Warren Johnson Takes Top Spot In Pro Stock At Atlanta Points Leader Claims 10th Career No. 1 at "Hometown" Track COMMERCE, Ga., May 14, 2005 - Who says you can't go home again? Although six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson was born...
Warren Johnson Takes Top Spot In Pro Stock At Atlanta
Points Leader Claims 10th Career No. 1 at "Hometown" Track
COMMERCE, Ga., May 14, 2005 - Who says you can't go home again? Although six-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson was born in Minnesota, he has claimed Sugar Hill, Ga., as home for his family and race shop for 25 years. With his shop just 25 minutes up the road from the Atlanta Dragway, "The Professor" probably has more passes in testing and competition on the Georgia quarter-mile than any other NHRA competitor.
So it wasn't a real surprise when Johnson's GM Performance Parts Pontiac claimed his 10th career No. 1 qualifying position in Pro Stock at Atlanta Dragway for tomorrow's eliminations at the 25th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac. Johnson also betters his own NHRA career record for No. 1 qualifiers with 133.
"All the races are important," said Johnson, "and whether I'm here (at my hometrack) for the last time or not is not is not the point. The point is to win this race, pure and simple.
"Our recent success is strictly a case of work, and it really started the middle of last season, but it was just a matter of concentrating on what we knew we had had to do, and we're very fortunate to get at least a major part of that work load done. But there's still plenty of work to do because you know full well that all the rest of those teams are working as hard as they possibly can too. It's just going to keep getting quicker and faster."
After two qualifying sessions yesterday, Johnson narrowly missed the provisional pole by .001 seconds to Ron Krisher in his maiden voyage in his Chevy Cobalt. In today's morning session Johnson bettered Krisher's day-old track records for elapsed time and speed with a 6.749-second pass at 204.54 mph. Jason Line's Pontiac slipped around Krisher for the No.2 qualifying position with an elapsed time of 6.754 seconds and 204.42 mph. Line's KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson has his Summit Racing Pontiac fourth on the grid with a qualifying best of 6.764 seconds at 203.74 mph. Other Pontiac qualifiers include Mike Edwards (6th), Jim Yates (12th) and Bruce Allen (15th).
"As I said before, over the years I've been blessed with excellent health, and that's probably been part of the reason I've been able to keep up this pace," said the 61-year-old Johnson. "I'll keep working at it as hard as I can as long as I can. To me it's a way to make a living. It's my occupation, not an avocation like the majority of people out here. If you can enjoy what you're doing and make a living at it, I don't think you can get any better scenario than that."
Chevy driver Ron Krisher was making a debut of his Chevy Cobalt here at Atlanta, and he did so with a bang. The Ohio native held the provisional pole after first-day qualifying with an elapsed time of 6.757 seconds at 203.89 mph, and his time held up today for third-best on the 16-car Pro Stock qualifying grid.
"That's the first four runs in competition in our new Chevy Cobalt," said Krisher. "The first run yesterday was pretty good and we were pretty fast. Warren (Johnson) had us by a couple hundredths and I looked at it. Most of it was at the 330 (foot mark). I knew I could fix that with the transmission. He didn't outrun us on the back so I knew we were close to where we wanted to be. We changed the transmission around and it picked it up.
"We're still going to have to do some sorting and hunting and pecking with this car. I don't have a lot of runs on it. I've got 13 laps in testing and now four in competition, so just 17 passes on the car. We didn't run it Bristol because it was roaming around a little bit on me. We were running pretty good the other day, and we didn't have our best motor in when we were testing. It was still wandering around, and we figured if we could get the wander out of it we could pick up another hundredth on the car just by settling it. This car's been performing real well for us in testing. We've got it now so it goes straight as an arrow and that's all it's going to take. But we still have to understand transmissions and things. There's still a lot to learn about this car. This Cobalt should run fast everywhere. It's hunkered down. I said all year we have the horsepower, I said that at the beginning of the year, but we didn't have the car to show it off. I think we do now."
Other Chevy qualifiers include Rickie Smith (7th), Greg Stanfield (13th) and Kurt Johnson (14th).
In Funny Car, Tommy Johnson Jr. was the top Team Monte Carlo qualifier with an elapsed time of 4.787 seconds at 321.88 mph, good for third qualifying position. Gary Scelzi in a Dodge was No. 1 qualifier with a 4.782 e.t. at 326.87 mph. Other Chevy Monte Carlo qualifiers include Tony Pedregon (4th), Del Worsham (8th), Cruz Pedregon (9th), Jeff Arend 11th), Tim Wilkerson 13th), Gary Densham (14th) and Bob Gilbertson (15th).