WJ Advances to Atlanta Semifinals, Extends Points Lead GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson continued his solid 2005 performance during a very trying day at Atlanta Dragway, advancing to the semifinals of the 25th annual Summit...
WJ Advances to Atlanta Semifinals, Extends Points Lead
GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson continued his solid 2005 performance during a very trying day at Atlanta Dragway, advancing to the semifinals of the 25th annual Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals. Johnson's third-place showing, which was his sixth semifinal finish in the first seven races, allowed the six-time Pro Stock champion to extend his lead in the POWERade Championship battle to 118 points over David Connolly
Starting from the No. 1 position, Johnson looked to score his third win of the year in front of his hometown fans. Regrettably, the start of final eliminations was delayed by rain for over four hours, producing a completely new tuning scenario. This mattered little to Johnson, as in the first round, he was the beneficiary of Kenny Koretsky's red-light start, punctuating the win with the quickest pass of the opening stanza at 6.764-seconds.
Although another lengthy rain delay pushed the on-track activities into the early evening, WJ extended his elimination round win streak to six, using a 6.786-second, 203.40 mph pass to trailer veteran Larry Morgan in the second round. This set the stage for a semi-final encounter against former employee Greg Anderson.
With Anderson gaining lane choice for their meeting by three thousandths of a second, Johnson found himself running in the left lane. Unfortunately, WJ's chances for his fourth final round of the 2005 season ended in the first sixty feet, as his mount spun the tires violently at the hit of the throttle, slowing him to a 6.846-second pass, and putting an early end to his day.
Despite the initial disappointment, Johnson realized it had been another good outing for the Sugar Hill, GA-based team. In addition, he was able to reach another milestone, as his 204.54 mph top speed in qualifying was the fastest of the event, marking the 200th time "The Professor" had accomplished this feat in his career, which is the most by any professional driver in NHRA history
"We had a good day at the office, but it could have been a great one. After making good runs throughout the weekend, we simply didn't get a hold of the racetrack in the semifinals. It blew the tires off at the hit. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the GM Performance Parts Pontiac, we were just off in the set-up in the early part of the track.
"The surface was a little slick, but down track it was fine. In fact, we outran him (Anderson) by almost two hundredths from the 330 foot mark on -- we just couldn't overcome our sixty-foot time. Who knows, maybe we needed a little wedge and an air pressure adjustment!
"But, still, in the big picture, we extended our lead over second place, so it was still a productive weekend. We'll head to Columbus and see if we can do even better."