DALLAS - Although Warren Johnson professes that he does not have a favorite race track, the Professor of Pro Stock does have a certain fondness for the Texas Motorplex. Today he made his sixth final-round appearance in the last seven events ...
DALLAS - Although Warren Johnson professes that he does not have a favorite race track, the Professor of Pro Stock does have a certain fondness for the Texas Motorplex. Today he made his sixth final-round appearance in the last seven events contested on the all-concrete supertrack near Dallas. Johnson was defeated by V. Gaines on a holeshot in the final round, 7.041 to 7.016.
W.J.'s runner-up finish in the Castrol Nationals was his best result since he faced Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the final round in Las Vegas in early April. He rebounded from three straight first-round losses to advance to the final round for the 127th time in his career. Johnson cut Coughlin's lead in the championship race to 224 points with 15 races remaining on the NHRA schedule.
Johnson had defeated V. Gaines in their four previous meetings, including a holeshot victory in the final round of the 1998 Autolite Nationals in Sonoma, Calif. This time Gaines was first out of the gate, and he held that advantage to the finish line.
"We spun the tires too hard on the starting line and that just killed the reaction time," said Warren.
Johnson qualified his GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac in the No. 2 spot behind his son Kurt - the third race this season and the 27th time overall that the Johnson family has claimed the top two qualifying positions.
"We're experimenting with a new setup in this car, trying to figure out our approach for next season," Johnson reported. "There were a few things we needed to test under national event conditions, and we tried them in qualifying. After we qualified on our second run, we started to experiment."
Johnson ran the quickest elapsed time in all four rounds of eliminations. He defeated Darrell Alderman in the first round, Mark Pawuk in the second, and Troy Coughlin in the semi-final.
"When you look at where we are in the schedule, we're really not in that bad shape," said Johnson. "Coming into the hot part of the season is going to work to our advantage." <pre> WARREN JOHNSON RACE RESULTS: Qualifying: Warren Johnson qualified No. 2 at 7.001/197.10 mph Eliminations: First Round: Warren Johnson (6.965/197.97) defeated Darrell Alderman (7.046/196.29) Second Round: Johnson (7.002/198.10) defeated Mark Pawuk (7.022/195.95) Semi-Final: Johnson (7.006/197.71) defeated Troy Coughlin (7.030/196.89) Final Round: V Gaines (7.041/196.93) defeated Johnson (7.016/197.93)
Low ET: Warren Johnson, 6.965 seconds Top Speed: Kurt Johnson, 198.28 mph
POINTS RACE: (After 8 of 23 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Jeg Coughlin Jr. 6 787 2. Warren Johnson 1 563 3. Jim Yates 0 459 4. Troy Coughlin 0 451 5. Mark Pawuk 0 433
NEXT RACE: Prestone Route 66 Nationals, June 2-4, Chicago TV: ESPN2, June 4, 5-7 p.m. (ET)