Mechanical gremlin cuts WJ's weekend short in Joliet Racers arriving at Route 66 Raceway on Saturday encountered temperatures that were approximately fifteen degrees cooler than they were during the first day of qualifying. For the normally ...
Mechanical gremlin cuts WJ's weekend short in Joliet
Racers arriving at Route 66 Raceway on Saturday encountered temperatures that were approximately fifteen degrees cooler than they were during the first day of qualifying. For the normally aspirated Pro Stock division, this change virtually guaranteed that there would be a total reshuffling of the sixteen-car field from Friday's opening attempts at the Lucas Oil NHRA Route 66 Nationals.
After posting a best effort of 6.867 seconds on Friday, Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Racing team knew improvement would be necessary to secure their position for race day. Although they were able to better their performance by two hundredths of a second, their 6.847-second, 201.34 mph run from Saturday morning fell shy of making the top sixteen required to qualify.
This marks only the fifth time in 419 races that Johnson will not participate in final eliminations, snapping a qualifying string of 17 races, dating back to last year's event in Sonoma, CA. Johnson holds the longest consecutive Pro Stock qualifying streak at 303 races, which ran from 1987 to 2002.
Within moments after completing his final attempt, Johnson was hard at work, searching for the problem that had affected his car on Saturday.
"There is something in our tune-up which is off-center. Our GM Performance Parts Grand Am had a one flat sixty foot time on that last run, which is as good as anyone out there. Unfortunately, it didn't run well after that.
"Since our performance drop-off came in the middle of the race track, we know our problems are not car-related. Unfortunately, it has affected both my car and Kurt's and, as a result, we are both off about one to two miles per hour on our top speeds.
"Our next step will be to go home, put our engines on the dyno and make sure there is nothing wrong with them. Something generic might have been changed between the two engines, but I find that doubtful. It' certainly something that can be rectified, we just didn't do it here.'