POMONA, Calif. - Warren Johnson capped his championship season with his ninth final-round appearance of the year and the 123rd of his career today in the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway. W.J. finished as ...
POMONA, Calif. - Warren Johnson capped his championship season with his ninth final-round appearance of the year and the 123rd of his career today in the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway. W.J. finished as runner-up to Jeg Coughlin, Jr.
W.J.'s GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac topped 200 mph on all four qualifying runs and qualified third in the 16-car field behind Troy Coughlin and Tom Martino. "It was a matter of being in the wrong lane at the wrong time - or maybe I should say the right lane at the wrong time," Johnson joked. "There was a disparity between the two lanes, maybe a couple of hundredths. The difference between lanes is just something you have to deal with; sometimes it's worked in my favor, and this time it didn't."
Johnson defeated former Pro Stock champion Darrell Alderman in the first round of eliminations and dispatched Mark Pawuk in the second stanza with the quickest run of the round. He then defeated Bruce Allen in the semi-final round.
W.J. faced Coughlin in a final round for the third time this season. Coughlin had lane choice, and put Warren in the unfavorable right lane. Johnson's car fishtailed noticeably at mid-track as the rear tires lost traction. Jeg posted his second final-round victory of the year over W.J. with a winning 6.876-second elapsed time at 200.29 mph to Warren's 6.977 at 194.97 mph.
"I just got loose out there," Warren reported after his 44th career runner-up finish. "In the middle of the track the car started bouncing and that was it. We weren't that far off Coughlin's performance, but we lost lane choice for the final and that was decisive."
Johnson set the Pomona Raceway track record at 201.07 mph - the first time in NHRA history that a driver has run the top speed at every race in a season.
After a winter of relentless testing, Warren will begin his quest for a sixth NHRA championship at the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals on February 3-6, 2000.
WARREN JOHNSON RACE RESULTS: Qualifying: Warren Johnson qualified No. 3 at 6.908/201.07 mph Eliminations: First Round: Warren Johnson (6.865/202.36) defeated John Nobile (6.945/199.49) Second Round: Warren Johnson (6.890/200.14) defeated Mark Pawuk (6.945/198.03) Semi-Final: Warren Johnson (6.895/199.85) defeated Bruce Allen (6.962/198.15) Final Round: Jeg Coughlin, Jr. (6.876/200.29) defeated Warren Johnson (6.977/194.97)
Low ET: Jeg Coughlin, Jr., 6.876 seconds (track record) Top Speed: Warren Johnson, 201.07 mph (track record)
POINTS RACE: (Final standings) Driver Wins Points 1. Warren Johnson 7 1,706 2. Jeg Coughlin, Jr. 5 1,458 3. Kurt Johnson 3 1,434 4. Jim Yates 2 1,288 5. Richie Stevens 1 1,141
NEXT RACE: AutoZone Winternationals, Pomona, Calif., Feb. 3-6, 2000