Seattle: GM Racing preview

KENT, Wash., July 19, 2005 - The second leg of the three-race Western swing moves to the great Northwest this weekend for the 18th annual CarQuest NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways. The contrast in conditions from last Sunday's race in Denver to...

KENT, Wash., July 19, 2005 - The second leg of the three-race Western swing moves to the great Northwest this weekend for the 18th annual CarQuest NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways. The contrast in conditions from last Sunday's race in Denver to this weekend's event couldn't be more drastic, and competitors will find themselves having to adjust to a change of over a mile in altitude (approximately 5,580 feet) and the effects that go along with such an extreme drop in elevation.

. In 13 contested Pro Stock events this season Pontiac drivers have scored nine victories, advanced to 15 final rounds and captured nine No. 1 qualifying awards. The NHRA Manufacturer's Cup standings show Pontiac in first place with 1,880 points, a 560-point lead over second-place Dodge. GM-branded Pro Stock cars (Chevrolet and Pontiac) have won 12 races this year, advanced to 23 final rounds, captured 12 poles, run low e.t. of the meet 13 times and set top speed 11 times.

. GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson is the most recent winner in a Pro Stock Pontiac, capturing his 95th career victory (148th career final-round appearance) last Sunday at the 26th annual Mile-High Nationals in Denver. It was also the third win this season in five final-round appearances for the "Professor of Pro Stock," and moved the 62-year-old Johnson back into first place in the POWERade standings with 1,030 points. Greg Anderson (Pontiac GTO) is in second place with 999 points, Jason Line (Pontiac) is third with 962 points, Dave Connolly (Chevy Cobalt) is fourth with 899 points and Kurt Johnson is fifth with 838 points. Ron Krisher (Chevy Cobalt) is in eighth place with 611 points, Jim Yates (Pontiac) is ninth with 599 points and Greg Stanfield (Chevrolet) is 10th with 595 points. Less than 200 points separate first-place Warren Johnson from fifth-place Kurt Johnson.

. So far there have been 10 lead changes in the Pro Stock standings in 13 events, the most ever in the history of the category at this point of the schedule. The 10 lead changes this year also tie 2002 for the most in a single season.

. Warren Johnson's win at Denver was the 153rd all-time by a Pontiac in NHRA Pro Stock competition, the most by any manufacturer in the history of the sport. Of the 153 wins in a Pontiac by a Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson leads the pack with 43, Greg Anderson is second with 32 and Jim Yates is third with 24.

. Johnson's 194.24 mph lap during qualifying was also the fastest of the event and a new Bandimere Speedway track record for Pro Stock, shattering Greg Anderson's previous record of 193.40 mph. It was the fifth time this season and the 203rd time in his career that the GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver has run top speed of the meet (the most among all NHRA drivers).

. Kurt Johnson drove the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt to his first victory of the season at Sears Craftsman Nationals in Madison, Ill., on June 26. It was the first win for the Chevy Cobalt and the 124th all-time victory for Chevrolet in NHRA Pro Stock competition. Since debuting the Cobalt at Bristol (Tenn.), Johnson has one win, one runner-up, four semifinal appearances and two No. 1 qualifiers in just eight starts.

. The GTO made an auspicious debut at Denver when Greg Anderson drove his new Pontiac to the No. 1 qualifying spot and a new track-record elapsed time of 7.106 seconds bettering his own previous record of 7.159 seconds. It was also the third time this season and the 36th time in his career that Anderson has earned top qualifying honors.

. Kurt Johnson's recent victory at Madison, Ill., extended his streak of winning at least one race per season to 11 years, the longest streak among active Pro Stock competitors.

. Since the inception of the CarQuest Auto Parts Nationals at Pacific Raceway in 1988, GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson leads the Pro Stock category for the most wins capturing victories in 1989, '91, '95 and '98. Greg Anderson is the defending champion at Pacific Raceways and picked up back-to-back victories in 2003-04. Mike Edwards and Kurt Johnson are also two-time winners of this event, Edwards getting consecutive wins in 1996-97 and Johnson claiming his titles in 1993 and '99. Mark Pawuk won this race in 1992.

. Drivers currently in GM-branded cars who have previously posted a runner-up at the CarQuest Nationals include Dave Connolly (2004), Jim Yates (1999, '97, '94) Kurt Johnson (1998, '96), Mark Pawuk (1993, '90), Bruce Allen (1989) and Warren Johnson (1988).

. In 2004, Greg Anderson set both ends of the Pacific Raceways Pro Stock track record posting an e.t. of 6.699 seconds and a top speed of 206.10 mph.

. Warren Johnson has earned the most No. 1 qualifying awards at Pacific Raceways capturing the pole five times at this event (1990-91, '93, '98-'99). Other current GM competitors who have earned top qualifying honors at this race include Greg Anderson (2003), Bruce Allen (2001), Ron Krisher (2000), Kurt Johnson (1997) and Jim Yates (1996).

. In 2005, Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car drivers have captured two victories, competed in 11 final rounds and won two No. 1 qualifying awards. Del Worsham is the most recent winner in a Chevy Monte Carlo capturing the gold medal at Englishtown, N.J. on June 19. Phil Burkart drove a Chevy Monte Carlo to a final-round appearance at Denver on July 17.

. Four Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car drivers currently hold a spot in the top 10 of the POWERade standings. Tommy Johnson Jr. is in fifth place with 731 points, Cruz Pedregon is sixth with 695 points, Del Worsham is ninth with 633 points and Tony Pedregon is 10th with 596 points. Robert Hight is in first place with 893 points.

Qualifying for the CarQuest NHRA Nationals will be telecast on ESPN2 on Saturday, July 23, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. A three-hour telecast of final eliminations can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, July 24, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern.

-gm racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Cruz Pedregon , Greg Stanfield , Bruce Allen , Phil Burkart , Jason Line , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.