Pomona II: Warren Johnson preview

WJ Aims to Close 2005 Season on a Winning Note GM Performance Parts Team targets Fourth Win of 2005 in Pomona Sugar Hill, Ga., November 1, 2005 -- By all accounts, Warren Johnson has had a solid season in 2005. From the very first race, ...

WJ Aims to Close 2005 Season on a Winning Note
GM Performance Parts Team targets Fourth Win of 2005 in Pomona

Sugar Hill, Ga., November 1, 2005 -- By all accounts, Warren Johnson has had a solid season in 2005. From the very first race, when he piloted his untested GM Performance Parts Pontiac to a runner-up finish at the Winternationals, Johnson has been a serious contender, not only for individual race wins, but also the Pro Stock championship. In all, he has scored three national event wins in five final round appearances, six No. 1 qualifying positions, and established new career bests in elapsed time and top speed.

This formidable showing will earn "The Professor" the 25th Top Five POWERade points finish of his storied career. Although these multiple accomplishments would satisfy virtually any other racer, as a six-time Pro Stock champion Johnson has traditionally set his sights higher than the norm, and therefore, his competitive desire remains unabated as he and crew focus on winning this weekend's Auto Club of Southern California Finals in Pomona, CA.

"If you look at my career, I have averaged about three wins per season, so in that regard, it has been an average year," said Johnson. "We've had our share of highs in the form of wins, final round appearances, low elapsed times, top speeds and No. 1 qualifying performances, as well as a few lows with some early round exits. Although some might view our showing in 2005 as an accomplishment, I tend to grade success a bit higher than what we have done so far.

"However, there are mostly positives to be taken from our GM Performance Parts GTO team's performance this season, starting with the progress we have made with the DRCE 3 engine. I have to keep reminding myself that we are just at the tip of the iceberg with this project, because we are continually finding ways to increase its power. It's an on-going thing which is really enjoyable for me in that we keep finding horsepower and have yet to hurt it.

"I'm also pleased with the personnel we have in place at Warren Johnson Enterprises, both at the track and back in our shop. In terms of personality, work ethic and team chemistry, I believe we have the best line-up we have had in years. The potential these developments have shown has me excited as we go forward. But before we look too far ahead, we still have some unfinished business for 2005, namely winning the last race of the year in Pomona."

The POWERade Drag Racing Series will once again close its season on the same track at which the year started nine months ago, Pomona Raceway. It is a familiar sight for "The Professor", who first raced on the California quarter-mile in 1976, and will be making his 49th appearance there this weekend. During that time, he has compiled a record of success at this one track equal to what others have accomplished in their entire career, with nine wins in seventeen final round appearances and twelve No. 1 qualifying performances. This weekend he will look to use the expertise gained from over 300 competitive passes to add to that lengthy list of on-track successes.

"Pomona is one of the racetracks at which we've had relatively good success," said Johnson. "It is constantly changing, from being extremely rough at one time to very slippery at another. As there has been relatively little maintenance in terms of the actual racing surface, there is always something new cropping up to challenge us.

"For example, one year the starting line was as smooth as a dance floor, while at other times we've had to navigate a series of bumps in one lane or another. It also drops sixteen feet from the start to the finish line, which adds to the speed. Fortunately, this all seems to play to our team's strong suit, as evidenced by our record there. In this case, change is good.

"I know some people subscribe to the theory that winning the Finals has the added benefit of lasting through the off-season. However, I simply believe that any win is good, whether it's the first or last race of the season. As far as I'm concerned, this is the last race we can win for the next 89 or so days, so it might as well be our GM Performance Parts GTO that takes home the trophy."

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson