Pomona: Warren Johnson preview

WJ is Ready to Do Some High-Speed Prospecting in Pomona GM Performance Parts Team looks for strong start to 2008 season Sugar Hill, Ga., February 5, 2008 -- In the mid 1800's people flocked to the state of California as part of the legendary...

WJ is Ready to Do Some High-Speed Prospecting in Pomona
GM Performance Parts Team looks for strong start to 2008 season

Sugar Hill, Ga., February 5, 2008 -- In the mid 1800's people flocked to the state of California as part of the legendary Gold Rush. From Sutter's Mill in Coloma to Rancho San Francisco just north of Los Angeles, successful prospectors overcame the stiff competition by devising new and ingenious techniques for retrieving the precious metal.

Over 150 years later, Warren Johnson and his GM Performance Parts Pontiac Racing team arrive in the Golden State in search of their own rewards. Just as with the pioneers, they will use the very latest technology at their disposal, and their success will rely on a combination of hard work, resourcefulness and luck.

However, pick-axes and mules have been replaced by socket wrenches and 1,400-horsepower race cars. In addition, the Johnson-led crew's prospecting will take place in bursts of a few seconds on a quarter-mile strip in Pomona, CA, and the gold they will be looking to strike will be the winner's trophy at the season-opening Carquest Auto Parts Winternationals, the first stop on the 2008 POWERade Drag Racing Series schedule.

"This will be my 29th Winternationals, but the challenge and primary objective of this exercise remains the same," said Johnson. "This race is the first indicator of the effectiveness of your off-season efforts. In the matter of four days, you establish whether your hard work paid off or you have to go back and dig deeper to catch up.

"Personally, I think our GM Performance Parts Pontiac crew is in better shape than we have been in some time, and our success is a matter of applying what we have properly. You come to this race looking to be the first one to win in that particular year, and that is number one on my 'To Do ' list."

With over thirty years experience at this venerable facility, The Professor has logged more runs at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona than some of his competitors have had in their entire careers. In addition, his nine wins (five of which have come in this opening race) and seventeen final round appearances certain classify him as an expert on how to tame this tricky track.

"One of the more unusual characteristics about the track in Pomona is that it drops 16 feet in elevation from the start to the finish line," said Johnson. "In fact, if you took a bicycle, you could probably coast the entire way, but you'd work up one heck of a sweat coming back. Fortunately, the surface is usually better for the Winternationals than it is for the Finals in November, simply because less time has passed since the last race, and it has not been subjected to the heat of the summer.

"Therefore, you can use a set-up for this race that is pretty close to what you ran in the Finals. That bodes well for us, as our GM Performance Parts Pontiac performed the best it had all season back in November.

"I like our chances for this weekend. Certainly, some of the newer cars may have an edge aerodynamically. However, given the fact that no one has had any real test time with them, they won't be able to take full advantage of their performance differential. As a result, I believe we should be right in the thick of the battle all weekend, allowing us to start 2008 on the right foot."

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson