Sonoma: Warren Johnson final report

WJ Focuses on the Big Picture with Quarterfinal Finish in Sonoma Entering Sunday's final eliminations of the Fram Autolite Nationals in Sonoma, CA, in the eleventh position, Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts GTO Racing team knew...

WJ Focuses on the Big Picture with Quarterfinal Finish in Sonoma

Entering Sunday's final eliminations of the Fram Autolite Nationals in Sonoma, CA, in the eleventh position, Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts GTO Racing team knew they had their work cut out for them at Infineon Raceway. Undeterred, in the first round against No. 6 qualifier Max Naylor The Professor bolted from the line with a stellar .011 reaction time to gain the advantage, and never looked back, using a 6.663-second, 207.27 mph pass to eliminate his opponent on a hole shot, as Max carded a quicker 6.644-second elapsed time in the losing effort.

This set the stage for an even tougher match-up against defending Pro Stock champion Jason Line, who entered the day as the No. 3 qualifier. Running once again in the less-preferred left lane, WJ put forth a game effort, making a strong 6.681-second, 207.50 mph run. Unfortunately, it fell shy of overcoming his rival's 6.666-second, 207.85 mph charge. Even with the premature exit, Johnson still found cause for optimism following the conclusion of the NHRA's traditional Western Swing.

"Our GM Performance Parts GTO is consistently making better runs every week, so as long as we can tune up the knucklehead driver, we should be all right. I did a bad job of red-lighting in the first round with that .011 in the first round, and I'm not sure if I subconsciously worried about red-lighting or blinked in the second round, but just didn't get the jump we needed to get the win. It's just one of those things that happens, so we'll put it behind us and move on.

"We're pleased with the progress we're making both in the performance of our GM Performance Parts GTO and in the Countdown for the Championship. We started making some headway with the car in Denver two weeks ago, continued that positive trend first in Seattle, and then here in Sonoma, so we're definitely closing the gap. We'd like to do it faster, but we're committed to do it the right way, and not by simply making what would amount to an educated guess.

"As for the Countdown, we gained a round on the people behind us. Although we certainly would have like to make it even more, with the races before the first cut off dwindling down, every round win is important, so even though we didn't win the race, we still accomplished something today, and anytime you can do that, it's been a good day. We'll take that, head home to Georgia, and start working on getting ready for Brainerd."

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson , Jason Line , Max Naylor