Norwalk: Warren Johnson preview

WJ Aims to Make the Most of his Norwalk Experience Time management the key to short week for GM Performance Parts GTO crew Sugar Hill, Ga., June 27, 2007 -- The NHRA makes its way to Norwalk, Ohio this weekend for the inaugural Summit Racing ...

WJ Aims to Make the Most of his Norwalk Experience
Time management the key to short week for GM Performance Parts GTO crew

Sugar Hill, Ga., June 27, 2007 -- The NHRA makes its way to Norwalk, Ohio this weekend for the inaugural Summit Racing Equipment Nationals. Although this is the first time this newly refurbished facility will appear on the POWERade Drag Racing schedule, there has been little time for teams to prepare, as this race comes only four days after the completion of the most recent event in Englishtown, NJ. In addition, as the second stop on as grueling stretch of six consecutive racing weekends, competitors were forced to maximize their preparatory efforts. As such, the GM Performance Parts GTO crew hustled back to their Sugar Hill, GA headquarters immediately after the race on Sunday, taking advantage of every spare moment before heading north to Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.

"With our truck only having two days in the shop between races, we'll have to manage the time wisely to get the most out of it," said Johnson. "Fortunately, every person on this GM Performance Parts GTO crew knows their assignment, allowing us to get right to work once they got back to Georgia.

"For example, the crew started by performing the normal maintenance on the drivetrain and the chassis, while I tended to some engine work that I have to do personally. At the same time, we'll restock the trailer with whatever parts we're going to need. With six races in a row, we all knew there would be some long hours involved, so now it's just a matter of rolling up our sleeves and getting it done."

With over 35 years of experience in the "factory hot rods", racing at a new venue is nothing new to this Hall of Fame racer. However, this weekend's event will not be a totally new experience for Johnson, as he is among a select few who competed at this facility under a different sanctioning body, posting runner-up finishes at what was then known as Norwalk Raceway Park in 1981 & 1983. Admitting that this prior experience will mean little in current terms, providing a learning curve for all competitors, The Professor is confident that the outstanding qualities espoused by the track owners back then will remain just as strong today.

"The first time I raced in Norwalk was in the late 70's, and even then, the track and the management were in the same class as the Bandimeres in Denver (CO), whom I consider to be among the very best in drag racing," said Johnson. "Just as the Bandimeres do at Bandimere Speedway, the Baders keep the Norwalk track active as much as possible, and the facility is always perfectly groomed at all times. In fact, the only other tracks on the schedule that compare are those owned by Bruton Smith in Las Vegas (NV), Bristol (TN) and Sonoma (CA).

"It should be a great weekend for the racers and the fans. The forecast is promising good weather, and my understanding is that the Baders have done some extensive paving and other upgrades in preparation for this event to make this a rewarding experience for all involved. As for the track itself, I've never had a problem with it, but that was under another sanctioning body, so it's hard to say what we'll have to deal with until we get there. However, it promises to be a learning curve for all of us, and we get paid to do it better than our competitors, so I guess it's time for this GM Performance Parts GTO crew to earn its keep."

-credit: j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson