WJ Fabricates a Semifinal Finish in Denver After qualifying 12th for Sunday's final eliminations of the Mile-High Nationals in Denver, CO Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO Racing team knew they had their work cut out for...
WJ Fabricates a Semifinal Finish in Denver
After qualifying 12th for Sunday's final eliminations of the Mile-High Nationals in Denver, CO Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO Racing team knew they had their work cut out for them. Opening against No. 5 qualifier David Connolly, Johnson would have to overcome the lack of lane choice and an apparent performance disadvantage, as his race car had been slowed by a mysterious malady throughout the weekend.
However, The Professor was up to the challenge, gaining the advantage by three hundredths of a second at the starting line and riding a 7.207-second, 191.48 mph pass to score the upset. His next opponent was a familiar one, as he would face his son Kurt Johnson in the second round. Faced with a similar competitive dilemma, WJ used the same formula that had worked so well in the opening stanza, combining a starting line advantage with a solid 7.150-second, 193.54 mph pass to advance to the semifinals.
"Kurt and I race each other the same as we do anyone else," said Johnson. "You can take care of yourself and your lane, doing whatever you can to get to the finish line first. Certainly, we're happy to race each other, because we're assured that one of our cars will advance, but we much prefer doing it in the final. Today just happened to be the day we came out on top."
The final obstacle between Johnson and his eleventh Bandimere Speedway final round appearance was No. 1 qualifier Allen Johnson. Unfortunately, despite posting a competitive 7.147-second, 193.07 mph effort, it was not enough to overcome his opponent's strong 7.086-second, 194.58 mph pass. Although naturally disappointed, he was nevertheless pleased by the team's efforts in light of the difficulties they had faced.
"Although you're never completely happy unless you win, today was a good day for the GM Performance Parts crew, especially considering the way our weekend started. Something had been amiss on our car since we got here -- it's just not been running like it should, especially in the back half. Even so, we were able to salvage as much as we could, winning a few rounds, which should help us in the point standings, and giving the team a much-needed boost. We'll take this and move on to Seattle, trying to build on what we did today. I truly enjoy racing at Bandimere, but after the last few days, I'm glad to put this one behind us."