GM Racing Pre-Event Notes Ninth Annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals MADISON, Ill., June 21, 2005 - The Ninth Annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals will be held June 24 - 26 at Gateway International Raceway, the halfway point of the 23-event ...
GM Racing Pre-Event Notes
Ninth Annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals
MADISON, Ill., June 21, 2005 - The Ninth Annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals will be held June 24 - 26 at Gateway International Raceway, the halfway point of the 23-event POWERade schedule. Race teams will need their hot weather tune-up and a gallon of sunscreen for this race. The weather conditions on the banks of the Mississippi River and around the St. Louis metro area can be brutal this time of year. Temperatures are forecast to reach well into the mid-90 degree range (and as high as 98 degrees on Friday) which would make this weekend's race the hottest on the tour this season. It is also the third event this month where the series has competed on consecutive weekends, and that will pose an even greater challenge for members of the GM Racing contingent looking to reach the winner's circle. Qualifying can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, June 26, beginning at 12 a.m. Eastern. ESPN2 will carry a three-hour broadcast of final eliminations on Sunday, June 26, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern.
. Jason Line's win in Pro Stock at Englishtown, N.J., last Sunday was the sixth straight for Pontiac, a streak that began with Warren Johnson's victory at the NHRA Nationals in Bristol, Tenn., on May 1. In 11 contested events this season Pontiac drivers have scored eight victories and advanced to 13 final rounds. Greg Anderson and Line have three wins apiece and Warren Johnson has two victories. That cumulative effect has helped Pontiac increase its lead in the NHRA Manufacturer's Cup standings. As of June 17, Pontiac has 1,400 points, a 340 cushion over second-place Dodge.
. On the heels of consecutive victories at Joliet (Ill.) and Englishtown, Pontiac's Jason Line has won back-to-back races for the first time in his career. The 2004 NHRA Rookie of the Year has advanced to the final round in three of the last five events and moved within six points of first-place Warren Johnson. Line has also accumulated the most round wins in the class with 24.
. With his fourth final-round appearance of the season at Englishtown, GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson moved back into first-place in the NHRA POWERade standings, the third time this year that the 61-year-old "Professor" of Pro Stock has knocked somebody off the top of the hill. In addition, there have been eight lead changes in the Pro Stock category in just 11 events this year, one race shy of the season's halfway point.
. With three national-event victories, four final-round appearances and 23 round wins, Warren Johnson has accumulated 857 points, the most by any driver in any of the three professional categories that run the full 23-event schedule. Johnson also has only one first-round loss this season (Chicago), has been No. 1 qualifier five times (Houston, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Columbus, Chicago) and posted a career-best speed of 207.50 mph in the final-round against Jason Line last Sunday at Englishtown. Doug Kalitta leads the Top Fuel standings with 853 points and John Force leads Funny Car with 806 points.
. Drivers in GM-branded cars hold eight of the top-10 positions in Pro Stock, including the first three spots which are separated by only 13 points. Warren Johnson (Pontiac) leads with 857, Jason Line (Pontiac) is second with 851 and Greg Anderson (Pontiac) is third with 844. Dave Connolly is in fourth place in a Chevy Cobalt with 733 points and Kurt Johnson is fifth in a Chevy Cobalt with 645 points. Ron Krisher is seventh in a Chevy Cobalt with 525 points, Greg Stanfield (Chevrolet) is in ninth place with 511 points and Jim Yates (Pontiac) is 10th with 497.
. Kurt Johnson's No. 1 qualifying effort at Englishtown was the first time since its introduction at Bristol (Tenn.) on April 29 that a Chevy Cobalt has captured an NHRA Pro Stock pole.
. Warren Johnson leads the Pro Stock category for the most wins at Gateway International Raceway. The GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver won the inaugural event in 1997 and a second race in 2001. Chevy Cobalt driver Ron Krisher is also a two-time winner at this event taking home the victor's trophy in 2000 and in 2003 (his most recent). Greg Anderson is the defending event champion. The Summit Racing Pontiac driver defeated Steve Johns in the finals of last year's race. Anderson also was the No. 1 qualifier in 2004 and set the track e.t record at 6.702 seconds. Kurt Johnson won the Sears Craftsman Nationals in 1998 and Jim Yates visited the winner's circle in 1999. Both Anderson and Yates have been runner-up twice at Gateway International Raceway; Anderson in 2000 and 2002, and Yates in 1997 and 2001.
. Current Pro Stock competitors in GM-branded cars who have been No. 1 qualifier at Gateway International Raceway include Warren Johnson (1998, 2001, 2003), Jim Yates (1997, 2002), Kurt Johnson (1999), Ron Krisher (2000) and Greg Anderson (2004).
. Del Worsham's Funny Car win at Englishtown was the second this year for Chevrolet and the eighth time this year that a Monte Carlo has advanced to the final round.
. There are four Chevy Monte Carlo driver in the top-10 of the Funny Car standings. Tommy Johnson Jr. is in fourth place with 647 points, Cruz Pedregon is sixth with 609 points, Del Worsham is ninth with 546 points and Tony Pedregon is 10th with 492 points. Bob Gilbertson is in 11th place with 450 points, Jeff Arend is 12th with 434 points and Tim Wilkerson is 13th with 425 points.
. Del Worsham (2003) and Tony Pedregon are current Chevy Monte Carlo Funny car drivers who have won the Sears Craftsman Nationals. Cruz Pedregon was runner-up in 1997, Tony Pedregon in 1999 and Tommy Johnson Jr. in 2001. Tim Wilkerson captured top qualifying honors in 1998, Tommy Johnson in 1999 and Gary Densham in 2003.