Baytown: Warren Johnson Saturday summary

Warren Johnson paces record-setting Field in Houston. Warren Johnson scored his first No.1 qualifying position of the 2003 season today at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, TX. Johnson's national record-setting 6.720-second, 204.66 mph...

Warren Johnson paces record-setting Field in Houston.

Warren Johnson scored his first No.1 qualifying position of the 2003 season today at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, TX. Johnson's national record-setting 6.720-second, 204.66 mph pass from Friday evening was more than enough to place the GM Performance Parts Grand Am atop the quickest field in the history of the NHRA's Pro Stock division.

This is the 128th No. 1 qualifying performance of Johnson's career, the most by any driver in NHRA history. Warren's most recent No. 1 prior to today came last November at the 2002 Auto Club of Southern California Finals in Pomona, CA.

"Given the caliber and number of competitive cars in Pro Stock today, it takes a tremendous effort to qualify No. 1" said Johnson. "Our first priority on race weekends is to just get one of the first sixteen spots, and hopefully in the top half of the field. With our fields averaging well over 35 cars, to do that is an accomplishment in itself, so we are extremely pleased to have our GM Performance Parts Grand Am on top.

"There were so many variables this weekend, from a racing surface that was constantly changing to premium weather conditions that we haven't seen in quite a few years. The challenge is to maximize the opportunities presented. I'm sure there were probably several other cars capable of running in the 6.72s had they had the proper set-up. We were just fortunate to hit it as well as we did, because there was not a lot left in that run."

One day after the Pro Stock category saw virtually every one of the 35 competitors post career performances and create the quickest field in their history, warmer conditions on Saturday precluded any real challenges for the top position. Therefore, much like many of the higher qualified cars, "The Professor" turned his attention towards fine-tuning his race day set-up.

"With today's conditions, we knew no one would be able to really pick up, so we took advantage of today's sessions to test some things," explained Joihnson. "We gathered some valuable information, so we'll know where the gearing and power level need to be for tomorrow. We'll put it back to the proper set-up, and have it ready for the first round."

Fast Facts on W.J. and the No. 1 qualifying position:

* This is Warren's first No. 1 qualifying performance of the 2003 season, and 128th of his career, the most in NHRA history. Warren's most recent No. 1 prior to today was at the 2002 Auto Club of Southern California Finals in Pomona, CA, last November.

* This is Warren's eighth No. 1 qualifying performance at Houston Raceway Park, where he was the top qualifier at this event from 1995-1999.

* Warren has now been the No. 1 qualifier at least twice a year for 16 consecutive seasons, dating back to 1988, and has captured at least one in 21 of the last 22 seasons.

* Warren has now qualified No. 1 at 128 of his 410 career starts, giving him a .312 average for being the low qualifier.

* Warren's son Kurt is qualified second with an elapsed time of 6.726 seconds with a national record top speed of 205. 57 mph. This marks the 29th time that WJ and KJ have simultaneously qualified in the top two positions in their careers, with Warren being the No. 1 qualifier 22 times.

-gk-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson