Warren Johnson's day is cut short in Phoenix. Chandler, Ariz., February 23, 2003 - In the opening race of the season, Warren Johnson combined outstanding reaction times with great runs to score a dominating win in Pomona. After qualifying...
Warren Johnson's day is cut short in Phoenix.
Chandler, Ariz., February 23, 2003 - In the opening race of the season, Warren Johnson combined outstanding reaction times with great runs to score a dominating win in Pomona. After qualifying second, it looked as if the GM Performance Parts Racing Team would extend their string of successes at this weekend's Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals in Phoenix, AZ.
Facing long-time rival Jim Yates in the first round, Johnson knew it would take a strong run to advance to the second round. Although his opponent held a slight advantage at the start, Johnson quickly made up the difference and seemed poised to drive around for the win. However, at approximately 300 feet, he soon found himself fighting for control, which cost valuable time, allowing his opponent to just edge him at the finish line.
"Prior to eliminations, I had spoken to Allen Johnson (the runner-up to WJ in Pomona two weeks ago) in the staging lanes and we found it interesting that the two quickest and fastest cars in Pomona had both really struggled here in Phoenix. It seemed that our high-powered cars could just not get through second gear.
"As a result, we had to calm it so far down that we had no vehicle speed in the middle of the race track, and consequently had no down force on the spoiler, so the wheels started spinning and that's all there was to it.
"Our GM Performance Parts Grand Am was on a pretty decent run. I had the second best reaction time in that lane, and although Jim had a slightly better one, if I had not gotten loose, I certainly would have gotten around him. In fact, I had already caught him by the sixty-foot mark, but it just started sliding around in the middle of third gear. Some days, it's just hard to clam these things down.
"But, we've qualified second at both races, which bodes well for the consistency of our program. It's just a matter of taking care of these loose ends. We haven't had this so-called luxury of power for too long, so we'll be doing some testing, but overall, I think we'll be in good shape."