WJ Races to a Runner-Up Finish and Regains the Points Lead in Englishtown Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Pontiac Racing team put on a gritty performance during Sunday's final eliminations of the NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown,...
WJ Races to a Runner-Up Finish and Regains the Points Lead in Englishtown
Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Pontiac Racing team put on a gritty performance during Sunday's final eliminations of the NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, NJ, battling their way to a runner-up finish. Their strong showing allowed WJ to recapture the lead in the POWERade championship standings, where he has a slim advantage over Jason Line.
After defeating Allen Johnson in the opening round, Johnson, who battled to tame the tricky Raceway Park surface, was relegated to the less-preferred right-hand lane for the remainder of the day. Even so, "The Professor" was able to earn victories over Jim Yates and his son Kurt Johnson to advance to the 147th final round of his career, fourth of the 2005 season and sixth in the Garden State.
Facing Jason Line, Johnson knew he would need an outstanding run in order to score his third win of the season, and responded with one of the best passes of the day in that lane at 6.714-seconds with a track record and career-best top speed of 207.50 mph. Unfortunately, his game effort fell just shy of overcoming his opponent's 6.692-second, 205.98 mph run.
"On race day, you have to do whatever you can to win. It doesn't have to be pretty, as long as you get to the finish line first, which we were able to do three times today, and just missing getting it done in the final.
"We had spun the tires in the first three rounds, so we gave it a lot more power for the final based on being too cautious early on. As a result, it blew the tires off at the hit of the throttle, and we came up 50 feet short of running him down. Still, we were pleased by the GM Performance Parts Pontiac's performance in the final.
"We had changed motors this morning, because the one we had used to qualify had slowed down yesterday afternoon, and we didn't have time to fool with it last night. When the new engine didn't perform the way we wanted it to, we checked the original one before the final. We found it only had a bad rocker arm, which we replaced it as well as making a few other changes. We then put it back in the car and it woke right up.
"Overall, it was a good weekend. Certainly, we would have preferred to win, but anytime you make it to the final, it's a good day. In addition, we learned a few things about this DRCE III engine that we will be able to apply to our entire inventory, which bodes well for the future. We're going in the right direction, which is all that I can ask."