FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Race Results from NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals: W.J. WINS IN MADISON! Madison, Ill.; June 29, 1997 -- Warren Johnson scored his fourth win of the season...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Race Results from NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals: W.J. WINS IN MADISON!
Madison, Ill.; June 29, 1997 -- Warren Johnson scored his fourth win of the season in the inaugural NHRA Sears Craftsman Nationals at Gateway International Raceway, a new showcase for drag racing across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. Johnson put his Pro Stock Firebird in the NHRA winner's circle for the first time with GM Goodwrench Service Plus colors. W.J. defeated his rival Jim Yates in the final round on a holeshot, parlaying a quick .429-second reaction time with a 7.062 e.t. to defeat Yates' quicker 7.049.
Johnson's win was the 63rd of his career in 101 final round appearances. It was also his third straight victory in an inaugural NHRA event; he also won the inaugural 1996 Pennzoil Nationals in Richmond, Va., and the first Lone Star Nationals in Dallas in May.
"I had a premonition this morning," Warren revealed. "I've had good results in inaugural events before. It's one of those strange feelings you get, but I just had a premonition I was going to win this thing. Of course, I wasn't going to tell anybody until after the fact!
"I actually have a 15-year winning streak here," Johnson joked. "I won an American Hot Rod Association race here in 1982. The track ran the other direction back then."
En route to the final, Johnson won a crucial semi-final round match with his son Kurt. Although Kurt was quicker in the preceding round, his ACDelco Firebird faltered at half-track, and Warren took the victory.
"Kurt thought the starting line was better on the right side," Warren explained. "He just got loose in third gear and that's what cost him the race.
Johnson narrowed Yates' lead in the championship race to just 20 points -- one round of competition. After a three-week layoff, Warren and the GM Goodwrench Service Plus team will begin the grueling three-week "Western Swing" through Colorado, California, and Washington. The three-race trek begins in Denver at the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals on July 17-20.
WARREN JOHNSON RACE SUMMARY
QUALIFYING: Warren Johnson qualified No. 2 at 7.017/196.76
ELIMINATIONS: Round 1: Warren Johnson (7.028/196.85) defeated Darrell Alderman (7.131/194.59) Round 2: Warren Johnson (7.061/196.37) defeated Steve Schmidt (7.096/195.14) Semi-Final: Warren Johnson (7.032/196.89) defeated Kurt Johnson (7.182/193.09) Final Round: Warren Johnson (7.064/196.16) defeated Jim Yates (7.049/195.90) LOW ET: Jim Yates 6.975 TOP SPEED: Warren Johnson 197.02 mph
PRO STOCK STANDINGS: (after 11 of 22 events; victories in parentheses): 1. Jim Yates (3), 943; 2. Warren Johnson (4), 923; 3. Kurt Johnson, 782; 4. Bruce Allen, 631; 5. Tom Martino (2), 529.
NEXT EVENT: July 17-20, NHRA Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals, Denver, Colo.
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 30-Jun-1997