WJ Set to be an Effective Teammate in Las Vegas; GM Performance Parts GXP crew targets ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals win Sugar Hill, Ga., October 28, 2008 -- This Friday, our nation will celebrate Halloween, a light-hearted holiday with ...
WJ Set to be an Effective Teammate in Las Vegas; GM Performance Parts GXP crew targets ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals win
Sugar Hill, Ga., October 28, 2008 -- This Friday, our nation will celebrate Halloween, a light-hearted holiday with roots dating back to the ancient Celtic nation. Across the country, adults and children of all ages will dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating or attend parties where witches, ghosts and goblins will be the prevailing theme. Naturally, these celebrations ascend to an entirely different level along The Strip in Las Vegas, NV, where the reveler's outfits defy description and festivities often last until the following morning.
Just outside of the Las Vegas city limits, however, GM Performance Parts GXP racer Warren Johnson will pay little attention to the goings-on, as he will be concentrating on conjuring a set-up to put a scare into the competition at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals. Although his top priority will naturally be returning to the winner's circle, the six-time champion also has designs on assisting his son and teammate Kurt's pursuit of this year's championship in his ACDelco Cobalt.
"As with any race we enter, the GM Performance Parts GXP crew is headed to Las Vegas to win," said Johnson. "We're simply trying to finish the year on a strong note. However, of equal importance will be doing whatever we can to help Kurt win the championship. After all, our collective goal is to bring the POWERade trophy back to Sugar Hill.
"That's why we spent two days in Charlotte testing. Although our efforts were somewhat curtailed by a lack of proper track preparation equipment, we were still able to learn a few things that should come in handy during these last two races. Of course, we would have liked to be in this position 21 races ago, but this has been one of those seasons, so we're just going to focus on moving ahead. Just in time for Halloween, we have a few new tricks in our bag that will hopefully result in a treat for us on Sunday."
Adding fuel to The Professor's competitive fire is the fact that The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, site of this weekend's event, is one of only two tracks on the 2008 POWERade tour where he has yet to score a national event win. In typical WJ fashion, he views this omission simply as a temporary situation, a challenge he is more than up to meeting.
"Las Vegas is just one of those tracks where, for one reason or another, a win has so far eluded us," said Johnson. "It's a situation similar to what I had in Phoenix, where it took me fourteen tries to score my first win. It's just one of those things where we haven't yet been able to put it all together. If I could put a finger on why, I would have fixed it a long time ago, but this GM Performance Parts GXP crew is not about to give up. The way I see it, it's just a matter of time before I add it to the list, and hopefully it will happen this weekend."
WJ Autograph Signing: WJ and KJ will be among numerous NHRA drivers signing autographs during the NHRA Vegas-Style Fanfest, which will be held on Thursday, October 30 from 6:00 -- 8:00 p.m. at the 3rd Street Section of the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.
Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Pontiac Racing team
By the Numbers -- ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals edition:
1 -- No. 1 qualifying performances by WJ in Las Vegas coming into this weekend, which came in 2005
2 -- a) Final round appearances by WJ at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
b) Number of tracks on the 2008 NHRA circuit where WJ has yet to win (Las Vegas & Norwalk, Ohio)
6.79 -- Average starting position by WJ at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his 14 previous starts.
10 -- Top half starts by Warren Johnson in his previous 14 starts at LVMS.
12 -- Elimination round wins by WJ on The Strip coming into this weekend.
14 - Number of times (in 22 total races) that WJ has set top speed of the event in 2008.
18 -- Different drivers WJ has faced in his 14 previous starts in Las Vegas.