WJ is Anxious to Expand His Winning Record in Englishtown Sugar Hill, Ga., June 18, 2008 -- Ten days ago in Joliet, IL Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Pontiac GXP Racing team had their best showing of the 2008 POWERade Drag Racing...
WJ is Anxious to Expand His Winning Record in Englishtown
Sugar Hill, Ga., June 18, 2008 -- Ten days ago in Joliet, IL Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Pontiac GXP Racing team had their best showing of the 2008 POWERade Drag Racing season, a solid semifinal finish that saw their opponent and teammate Kurt Johnson advance and eventually win. Although certainly pleased with those results, with over 500 races under his belt The Professor was in no way satisfied, seeing this performance as merely a single positive step. Therefore, as he leads his young crew into Englishtown, NJ for this weekend's Lucas Oil SuperNationals, he has once again set his sights high, with his 97th career win the only truly acceptable result.
"Our performance in Joliet gave this GM Performance Parts GXP crew a much-needed shot in the arm," said Johnson. "Not only has it helped team morale, but it also confirmed that we were heading in the right direction with the tune-up. But making it to the semifinals was only a start. The key is to make sure we continue our forward progress in Englishtown this weekend, doing what we need in order to go deeper into eliminations and contend for the win. After all, that is why we are here."
This weekend, Johnson will return to familiar surroundings, as this weekend marks his 31st NHRA national event appearance at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. Overall, it has been a good venue for the six-time champion, dating back to his first race in 1975, when he qualified 14th and faced fellow drag racing legends "Dyno" Don Nicholson and Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins while advancing to the quarterfinals. For example, "E-town" holds the unique distinction on being the site of WJ's first NHRA Pro Stock national event win in 1982, when he qualified fourth and defeated Jim Meyer, Don Campanello, Joe Lepone and Lee Shepherd. Armed with an extremely fast race car, he looks to add yet another winning line to his Garden State racing resume this weekend.
"Raceway Park has been pretty good to me over the years," said Johnson. "Certainly, we've had to endure our share of challenges, from going off the end of the racetrack to dealing with the insufferable heat when the race was held in mid-July, but overall we've done relatively well there.
"I guess in some way you could say that Englishtown was the start of it all for me, as I scored my first win there in 1982. Being able to defeat Lee Shepherd and the Reher-Morrison team in the final, who at the time were the kings of Pro Stock, was pretty special.
"Through the years, they've done a good job of maintaining the racing surface in Englishtown, and it is a great track for Pro Stock. From the tremendous reception we get from the fans to the way our cars adapt to the track, it's one facility we always look forward to racing on.
"Looking at the forecast, it is supposed to be relatively cool there this weekend, so we will need to be on top of our game with our GM Performance Parts GXP. We had wanted to do some testing before Englishtown, but other than a rain-abbreviated session in Chicago, haven't been able to find a suitable location given our tight schedule. But even though we might not be able to test until after Norwalk, I believe we have a relatively good handle on things, and if we can improve our numbers in the early part of the run, we should be in excellent shape."