Phoenix: Warren Johnson final report

An Unusual Miscue Ends WJ's Day in Phoenix Quarterfinals By his own admission, GM Performance Parts Pontiac racer Warren Johnson has had to deal with numerous unusual occurrences throughout his Hall of Fame career. Unfortunately, the second...

An Unusual Miscue Ends WJ's Day in Phoenix Quarterfinals

By his own admission, GM Performance Parts Pontiac racer Warren Johnson has had to deal with numerous unusual occurrences throughout his Hall of Fame career. Unfortunately, the second round of Sunday's final eliminations of the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals proved to be one of those occasions, and resulted in a premature end to his day.

In the first round, Johnson continued to display the consistency that had earned the six-time champion the third starting position on Saturday, powering through the quarter-mile in 6.646-seconds with a top speed of 206.51 mph to eliminate former basketball player Tom Hammonds.

This set the stage for a second-round encounter with defending Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin. Following their pre-race burnouts, the two drivers were quite deliberate in their staging procedure, not willing to give their opponent any advantage, with Coughlin finally rolling in first.

However, just as Johnson attempted to follow suit, an unusual and involuntary miscue forced him to change his routine, with the delay allowing his rival to gain an edge at the start. Even though The Professor was able to recover and post the quicker elapsed time of the round in the less-preferred left hand lane at 6.660 seconds, it was not enough to run down his opponent, who used a 6.653-second run to advance.

"My thumb slipped off the line-lock just as I started to stage, so I had to hit the brake to stop it from rolling through the beams. At that very instant, the lights came on, and by the time I got my foot back on the throttle, it was too late. It's just one of those freakish things that will happen if you race long enough.

"However, we also seem to have an issue with the shocks, because it's way too low in the lights, and, as a consequence the tires are rubbing against the body, effectively acting as a brake. We won't know for sure until we get back to the shop and put it on the shock dyno, but I see a few discrepancies that we'll have to address.

"However, there really isn't anything basically wrong with this GM Performance Parts Pontiac. It's consistent can obviously run with anybody out there, but it's time to move on to the new GXP. Therefore, we'll get to work on finishing the new car, getting it ready in time for Gainesville, and go forward from there, building on what we have accomplished in these first two races."

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Warren Johnson , Tom Hammonds