The Warren Report: Warren Johnson GM Performance Parts News & Notes for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals (Las Vegas, April 5-7) and the O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil (Houston, April 12-14) Las Vegas and Houston events are ...
The Warren Report:
Warren Johnson GM Performance Parts News & Notes for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals (Las Vegas, April 5-7) and the O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil (Houston, April 12-14)
Las Vegas and Houston events are Worlds apart for Warren Johnson
Now it gets serious. The first three rounds of the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series have been contested at a leisurely pace, with two- and three-week breaks between races. This weekend's NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway marks the start of a demanding stretch of seven events in the next nine weeks.
Warren Johnson can't wait.
All work and no play have made W.J. the most successful Pro Stock driver in drag racing history. He relishes the prospect of the unrelenting schedule that is about to begin.
"The key to winning a championship is keeping up the pace for the entire season," Johnson said. "My GM Performance Parts team has the resources, the equipment and the stamina to carry us through this stretch. Some of the other teams may not, especially those involved in engine leasing programs. I think we'll see several teams reevaluating their approach before this is over."
Johnson devoted the time since the Gatornationals doing what he does best: working. Three days of testing at Atlanta Dragway have buoyed his confidence going into Las Vegas. He is second in the championship standings, just one point behind local hero George Marnell.
"We'll find out on Friday whether or not our tests were productive," he predicted. "We ran at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in February, but the track has been ground since then and we don't really know what to expect.
"We do know that the track elevation is going to cost us some horsepower and that it can be warm in the desert," W.J. added. "We learned how to race this car in hot conditions at Gainesville, so I'm confident that we will have a setup that works in Las Vegas."
Houston Raceway Park, site of the O'Reilly Spring Nationals on April 12-14, stands at the opposite end of the spectrum. Virtually at sea level, HRP has consistently produced record performances by the Pro Stock contingent. Johnson will be racing for his third straight win in Houston, and he anticipates fast times on the Gulf Coast.
"Horsepower's not a problem in Houston," W.J. noted. "It's a matter of getting the car down the race track.
"We've concentrated on improving our Pontiac's initial launch, and we have made real progress in cutting its 60-foot times," he continued. "Houston is a track that will allow us to reap the rewards of that work."
For Warren Johnson, a racer who regards work as his hobby, the fun is about to begin.