as long as we eliminate the gremlins like we had in Topeka, our GM Performance Parts GTO should qualify well into the top half of the field, and be a contender on race day. This team is in need of a strong performance, and this weekend seems like a good time to start."