Pomona: Warren Johnson preview

Warren Johnson Looks to Celebrate His 50th Pomona Race with A Winternationals Win GM Performance Parts GTO team looks for strong start to 2006 NHRA season Sugar Hill, Ga., February 6, 2006 - In his 32 years in the NHRA's Pro Stock...

Warren Johnson Looks to Celebrate His 50th Pomona Race with A Winternationals Win

GM Performance Parts GTO team looks for strong start to 2006 NHRA season

Sugar Hill, Ga., February 6, 2006 - In his 32 years in the NHRA's Pro Stock category, GM Performance Parts GTO racer Warren Johnson has accomplished it all. He has won more races than anyone in the history of this most competitive division (95), scored six championships, and rewritten the record books.

However, past history means little to "The Professor". Entering his 33rd season with the "factory hot rods", his intense drive and commitment remain unfettered, and he heads to Pomona, California for this weekend's Carquest Auto Parts Winternationals with the same goal as he has had for the last thirty-two years -- winning. Although off season testing seems to indicate that he is indeed primed for another championship run, the pragmatic Johnson shuns any predictions, preferring instead to focus on his work and let his actions speak for themselves.

"I think we are in much better shape than we were going into last season," stated Johnson. "We had a relatively decent off season, making steady progress, including two tests that told us we were heading in the right direction. What we have to do now is take what we've learned and use it to our benefit on race day.

"Basically, we have to keep our noses to the grindstone, and do what we can to find even more horsepower. We're optimistic about our chances for the championship, but we can't back off for a minute. To take home the title, we have to be consistently fast in every department, from the race car to the driving, so we have to stay focused on our GM Performance Parts GTO's performance, keeping it where it needs to be."

A key component in Johnson's overall success has been his long-term winning relationship with the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, site of this weekend's event. This will mark his 50th appearance at the venerable racetrack, where he has 9 wins in 18 final round appearances, which is tied with Gainesville Raceway for his most at any individual stop on the NHRA circuit. In the Winternationals alone, he has five wins in eleven final round appearances. WJ has been particularly effective over the last three years, with one win in three final round appearances, and an unmatched 10-2 elimination round record at the NHRA season-opener.

"Our success in Pomona is more a testament to our overall program than an actual affinity for a particular track," said Johnson. "For the most part, we have been pretty steady over the years, and we approach the first race of the year as just a continuation of the last of the year before. It is a competitive philosophy that has served us well.

"Of course, we will look to go in with a little added performance, as we know other teams will have had the same mindset during the off season. Hopefully, when all the cards are on the table, we will show that we were able to pick our GM Performance Parts GTO's performance up just a little more than our competition's. We'll have to see what happens, but I believe we will be just fine."

Quick Notes on Warren Johnson & the GM Performance Parts GTO team entering

The Carquest Auto Parts Winternationals:

WJ is the Gold Standard in Pomona: This will be Warren's 50th career race at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, and 27th Winternationals. In the season-opening event alone, he has scored five wins in 11 final round appearances, as well as a 58-20 Winternationals elimination round record for a .744 round win percentage. WJ's most recent win in Pomona came in the 2003 Winternationals, where he defeated Allen Johnson in the final.

The Professor Has Started at the Head of the Winternationals Class for over 25 years: In his previous 25 Winternationals starts, WJ has five No. 1 qualifying performances, and an average starting position of 4.17. During that time, he has only one start outside the top half of the field.

Streaking in Pomona: Warren has appeared in the final round in the last three Winternationals, winning in 2003, while scoring runner-up finishes in 2004 & 2005.

-j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Allen Johnson