WJ Targets A Strong Rebound in Reading

GM Performance Part Crew Preps for Rescheduled Toyo Tires Nationals

Sugar Hill, Ga., September 27, 2006 -- The POWERade Drag Racing Series returns to Reading, PA this weekend for the rescheduled Toyo Tires Nationals, which were postponed due to heavy rains two weeks ago. Despite having to return to Maple Grove Raceway on what had been originally scheduled as an off weekend, Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts GTO are anxious to return to action as they look to get a handle on their new race car which has given them mixed signals in its first two races. With an additional week to decipher the data, "The Professor" is confident of extracting the necessary performance to be in contention.

"After I looked over the data from Dallas, as well as from Indianapolis, it was somewhat obvious what we needed to do with our GM Performance Parts GTO," explained Johnson. "In retrospect, I guess instead of going for a nice, safe infield hit, I went for the throat and tried to hit a monster home run right out of the box, and it bit us.

"We know where this car basically should run, and now what we have to do is make sure we adapt correctly to the conditions. If we take care of business, we should be in good shape. The one question mark we will have going into this race will be the track at Maple Grove. Not only has it seen a tremendous amount of rain over the last two weeks, but it has also endured an entire year's worth of Northeast weather since we were last on it, including the extreme cold of winter and the heat of summer.

"Fortunately, all four qualifying sessions will be held during the day, so each one should provide a realistic opportunity to make the show. Since we have to go back, our goal is to go ahead and win the race to make the extra trip worthwhile."

Quick Notes on Warren Johnson & the GM Performance Parts GTO team entering the 22nd annual Toyo Tires Nationals:

Reading has been a good classroom for The Professor: This will be Warren's 22nd career NHRA national event at Maple Grove Raceway. In his previous 20 starts, he has four wins (which is the most by a Pro Stock driver) in nine final round appearances (including six in a row from 1991-1996), and a 44-16 elimination round record for a .733 win percentage. WJ's most recent Reading win came in 2003, when he defeated Troy Coughlin in the final.

WJ's Qualifying Stats at "The Grove": In 20 Maple Raceway starts, WJ has six No. 1 qualifying performances, 16 starts in the top four positions and a stellar 3.1 average starting position.

-credit: j2r