Baytown: GM Racing Friday summary

Warren Johnson's Pontiac Grand Am sets National E.T. Record. BAYTOWN, Tex., April 11, 2003 - The national performance record in elapsed time tumbled today in Pro Stock when Warren Johnson's Pontiac SC/T Grand Am rocketed to a blistering time of...

Warren Johnson's Pontiac Grand Am sets National E.T. Record.

BAYTOWN, Tex., April 11, 2003 - The national performance record in elapsed time tumbled today in Pro Stock when Warren Johnson's Pontiac SC/T Grand Am rocketed to a blistering time of 6.720 seconds at 204.66 mph.

"It really didn't feel that good," said Johnson. "But racing at night you kind of lose the perspective on how fast you are going and where you are on the racetrack. We came into this feeling that after our experience here last year when it cooled off, the track gets a little bit damp and it's not as good as you think it is. We backed up just a little bit to be on the safe side. We were a little light on clutch, that's probably where our speed went, but this Pontiac Grand Am ran great e.t. - that's as quick as anybody's ever run to the eighth mile. There wasn't much left, although we hurt the back half some and may have been able to pick up a couple of thousandths."

The 59-year-old Johnson will enter the final day of time trials for the O'Reilly Spring Nationals with his GM Performance Parts Pontiac planted in the No. 1 qualifying position. Johnson, who is looking for his first raceday pole position of the season, is currently third in the NHRA POWERade standings behind second-place Kurt Johnson and first-place Greg Anderson. Johnson won the season's inaugural event at the Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.

"It's one of those situations where the conditions and the air are so good, that you can go over the edge so easily trying to get that last few thousandths," explained Johnson. "We've been down in speed since Phoenix and we're still not where we'd like to be. But everybody at the shop, they've been putting in tons of overtime to give Kurt (Johnson) and I two outstanding racecars. When we're at the shop, we're trying to develop new parts and we're also out testing as often as possible. It's got to be a team effort, and when you're trying to be the best you can't leave any stone unturned."

The cool, dry conditions at this 15-feet above sea-level facility (the lowest recorded altitude of any track on the circuit) contributed to Johnson's record-breaking run, and many drivers in the Pro Stock category joined the six-time Pro Stock champion in establishing new personal performance bests.

Chevy Cavalier driver Kurt Johnson took the No. 2 qualifying spot with a run of 6.726 seconds and a national-record top speed of 205.57 mph.

"We made some major changes on our ACDelco Chevy Cavalier after the first session," said Johnson. "We changed the four link around, changed the clutch around, came out after our Vegas performance never really running in these kind of conditions with the set up we have. We gathered in all of our notes and set up the car similar to like we have it at Atlanta Dragway when we test there. It shot right through there and ran a 6.72 so we're real pleased. Now we know we have a combination that will run in good air and good conditions as well as in altitude like Las Vegas. We've hit both ends of the spectrum so we're pretty happy."

Greg Anderson finished Friday qualifying in the No. 3 spot after leading the field after the first round of time trials. Mike Edwards is qualified fourth and Bruce Allen is fifth, both in SC/T Grand Ams. Ron Krisher is qualified sixth in a Chevy Cavalier, Mark Pawuk is ninth in a Grand Am, Jeg Coughlin Jr. is 12th and Jim Yates is 14th.

With a bump of 6.768 seconds, this is by far the quickest Pro Stock field in NHRA history. There were seven cars that shattered the previous national-record e.t. of 6.750 seconds and 28 cars posting numbers under the previous track-record elapsed time of 6.822 seconds.

Final eliminations for the Spring Nationals will be telecast on ESPN2 on Sunday, April 13, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Bruce Allen , Mike Edwards