WJ's Strong Run Ends in the Phoenix Quarter-finals Early in the day, Sunday's final eliminations of the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals seemed to be going exactly as Warren Johnson had planned. Starting from the second position, the ...
WJ's Strong Run Ends in the Phoenix Quarter-finals
Early in the day, Sunday's final eliminations of the Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals seemed to be going exactly as Warren Johnson had planned. Starting from the second position, the GM Performance Parts Grand Am driver was the beneficiary of a red-light start by Ben Watson in the first round. Despite the automatic win, Johnson made his best pass of the weekend and second quickest for the round, powering through the quarter-mile in 6.736 seconds with a top speed of 204.57 mph.
In the second round, Johnson squared off against rival Ron Krisher. Leaving the starting line first, WJ grabbed the advantage by nearly two-hundredths of a second, which he expanded to three hundredths by the sixty-foot mark. However, just as he seemed poised to advance to the next round, his car suddenly slowed approaching the 330-foot marker, crippled by a failure in the rear differential, allowing his opponent to drive by and put an early end to WJ's weekend.
"I left on him by two hundredths, ran eleven thousandths quicker to sixty feet, putting us three hundredths ahead and driving away. Then, without any warning, 2.3 seconds into the run it broke.
"I have never had a bearing fail in the rear end of a race car, which is what happened today. This entire assembly was new for this race, so obviously there's something wrong with it. We'll have to totally disassemble it to diagnose what happened, as well as determining how to prevent a reoccurrence in the future."
Despite the disappointment, Johnson will leave Firebird Raceway encouraged by his performance, and looking forward to taking advantage of the time before the next event in Gainesville, FL.
"This GM Performance Parts Grand Am is coming around. We went in to the season with an unproven race car and engine combination, looking to survive the first two races. Well, we got to the finals in Pomona, and were looking pretty good today until we had the problem. Even so, the performance is there and we leave here near the top in points. Now it's a matter of getting some track time to take what we've learned and fine tune it before the next race. We're in good shape."