WJ's Gatornationals Charge Ends in Quarterfinals After earning the No. 1 qualifying position in his brand-new GM Performance Parts Pontiac GXP, Warren Johnson was cautiously optimistic about his chances for Sunday's final eliminations of the ...
WJ's Gatornationals Charge Ends in Quarterfinals
After earning the No. 1 qualifying position in his brand-new GM Performance Parts Pontiac GXP, Warren Johnson was cautiously optimistic about his chances for Sunday's final eliminations of the ACDelco Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL. Even though Johnson had been the dominant car in qualifying, posting the quickest and fastest run in each session, his optimism was somewhat tempered by the fact that he had only ten runs of tuning data on this new chassis, all of which had been gathered under conditions completely unlike the 80 degree temperatures at Gainesville Raceway on Sunday.
Things went according to plan in the first round, as Johnson bettered his qualifying performance, covering the quarter-mile in 6.621-seconds at a blistering 209.26 mph to eliminate Matt Hartford. In the second round against Jason Line, The Professor used a quick .024 reaction to gain a slight edge at the start, but any chances of his advancing to the semifinals were quickly dissipated by severe tire shake, forcing him to shut off, allowing his opponent to go on for the win. Despite the natural disappointment at his premature exit, Johnson was nevertheless encouraged by his new race car's performance.
"The track got significantly better for about an hour, and we just didn't compensate enough. I backed it down a little bit, but obviously didn't take enough out, and as a result we shook the tires. It shouldn't have shaken that hard considering the changes we had made, but it did, and that was all she wrote.
"It comes down to not knowing the limits on this new car, especially under the conditions we had today. With this GM Performance Parts GXP being as fast as it is, it's somewhat of a different animal, and we've just got to find a way to tame it.
"We're going to have to test before the Houston race so we can get a better handle on it, because it's not making nice, straight runs. Fortunately, it's close enough that we should only have do a little tweaking. Overall, it wasn't a bad first weekend."