Memphis: Warren Johnson preview

Warren Johnson Enlists Help to Maximize Short Week Before Memphis GM Performance Parts Racing team spreads out to prepare for O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals SUGAR HILL, GA., August 17, 2004 - Warren Johnson is the acknowledged "Professor of Pro ...

Warren Johnson Enlists Help to Maximize Short Week Before Memphis
GM Performance Parts Racing team spreads out to prepare for O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals

SUGAR HILL, GA., August 17, 2004 - Warren Johnson is the acknowledged "Professor of Pro Stock", a racer who has contributed as much to the sport from outside the vehicle as he has from the driver's seat. Over the course of his career, he has maintained a "hands-on" approach to his racing, building and developing virtually every piece on his GM Performance Parts Grand Am, as well as making many of the crucial tuning decisions. It is a competitive philosophy that has carried him to a class-leading 92 national event wins and six Pro Stock championships.

Even so, Johnson is the first to recognize that others have played a huge role in his continued success, and has called upon one of these sources to help with his preparations for this weekend's O'Reilly Auto Parts Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, TN.

With only three days between races, Johnson has been ensconced in the team's shop in Sugar Hill, GA continuing with the development of the third generation General Motors Drag Racing Competition Engine (DRCE). In the meantime, the team will be working with veteran chassis builder Jerry Haas to hopefully sort out the problems that have handicapped their race car of late, with Haas scheduled to make several test runs on Wednesday.

"With only three days between Brainerd and Memphis, we've had to deploy additional forces," said Johnson. "I've been working non-stop on our engine program, and really don't have time to leave the shop, so, after spending an extra day in Minneapolis getting some work done on the trailer, the GM Performance Parts team is going to head to St. Louis.

"If it doesn't rain, Jerry (Haas) is going to drive our car to see if he can get it to run better in the first sixty feet. After all, it is a product of his work, and he has driven enough of them to be able to point out any inconsistencies that may have eluded us. It's not as if we're completely out of the ball park. We've flashed the ability to run well - what we need is to do so on a consistent basis."

This weekend, Johnson and the POWERade Drag Racing Series will head south to Memphis Motorsports Park, a track where world's best quarter-milers have faced a variety of atmospheric conditions. Although the majority of the on-track activities have been scheduled for the later afternoon and early evening to avoid the mid-summer heat, Johnson and his veteran crew are geared to handle whatever Mother Nature and the racing surface will throw at them.

"In looking at the forecast on television, it looks like the temperatures will be in the high 80's and low 90's throughout the weekend, and it stays warm relatively late, so we're not looking for great conditions, even racing later in the day," stated Johnson. "Other than the sun not being on the track, the Pro Stock cars, that don't have the luxury of the liquid dynamite or belt-driven tunnel ram that the fuel cars enjoy, will have to make the best of whatever air is there.

"I've raced at Memphis Motorsports Park when we had the best conditions we've ever had in 50 years, as well as when it was so hot you couldn't breathe. The racing surface has had its own challenges in the past, with new bumps and lumps arising every year. However, with the track being resurfaced, we're not sure what to expect. However, the conditions will be the same for everyone, so it should not be the deciding factor. In any case, the track is the least of our worries. Our primary concern will be getting our GM Performance Grand Am to perform up to its potential, and with the combined effort we have going in to this race, we should be just fine."

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Jerry Haas