Warren Johnson Scores Runner-Up Finish in Pomona
Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Grand Am opened their 2004 POWERade campaign on a strong note, powering to a runner-up finish in today's final eliminations of the NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, CA.
Starting from the sixth position Johnson sliced one hundredth of a second off his best elapsed time from qualifying in defeating rival Allen Johnson in the opening stanza in a rematch of last year's final round. He improved even further in edging rookie Shaun Carlson to set up a semi-final encounter with his son Kurt.
Taking full advantage of being able to choose his lane, WJ recorded his best pass of the weekend at 6.748 seconds with a top speed of 204.29 mph to advance to the 143rd final round of his career, where he would face rival and former employee Greg Anderson.
Without the luxury of lane choice, Johnson found himself in the less-preferred right lane, which throughout the day had produced only one winner in the Pro Stock category. Unfortunately, WJ was unable to break this trend, despite posting the quickest elapsed time of eliminations in that lane at 6.761 seconds, as Anderson was able to gain the advantage at the starting line and used the second quickest pass of the day to prevent Johnson from scoring back-to-back Winternationals wins.
"Obviously, we would have liked to run better in the final, but we're really still experimenting with the new set-up in our GM Performance Parts Grand Am. This was the first race we have held on an NHRA-prepared track with this combination, and virtually everyone was working on adapting to the racing surface.
"That was also my first run in the right lane today, which was a little slower than the left. In addition, in order to see the tree, I had to crane my neck outside of the roll cage, which was extremely uncomfortable, and that may have contributed to my less-than-perfect reaction time. It all added up to our coming up on the wrong end in the final.
"We not going to worry about what other teams are or are not doing with their programs. We simply have to get to work. Kurt and I do most of the research and development for our teams, and this rain delay kept us away for two weeks, putting us way behind. We're going to fly back to Georgia, roll up our sleeves, and see what we can do to fix this.
"However, if you look at this thing realistically, we may have lost, but there is only one guy who feels better than us, and fourteen that feel worse, so in the big scheme of things, it wasn't all that bad. We'll be fine."