WJ Rebounds to Post a Quarterfinal Finish in Houston On Friday evening at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, TX, Warren Johnson's GM Performance Parts GXP had a blown engine and was in dire need of bodywork, having hit the wall in...
WJ Rebounds to Post a Quarterfinal Finish in Houston
On Friday evening at the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston, TX, Warren Johnson's GM Performance Parts GXP had a blown engine and was in dire need of bodywork, having hit the wall in the evening qualifying session. However, by the start of eliminations on Sunday morning, thanks to a lot of hard work by Johnson and his three-man crew, the still-new race car had been repaired and made fully ready for competition, having qualified ninth.
Things went according to plan in the first round, when Johnson combined a quick .032 reaction time with the quickest pass in the less-preferred left hand lane at 6.659 seconds and a booming track record top speed of 209.10 mph to eliminate eighth qualifier Mike Edwards. This set the stage for a second round match-up with a familiar opponent -- his son, Kurt, who had qualified in the No. 1 position, and posted the quickest elapsed time in each of the last four rounds.
Once again running on the left hand side, which had consistently proven to be several hundredths of a second slower, Johnson found himself battling for control almost immediately after launching due to tire shake, allowing KJ to drive on for the win.
"After being the quickest in the left hand lane, we felt we had a chance in the second round. However, it went hard right at the launch, and after that we were playing catch up. We saw Allen (Johnson, a fellow Pro Stock competitor) have the same problem right before us, so we'll attribute some of our misfortune to that left lane. In fact, he was in bad enough shape that he had to shut off. Apparently there was something there that neither one of us accounted for. The only consolation is that we were running Kurt.
"This may sound strange, but this weekend turned out to be somewhat of a blessing in disguise in that I had to switch to the other engine. This allowed me to get some runs on it and accumulate data that will help me with some of the projects I have been working on. However, I didn't really need the mayhem that preceded the switch.
"Fortunately, we're leaving here knowing the GM Performance Parts GXP is just fine. We'll send it to Jerry Haas' shop in Missouri where they'll fluff and buff it, fixing the bodywork, which should take a couple days while I'll go back to the shop and get to work on the engines. Ideally, we'll test before heading to Vegas to get a few things ironed out. We're definitely headed in the right direction, and if we can get this thing to perform in the first sixty feet, it will be an animal."