Las Vegas II: Warren Johnson preview

Warren Johnson Heads to Las Vegas in Search of the Missing Link Gains made during two-week hiatus has GM Performance Parts team looking forward to ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals SUGAR HILL, GA., October 25, 2004 - Throughout his stellar NHRA Pro ...

Warren Johnson Heads to Las Vegas in Search of the Missing Link
Gains made during two-week hiatus has GM Performance Parts team looking forward to ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals

SUGAR HILL, GA., October 25, 2004 - Throughout his stellar NHRA Pro Stock career, GM Performance Parts Grand Am driver Warren Johnson has amassed 92 national event wins, the most by any driver in the history of this highly competitive division. A review of "The Professor's" record further exemplifies the extent of his success, as these victories have come over a span of 22 years at 24 different racetracks, including five that are no longer a part of the POWERade Drag Racing Series.

In fact, of the twenty speedplants on the 2004 schedule, WJ has pulled into the winner's circle at all but one, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is an oversight that he hopes to correct this weekend, as the straight-liners head to the Nevada desert for the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals.

"We enter every race to win, so there really is no added motivation based on the success or lack of success we may had at a particular track," said Johnson. "Our primary concern as we prepare for any event is what set-up we will want to use.

"At one time, I know I had won a national event at every track on the NHRA circuit, and kept pace even as new tracks were added. Phoenix was a thorn in my side for quite some time, but I finally took care of it in 1998. The only one that has eluded me so far is Las Vegas, and I don't want to win there just because I haven't, but because our competitive mindset is to win every race."

However, before Johnson and his veteran crew can think of winning on Sunday, they must first find a way to tame the tricky Las Vegas racing surface during qualifying. In this spectacular facility's four short years in the NHRA, WJ has experienced both ends of the competitive spectrum, with two final round appearances in 2000 and 2002, as well as a few shorter outings.

"The combination of the elevation and the microscopic humidity normally encountered at Las Vegas require a tune-up unlike any other on the circuit," stated Johnson. "I really haven't raced under those conditions very often, and, as a result, on occasion our tune-up might have been a little off. Of course, we have been to two final rounds there, so we have good notes to work from."

With two weekends off prior to this event, the team was able to go over their race car thoroughly, perform some much need research and development work, and get in a few days of testing. It proved to be a labor-intensive but productive period that has the six-time Pro Stock champion looking forward to the weekend.

"We had been banking on having three weeks before this race, but we lost one due to the rainout in Reading," said Johnson. "As a result, we have been putting in 14-15 hour days at the shop trying to make up for it. I think we are now in better shape than we have been since the first two or three races of the year. I believe we are at the point of being extremely competitive, and if we do everything right, our GM Performance Parts Grand Am will have a shot at the win.

"Finally, I find it amusing that final eliminations will be held on Halloween. We seem to have had the company of ghost and gremlins for a good part of the season, so I doubt I'll be spooked this weekend."

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson