FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 1997 Virginia Motorsports Park, Richmond, Va. Media Contact: Rick Voegelin/408-761-2201 Race Results from NHRA Pennzoil Nationals: WARREN JOHNSON WINS IN RICHMOND IN...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 10, 1997 Virginia Motorsports Park, Richmond, Va. Media Contact: Rick Voegelin/408-761-2201
Race Results from NHRA Pennzoil Nationals:
WARREN JOHNSON WINS IN RICHMOND IN 100TH FINAL ROUND APPEARANCE
WARREN JOHNSON RACE SUMMARY QUALIFYING: Warren Johnson qualified No. 1 at 6.894/200.13 (new national elapsed time and top speed records, first Pro Stock run over 200 mph)
ELIMINATIONS: Round 1: Warren Johnson (6.883/200.53) defeated Mike Thomas (6.97/197)--WJ reset national elapsed time and top speed records Round 2: Warren Johnson (6.98/198) defeated Jerry Eckman (no show) Semi-Final: Warren Johnson (6.93/198) defeated Darrell Alderman (6.99/195) Final Round: Warren Johnson (6.95/198) defeated Kurt Johnson (8.49/113)
NOTES AND QUOTES: Warren Johnson scored his second straight victory on the NHRA championship drag racing tour with a dominant performance at the rain-delayed NHRA Pennzoil Nationals. Johnson defeated his son, Kurt, in an intramural final round to notch his third win of the season and his 62nd career title. Johnson is now the only active driver in NHRA competition with 100 career final round appearances.
Warren won the Lone Star Nationals in Dallas on May 4 before returning to complete some "unfinished business" at the Pennzoil Nationals. The final round in Richmond was a repeat of the finale at the season-opening Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., in which WJ beat Kurt. This time a broken transmission in Kurt's ACDelco Firebird decided the outcome in Warren's favor. The two have now raced 26 times in national event competition; Warren has 18 victories to Kurt's 8 wins.
"Kurt and I left the starting line almost dead even, and I had him by about three hundredths when his transmission went," Warren reported. "The track was tricky after the rain-out, and it was tough to stay hooked up on the top end."
Johnson won the Pennzoil Nationals for the third straight year and remains undefeated in national event competition at Virginia Motorsports Park. Warren's victory over the quickest Pro Stock field in NHRA history vaulted him to first place in the Pro Stock points standings with a 54-point lead (685 to 631) over rival Jim Yates. Kurt Johnson is third with 544 points.
WJ's GM Performance Parts Pontiac made the first 200 mph run in Pro Stock and set the NHRA national elapsed time and speed records (6.883/200.53) before rain forced postponement of the Pennzoil Nationals. Johnson earned $25,000 for becoming the first member of the NHRA Speed-Pro 200-mph Pro Stock Club and $15,000 from the MBNA World Record Club for setting the elapsed time mark.
With back-to-back wins, Johnson is showing the championship form that propelled him to three NHRA titles. "We've assembled an inventory of parts and have intensified our research and development program," WJ explained. "The addition of Troy Coughlin's team has also helped our operation. We're picking up the performance pace at just the right time -- and I believe we're not too far away from stepping up the pace some more."
Johnson's GM Performance Parts team will race for the fourth straight week when the NHRA tour goes to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., for the Mopar Parts Nationals on May 18. On May 17, the elite eight Pro Stock racers with the best qualifying records over the last year will race for a $50,000 top prize in the DuPont Pro Stock Challenge bonus event. Johnson is the top seed in the Challenge, an event he won in 1993 and 1995.
PRO STOCK STANDINGS: (after 7 of 22 events; victories in parentheses): 1. Warren Johnson (3), 685; 2. Jim Yates (3), 631; 3. Kurt Johnson, 544; 4. Bruce Allen, 368; 5. Steve Schmidt, 354.
NEXT EVENT: May 17, DuPont Pro Stock Challenge (TV: TNN live final round, 5:00 pm); May 18, NHRA Mopar Parts Nationals, Englishtown, N.J. (TV: TNN live first round, 11:00 am; live final round, 4:30 pm). All times Eastern; please check local listings.
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 11-May-1997