Baytown: Warren Johnson preview

Warren Johnson Is Ready to Take Care of Business in Houston GM Performance Parts team preps for repeat of Pro Stock Super Bowl win SUGAR HILL, GA., April 12, 2004 - Throughout his illustrious career, Warren Johnson has maintained a business-like...

Warren Johnson Is Ready to Take Care of Business in Houston
GM Performance Parts team preps for repeat of Pro Stock Super Bowl win

SUGAR HILL, GA., April 12, 2004 - Throughout his illustrious career, Warren Johnson has maintained a business-like approach to his participation in the NHRA's POWERade Drag Racing Series. Nearly every one of the GM Performance Parts driver's class-leading 92 wins have been met with quiet celebration, while defeats are viewed as a normal, albeit unwelcome aspect of racing. It is an outlook that has served him well for over 30 years in the highly competitive Pro Stock division.

After opening with a strong runner-up performance in the season-opening event in Pomona and a semi-final run in Phoenix, the six-time champion endured uncharacteristic showings in the next two races, qualifying well, but scoring only one elimination round win. As expected, Johnson has taken a straightforward approach to this weekend's O'Reilly Spring Nationals, not dwelling on the completed events, focusing instead on the challenges that lie ahead, an outlook that should take no one by surprise.

"Although our results in the last two races are certainly not what we would have liked, it's not a source of concern," stated Johnson. "For example, we tested some new components in Gainesville, to see how they would measure up against our standard pieces. Although they were pretty close, it did require a completely different set of adjustments, which threw us a bit of a curve in eliminations. Still, the information gathered will prove very useful down the road.

"At the last race in Las Vegas we ran fairly well in qualifying, but overloaded it in the first round and had excessive wheel speed, which ended our weekend. Those problems are easily fixed, and overall I'd say we're fairly satisfied with the performance of our GM Performance Parts Grand Am. Of course, we're looking to pick it up even further this weekend in Houston."

"The Professor" has already experienced success at Houston Raceway Park in 2004, having won the pre-season Pontiac Pro Stock Super Bowl. Although he sees little from that performance that will translate into this weekend's event, he is quietly confident of duplicating the results.

"Our win here in February is essentially a moot point, due to the different atmospheric and track conditions we will encounter," detailed Johnson. "The racing surface will be completely different, as more than likely, the temperatures will be much higher, and the differences in track preparation between the NHRA and the local staff will significantly change the coefficient of friction. Even so, we're very familiar with the facility's basic characteristics and are still anticipating a strong showing."

Johnson's optimistic outlook for this race is well founded, as his record in Baytown is unmatched among the "factory hot rods", with five wins in twenty previous appearances, giving him an unparalleled perspective on the Lone Star State quarter-mile.

"For the most part, our races in Houston have enjoyed tremendous weather, which, coupled with its relative proximity to sea level, translates into a racing surface that doesn't get that hot and offers tremendous traction. Over the years, this combination has produced some outstanding performances and great racing.

"There were a few instances in the past where a few bumps developed down track, but now that they have resurfaced it, I expect it to be as fast as it's ever been. However, as always, we'll all be drawing from the same deck, so the GM Performance Parts crew will just have to do a better job than our competition of adapting our Grand Am to what is thrown at us. My final advice is that if you want to be around on Sunday, bring your "A" game."

In Warren's Words:

On trying to keep pace with the competition -

"We won't waste any time worrying about what anyone else is doing, simply because we have no control over it. It's more a matter of our keeping pace with our own program, making sure we maximize our performance in any way we can. If we're a little short on performance here or there, we try to address those areas as rapidly as we can."

On how his program has changed since the start of the 2004 POWERade season -

"Since the start of the season, we've been making incremental gains in power. Of course, that's a given in this category. We are concentrating on getting that increased power to the ground on a more consistent basis, which we address on a daily basis.

"We test as often as possible to eliminate chassis configurations that don't add to our performance. It's a matter of working on things that make you run quicker, maintaining those areas you're solid in, while strengthening those areas that need improvement. In the long run, you should make progress."


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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson