Pomona Warren Johnson wins

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE WARREN WINS WINTERNATIONALS! Johnson Dominates NHRA Season-Opener with Record-Setting Performance Pomona, Calif.; February 2, 1997 -- Warren Johnson, 53, of Buford,...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WARREN WINS WINTERNATIONALS!

Johnson Dominates NHRA Season-Opener with Record-Setting Performance

Pomona, Calif.; February 2, 1997 -- Warren Johnson, 53, of Buford, Ga., scored his 60th career NHRA victory at the Chief Auto Parts Winternationals, the season-opening event of the 22-race NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Johnson's GM Performance Parts Pontiac defeated the ACDelco Pontiac driven by his 33-year-old son Kurt in the final round of eliminations, 6.964/197.75 to 7.004/197.49.

Johnson was the Number 2 qualifier in the 16-car field with a 6.967-second elapsed time at a track-record speed of 198.67 mph -- the third fastest run in NHRA history. He ran four consecutive 6-second elapsed times in eliminations, and set the national record at 6.927 seconds in his semi-final round victory over Mark Pawuk. WJ's record-setting performance earned a 20-point bonus in the Winston championship race and a $12,500 award from the MBNA World Record Club.

"Halfway through low gear I knew the car was on a lap!" Warren declared after his record run. "The car didn't quiver, it didn't move around -- a perfect pass like that is almost boring because there's nothing to do. We thought if we got everything right we'd run close to the record, but had no idea that we'd better the record."

Johnson took an early lead in the NHRA championship race with 137 points, followed by Kurt Johnson with 94 markers. Warren's powerful GM DRCE engines also propelled the Pontiacs of his son and Troy Coughlin into the sixes, producing a total of 11 6-second time slips.

"Our objective this year was to get to the final round," Warren reported after notching his fourth career Winternationals title. "We actually did better than I had anticipated. I couldn't ask for a better scenario than a Johnson vs. Johnson final -- both of us win no matter how the race turns out."

Johnson's Pomona victory capped a week in which he was honored as the "Pro Stock Driver of the Year" on the 30th annual Car Craft All-Star Drag Racing Team. GM Performance Parts won the "Pro Stock Sponsor" award for the second straight year.

"I truly appreciate this award because it means that the fans have selected you as the best representative in a particular category," said Johnson. "I'm even prouder that GM Performance Parts was honored again as the 'Sponsor of the Year.' The readers of Car Craft have recognized that GM Performance Parts has made a significant impact in Pro Stock racing through its support of our racing programs."

In spite of his dominant Winternationals performance, Johnson foresees a battle royal for the 1997 championship. "At least eight drivers are consistent threats to go to the final round," he observed. "I guarantee this is going to be the tightest points race you've ever seen."

Johnson will seek to continue his mastery of Pro Stock at the NHRA Atsco Nationals in Phoenix on February 20-23.

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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 04-Feb-1997

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Series NHRA
Drivers Troy Coughlin , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson