GM Performance Parts Grand Am pilot Warren Johnson entered Sunday's final eliminations of the Mac Tools Gatornationals as the most successful active driver among all professional categories at Gainesville Raceway, with nine wins in 10 final round...
GM Performance Parts Grand Am pilot Warren Johnson entered Sunday's final eliminations of the Mac Tools Gatornationals as the most successful active driver among all professional categories at Gainesville Raceway, with nine wins in 10 final round appearances. However, WJ knew that an outstanding effort would be needed to add to this impressive total on Sunday.
After qualifying seventh, Johnson faced Tom Martino in the first round. However, the contest was over before it really started, as Martino left the starting line one hundredth of a second early, handing the automatic win to WJ, who posted a 6.828-second elapsed time with a top speed of 201.65 mph.
This set the stage for a quarterfinal match-up with current POWERade points leader Greg Anderson, who won the most recent race in Phoenix. In what proved to be one of the closest races of the day, Johnson gained the early advantage with an .011 reaction time and seemed headed to the semifinals. However, Johnson's 6.857-second elapsed time and 201.43 mph top speed were not enough to hold off Anderson's late charge, bringing a premature end to WJ's day.
"There's something amiss in the race car that we can't put our finger on right now. It's not running the last 300-350 feet of the race track like it should. It's as fast as anybody to the eighth mile, but we're off in the back half, which is highly uncharacteristic for this team.
"It's a problem that started to develop in Pomona, so there's obviously something wrong inside the car. It's not the engines, because we've had them off and on the dyno several times, and the car has not physically been changed, so there's obviously some component that is giving us trouble.
"We've been replacing one piece at a time, because if you just field strip it and the problem goes away, if it reoccurs, you have to go through that whole procedure all over again.
"I'm confident we'll be able to pinpoint the problem, and when we do, I'm willing to bet it's going to be something minor, because we constantly monitor the vital signs for anything major. I'm confident we'll have it ironed out by the next race, restoring our GM Performance Parts Grand Am to full health. It's just unfortunate that it bit us here."
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas, Nev., April 3-6