Richmond: GM Racing preview

GM Racing Pre-Event/NHRA Richmond Six-Time NHRA Champ Warren Johnson Leads GM Racing Efforts in Series' Return to Richmond PETERSBURG, Va., Oct. 3, 2006 - Many competitors in this weekend's inaugural Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia...

GM Racing Pre-Event/NHRA Richmond
Six-Time NHRA Champ Warren Johnson Leads GM Racing Efforts in Series' Return to Richmond

PETERSBURG, Va., Oct. 3, 2006 - Many competitors in this weekend's inaugural Torco Racing Fuels NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park on Oct. 6-8 have never raced on this quarter-mile strip 20 miles south of Richmond, but you can't count "The Professor," Warren Johnson, among them. In fact, the six-time NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champ made Virginia Motorsports Park his personal playground when the NHRA previously held events here from 1995 to 2000, winning four consecutive races from 1995-98 and also posting four No. 1 qualifiers in 1995-97 and 2000. In 1997, Johnson became the first NHRA Pro Stock driver in history to break the magical 200-mph barrier when he exited the traps at 200.13 mph during Friday-night qualifying at Virginia Motorsports Park. He also became the first Pro Stock driver to clock a sub-6.90 e.t. when he drove his Pontiac to a 6.894-second run. Later that weekend he established both ends of the national record with a 6.883-second run at 200.53 mph. He looks to continue his mastery of Virginia Motorsports Park as the NHRA returns there this weekend after a five-year hiatus.

With only three races remaining on the 23-event NHRA schedule, the race for the 2006 Pro Stock championship has essentially come down to a battle between Summit Racing teammates Jason Line (Pontiac) and Greg Anderson (Pontiac), with SKULL GEAR Racing's Dave Connolly (Chevrolet) still holding on to slim title hopes. Line holds a 56-point lead over three-time defending champ Greg Anderson, while Connolly, who trails Line by 183 points and Anderson by 127 points, looks to close out the season with three strong performances and let the points take care of themselves.

Virginia Motorsports Park Pre-Race Stats & Facts

Greg Anderson and Greg Stanfield are the series' two most recent race finalists in the Pro Stock category. Anderson drove his Pontiac GTO to a final-round victory over Stanfield in an all-GTO final this past weekend at the 22nd annual Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. It was Anderson's third victory this season and the sixth time this year he has advanced to the final round of a national event. For Stanfield, it was the second time this season (Atlanta) he has advanced his PiranaZ Pontiac GTO to the final round.

Anderson's win at Reading was the 169th all time for Pontiac in NHRA Pro Stock competition. Of the 169 wins by a Pontiac Pro Stock driver, Warren Johnson leads the pack with 44 victories, Greg Anderson is second with 40 victories (in a Pontiac) and Jim Yates is third with 25 victories. All three have won multiple NHRA Pro Stock drivers' titles driving a Pontiac.

Pontiacs set the pace in Reading as the national elapsed-time record for Pro Stock changed hands among three GTO drivers, eventually ending up on points leader Jason Line's side of the ledger. Greg Anderson was the first to lower his own record on the first day of qualifying with an elapsed time of 6.626 seconds at 208.91 mph in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO. Greg Stanfield in his PiranaZ Pontiac GTO answered with an elapsed time of 6.621 seconds at 208.04 mph on the second day of qualifying to claim his first No. 1 qualifier of the season. Anderson returned the favor in the first round of eliminations with a 6.618 e.t., but the last man standing was Line who drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to a national-record elapsed time of 6.609 seconds in his second-round win over Dave Connolly.

Despite losing the national elapsed-time record to his teammate, Anderson established a new Pro Stock standard for speed, eclipsing his own record with his 208.91 mph run on the first day of qualifying. * Pontiac GTO drivers have won 10 national events in 2006. Teammates Line and Anderson both have three wins apiece (Line at Bristol, Englishtown, Sonoma; Anderson at Pomona, Indianapolis, Reading), Mike Edwards has two victories (Houston, St. Louis), Warren Johnson has one (Phoenix) and Jim Yates has one (Columbus).

Dave Connolly and Kurt Johnson are the two Chevy Cobalt drivers who have combined for seven red bowtie victories in the Pro Stock category this season. Connolly leads the Pro Stock class with four race wins in 2006 (Atlanta, Topeka, Denver, Brainerd), and Johnson scored his national-event wins at Las Vegas, Chicago and Memphis.

Kurt Johnson's win at Memphis on Aug. 21 was the 134th all-time for Chevrolet in NHRA Pro Stock competition. Of Johnson's 35 career victories, 25 have been from behind the wheel of a Chevrolet. Lee Shepherd has the most Chevrolet Pro Stock wins with 26.

Kurt Johnson in the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt has the track-record elapsed time at Virginia Motorsports Park in Pro Stock with a 6.840 e.t. set in April 1999. Warren Johnson also set the track-record speed in Pro Stock in April 1999 at 202.24 mph.

GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson has the most career wins at Virginia Motorsports Park in the Pro Stock division (4). Johnson won four consecutive races from 1995-98. He was also No. 1 qualifier in 1995-97 and 2000.

Pontiac GTO driver Jim Yates was runner-up at Richmond in 1995 and 2000, and Pontiac GTO driver Mike Edwards was runner-up in 1996. Pontiac GTO driver Barry Grant also claimed No. 1 qualifier at Richmond in 1998. ACDelco Chevy Cobalt driver Kurt Johnson was No. 1 qualifier here in 1999.

After 18 races, seven drivers in GM-branded cars occupy a spot in the top 10 of the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock standings. Jason Line (Pontiac GTO) is in first place with 1,453 points, Greg Anderson (Pontiac GTO) is second with 1,397 points, Dave Connolly (Chevy Cobalt) is third with 1,270 points and Kurt Johnson (Chevy Cobalt) is fourth with 1,131 points. Mike Edwards (Pontiac GTO) is in fifth place with 1,128 points, Jim Yates (Pontiac GTO) is seventh with 1,003 points, and Greg Stanfield (Pontiac GTO) is 8th with 972 points.

Phil Burkart Jr. in the Havoline Chevy Monte Carlo is the most recent Funny Car winner on the NHRA circuit with his win over Robert Hight last weekend at Reading. He impressively defeated Ron Capps, defending Funny Car champ Gary Scelzi, 13-time champ John Force, and Hight en route to his fourth career win.

Tommy Johnson Jr. in the Skoal Chevy Monte Carlo claimed his second No. 1 qualifier of the season at Reading with a track-record elapsed time of 4.693 seconds at 327.27 mph.

In the Funny Car standings, Tony Pedregon is in fourth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 1,241 points and three victories. Tommy Johnson Jr. is in sixth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 1,143 points and two victories. Burkart moved up to ninth place in the standings with his first win of the season with 899 points, and Cruz Pedregon is in 10th place with 844 points.

-credit: gm racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Cruz Pedregon , Greg Stanfield , Phil Burkart , Barry Grant , Jason Line , Robert Hight , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.