LAS VEGAS - Coming into the inaugural SummitRacing.com Nationals, reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson had won at least once at every event on the NHRA tour. He came within three hundredths of a second of extending that record when he...
LAS VEGAS - Coming into the inaugural SummitRacing.com Nationals, reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson had won at least once at every event on the NHRA tour. He came within three hundredths of a second of extending that record when he raced Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the final round of Pro Stock at the sparkling new Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. W.J. had to settle for runner-up honors for the 46th time in his career, however, when Coughlin claimed the victory, 7.072 at 195.56 mph to Warren's 7.100 at 195.51 mph.
"The car got loose in the final," Johnson said. "We may have been a little too greedy because we thought the track would cool off more than it did. I had my best 60-foot time in the last round, but when I shifted into second gear, it just spun the tires."
NHRA teams were greeted by scorching temperatures and a "green" racing surface when they arrived in Las Vegas. W.J's prodigious horsepower may have been a disadvantage in these circumstances. He qualified in the No. 4 position with a 7.075-second elapsed time - .027 seconds behind first-time No. 1 qualifier Ron Krisher.
"The heat contributed to the problem because traction goes down as the temperature increases," Warren explained. "The solution is to back down the power you're putting to the pavement while still running quick enough to win."
Johnson ran quick enough to defeat his son Kurt in the first round with a 7.054-second e.t., the quickest pass in eliminations. He dispatched Richie Stevens in the second round, and beat Troy Coughlin in the semi-final on a holeshot to advance to the money round. The final round was a repeat of the season-opening Winternationals - with a similar result. Johnson now trails Coughlin by 47 points in the championship standings.
"We felt that if the Hoosier tires were going to work, they'd work on a hot race track like this," Warren reported. "I feel very optimistic going into the race in Houston next weekend. We could spin the tires at will here, but we won't have that problem on a well seasoned track."
WARREN JOHNSON GM GOODWRENCH SERVICE PLUS RACE RESULTS:
Qualifying: Warren Johnson qualified No. 4 at 7.075/196.33 mph
First Round: Warren Johnson (7.054/196..02) defeated Kurt Johnson (7.155/194.63)
Second Round: Warren Johnson (7.110/195.05) defeated Richie Stevens (7.157/193.16)
Semi-Final: Warren Johnson (7.077/195.62) defeated Troy Coughlin (7.072/194.97)
Final Round: Jeg Coughlin Jr. (7.072/195.56) defeated Warren Johnson (7.100/195.51)
Low ET: Ron Krisher, 7.048 seconds (track record)
Top Speed: Ron Krisher, 196.56 mph (track record)
<pre> POINTS RACE: (After 4 of 23 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Jeg Coughlin Jr. 3 406 2. Warren Johnson 1 359 3. Mark Pawuk 0 239 4. Ron Krisher 0 238 5. Troy Coughlin 0 236
NEXT RACE: O'Reilly Nationals, April 14-16, Houston TV: TNN, April 16, 4:30-6 p.m. (ET)