Warren Johnson Looks to Bookend 2003 with Pomona Wins
GM Performance Parts team looks for repeat of winning performance at season-ending event
SUGAR HILL, GA., November 3, 2003 - When the NHRA POWERade Drag racing Series left Pomona Raceway nine months ago, Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts racing team was atop the Pro Stock ladder after scoring an impressive win at the season-opening Winternationals. In the 21 national events that followed, Johnson and crew experienced both ends of the competitive spectrum, combining additional wins in Atlanta, Denver and Reading with races in Chicago and Las Vegas where they were reluctant spectators on Sunday.
Although most of the participants in the highly competitive Pro Stock division would consider this to be an outstanding season, the standard is much higher for the teams from Sugar Hill, GA. As the straight-liners return to Southern California to complete the 2003 season with this weekend's Auto Club of Southern California Finals, Johnson took time to put the year in perspective.
"Looking at the number of race wins for both Kurt and myself, our 2003 season was a little better than what we accomplished in 2002," stated Johnson. "Overall, it wasn't as good as we would have liked, but it certainly could have been worse. The high points were any of our four wins, each of which is equally significant, while you can imagine what our low points were. Overall, I guess you could say the GM Performance Parts Racing team was relatively effective this year."
This weekend, "The Professor" will look to sweep the Pomona races for the second time in his career, which would be a first in the Pro Stock division since the NHRA season started opening and closing its season at the Pomona Fairplex in 1984. (Fellow Pro Stock legend Bob Glidden has bracketed the NHRA season four times, but only once at Pomona Raceway. Overall, only four drivers have won both Pomona Pro Stock events, each of which is a multi-time NHRA champion.) With nine wins in fifteen final round appearances at the NHRA's home track, Johnson is well versed in what it will take to succeed this weekend. However, as he is quick to point out, the circumstances surrounding this race extend beyond the quarter-mile.
"Pomona is a unique racetrack in that it only gets run on by cars of any consequence twice a year, so the surface is a little different," detailed Johnson. "We've been successful there in the past, but we are going in prepared for anything. The points are no longer an issue, but we are approaching this race with the same simple objective - winning.
"Of course, with the area around the track being ravaged by wildfires over the last week, we will have to see what we have to deal with when we get out there. Everyone will be in the same boat, so it will be up to the GM Performance Parts team to the best job of adapting to whatever the track gives us.
"However, our thoughts are with the people who have had their lives turned upside down, and are now trying to reconstruct them. It makes having a bad race weekend pretty insignificant. Hopefully, we can give them something to take their minds off things, if only for the weekend."