THE WARREN REPORT: Warren Johnson GM Performance Parts Race Report from the Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals QUICK RESULTS Qualified: 7th Finished: Winner Points: 1st W.J. goes all the way in Bristol bash. BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Warren ...
THE WARREN REPORT: Warren Johnson GM Performance Parts Race Report from the Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals
W.J. goes all the way in Bristol bash.
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Warren Johnson returned to the familiar ground of Bristol Dragway's winner's circle after he scored his first victory of the 2002 season in Sunday's Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals. A perennial winner at the Tennessee track in the late '70s, Johnson notched his first victory at Bristol Dragway in the modern era over final-round opponent Ron Krisher. Johnson's holeshot win with his GM Performance Parts Pontiac vaulted him to first place in the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock championship standings.
W.J. defeated Gene Wilson, George Marnell and V. Gaines to advance to the final round for the second time in 2002 and the 137th time in his career. He posted his 88th career national event victory with a 6.986/198.41 mph run to Krisher's quicker 6.975 at 198.15 mph. Johnson's .035-second reaction time advantage gave him the edge he needed to hold off Krisher.
"I think we've turned the corner on consistency," said Johnson after winning his 13th elimination round in six races. "We're not necessarily the fastest car out there, but round for round we're hanging right in there, and that's what it really takes."
The track's elevation, combined with rain and rapidly changing weather conditions, compelled Pro Stock competitors to adjust their raceday setups.
"I didn't really worry about the rain delay," Johnson reported. "NHRA does a good job of preparing the track. The coat of rubber on it was extremely thin, so the water couldn't get underneath it and peel it up. In fact, we got a little more aggressive for the final than we had for any of the other rounds, and it paid off."
Johnson became the sixth different Pro Stock winner in the six races contested this season.
"I guess you call that parity," Johnson noted. "We'd like to break out and win three or four of these things, but when you look at the closeness of competition out there, everybody's got to be on their game."
Johnson's Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals victory, combined with a first-round loss by Jim Yates, gave the Professor a 65-point margin over Yates in the championship race. W.J. will have little time to savor his lead, however. The action resumes next weekend when Atlanta Dragway, Johnson's home track, hosts the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac.
<pre> WARREN JOHNSON RACE RESULTS
Qualified: No. 7 at 6.887/201.10 mph First Round: Warren Johnson (7.005/198.61) defeated Gene Wilson (7.052/197.16) Second Round: Johnson (6.982/198.67) defeated George Marnell (7.027/197.02) Semifinal: Johnson (6.966/198.99) defeated V. Gaines (6.970/198.23) Final Round: Johnson (6.986/198.41) defeated Ron Krisher (6.975/198.15)
Low ET: Troy Coughlin, 6.853 seconds (track record) Top Speed: Ron Krisher, 201.58 mph (track record)
PRO STOCK CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS (After 6 of 23 events)
Driver Wins Points 1. Warren Johnson 1 462 2. Jim Yates 0 397 3. George Marnell 1 382 4. Ron Krisher 1 381 5. Mike Edwards 1 375 6. Darrell Alderman 1 351 7. Kurt Johnson 0 312 8. Bruce Allen 1 295 9. Tom Hammonds 0 284 10. V. Gaines 0 277
NEXT RACE Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac, Atlanta, May 2-5