Pontiacs Set Pro Stock E.T And Speed Track Records At National Trail Raceway Warren Johnson Leads First Day Qualifiers HEBRON, Ohio, May 20, 2005 - The change of date for the Pontiac Performance Nationals from June to May hasn't seemed to bother...
Pontiacs Set Pro Stock E.T And Speed Track Records At National Trail
Warren Johnson Leads First Day Qualifiers
HEBRON, Ohio, May 20, 2005 - The change of date for the Pontiac Performance Nationals from June to May hasn't seemed to bother six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson. The driver of the GM Performance Parts Pontiac captured the provisional pole for Sunday's eliminator after setting the National Trail Raceway elapsed-time track record today with a run of 6.749 seconds at 204.46 mph.
"We actually lost the first run when we had a throttle linkage malfunction," said Johnson. "We were basically operating on one carburetor, and part of the other one so consequently the power level wasn't where it needed to be. It shook the tires on the burnout, and on that first run we didn't have a computer, so there was some malfunction as far as the engine rpm input was concerned. When you don't have the engine rpm input, consequently you don't get any of the other information.
"Even though Kurt was the No. 1 qualifier going into that session we really didn't look at his run. We did use Kurt's (Johnson) setup from some testing we'd done at Atlanta Dragway with the Cobalt and we felt this would be an ideal opportunity to try it. I can't say it was perfect in my car but it was pretty decent. For us we had a pretty good 60-foot time and from there the GM Performance Parts Pontiac ran pretty smoothly."
The 61-year-old Johnson has already earned top qualifying honors at three of the first seven races this season and has been the No. 1 qualifier at this event eight times, including the first of his 133 career pole awards in 1978.
"The air conditions can actually support better times than what we ran here tonight," said Johnson. "The track, with all the rain on it, I think everybody is just a little intimidated. They don't really want throw everything at it because if you go over the edge, you get no run at all, you can get up to the edge and make a pretty decent run. We just don't know how far we can go on this particular racetrack but it is pretty good considering all the rain that was on it.
"I can't say that we're the car to beat. When you look at how the category has tightened up this year, the top half of the field is so close that any one of those cars could jump up and be No. 1. We're happy with the performance we have but we're certainly not sitting on our laurels. We have to work a lot harder because we know everyone else is."
Mike Edwards has the Young Life Pontiac qualified in the No. 2 position, ..003 of a second behind Warren Johnson's category leading car after running 6.752 seconds at a track-record top speed of 204.85 mph.
"That's a good start, a good start to the weekend," said Edwards. "We made two really nice runs today, so we're happy about that. Most of it's because of Frank (Iaconio). He's got my motor program to where it's the best stuff I've ever had since I've been racing. Just glad to be hooked up with him, and I just want to say thanks to all of my guys - Al, Josh, and Don, and everybody involved, especially Pontiac for all of their support. I'd also like to thank Mac Tools, A.R.T., Just everybody that's been a big help to me. But it's a good start, and now we've got to build on that. Hopefully tomorrow we can get better, and then we need to go some rounds on Sunday. That's what we're looking for. We're ecstatic about how we're running. We've got a good car. Now I just hope the driver shows up on Sunday."
Kurt Johnson has the quickest Chevy Cobalt in the field and is qualified in the No. 3 spot after running 6.761 seconds at 204.26 mph. Ron Krisher is fourth in a Cobalt with a 6.767 e.t. at 203.98 mph.
"We're pretty pleased," said Johnson. "On the 6.76 run, the car kind of bogged so it didn't feel like it was as quick as it was. I thought it was a 6.86, so to be No. 1 after that pass, we had big expectations for our second run tonight. We thought we could tune up the ACDelco Cobalt and easily run a 6.74, but that just wasn't the case. We're only .015 of a second off the lead, and that doesn't sound like much but that's the difference between winning and losing. We can't see anything that's telling us why we ran slow tonight, but a 6.76, 6.77, quit whining, we're happy."
The 41st annual Pontiac Performance Nationals presented by Summit Racing at National Trail Raceway on May 19 - 22 is the eighth race on the 23-event NHRA POWERade tour. Qualifying can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday, May 21 beginning at 11 p.m. Eastern. A three-hour telecast of final eliminations can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 22 starting at 7 p.m.