Phoenix: Warren Johnson wins

PHOENIX, February 18, 2001 -- Five-time Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson put Grand Am in the winner's circle today in only the brand's second NHRA national event. He defeated Brad Jeter in the championship round of eliminations at the...

PHOENIX, February 18, 2001 -- Five-time Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson put Grand Am in the winner's circle today in only the brand's second NHRA national event. He defeated Brad Jeter in the championship round of eliminations at the 17th annual Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals at Firebird International Raceway.

Johnson entered Sunday eliminations qualified in the No. 3 position. The GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac driver defeated Bruce Allen in round one, Jeg Coughlin Jr. in round two and Mark Pawuk in round three. The title bout was a face off between two 2001 Grand Ams with Johnson crossing the finish line first in 6.924 seconds at 199.20 mph while Jeter's Pontiac followed in 6.976 seconds at 198.23 mph.

It was Johnson's 82nd career victory, his second win at Firebird International Raceway and his first trip to the winner's circle since the Matco Tools Supernationals last October in Houston. The "Professor of Pro Stock" leaves Phoenix at the top of the Pro Stock points standings for the first time since the Winston Finals in November of 1999.

"The only time you need to be in the points lead is after the last race," Johnson said. "Don't get me wrong, you don't want to be so far out that you can't get the lead, but this is certainly a step in the right direction. Kurt's (Johnson) team, my team, we feel extremely happy with the progress we've made with these cars considering the limited amount of time we've had to test them.

"We have four weeks before our next race in Gainesville," said Johnson. "Between now and then, we're going to be testing this Grand Am so much that by the time we get to Florida, it'll have bandages on it."

Today's Pro Stock category was dominated by the 2001Grand Am with four drivers, Jim Yates, Mark Pawuk, Brad Jeter and Johnson making it to the final four.

In Funny Car, Bruce Sarver advanced to his third final round in-a-row going back to last year's NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif. The Pontiac Firebird driver, who won just two weeks ago at the season's opening race at Pomona Raceway, drove past Jerry Toliver, Scotty Cannon and Gary Densham before losing to John Force in the championship heat. Sarver slowed to a 6.956 elapsed time at 121.91 mph to Force's 4.929 second run at 285.77 mph in the final round. It was the 373rd time that a Firebird had raced in an NHRA professional round. Sarver now leads the points standings with a 58 point lead over second-place John Force.

"Things are starting to click for this team," Sarver said. "I wish it could have been a good drag race for the fans and everybody, but something broke in the clutch on the burnout and I knew I was done after that. We tried to give John (Force) a run for his money. He ran 4.92 and we felt the Pontiac Firebird could've run a 4.88, but it would've been a good drag race. We're in the points lead, we're having fun and going to Gainesville to try and continue where we left off here."

In Federal Mogul Funny Car, Pat Austin won his 73rd career race in a Pontiac Firebird. He is fourth on the NHRA all-time list for victories. Al Corda of Elk Mound, Wis., was the winner in Stock Eliminator in a Pontiac Firebird.

The next stop on the 24-event NHRA Winston championship schedule is the 32nd annual Mac Tools Gatornationals on March 15 - 18, at Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla.

<pre> Pro Stock Race Winner: Warren Johnson (Pontiac Grand Am) - 6.924ET/199.20MPH

Pro Stock Runner-Up: Brad Jeter (Pontiac Grand Am) - 6.967ET/198.23MPH

Pontiac Pro Stock semifinalists: Warren Johnson, Mark Pawuk, Jim Yates, Brad Jeter

Pro Stock Top Qualifier: Mike Edwards (Pontiac Firebird) - 6.886ET(track record)/199.88MPH

Pro Stock Top 10: 1. Warren Johnson (Grand Am) 2. Kurt Johnson (Cavalier) 3. Darrell Alderman (Dodge) 4. Brad Jeter (Grand Am) 5. Mike Edwards (Firebird) 6. Bruce Allen (Grand Am) 7. Jim Yates (Grand Am) 8. Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Cutlass) 9. Mark Pawuk (Grand Am) 10. Ron Krisher (Firebird)

Funny Car Winner: John Force (Ford Mustang) - 4.929ET/285.77MPH

Funny Car Runner-Up: Bruce Sarver (Pontiac Firebird) - 6.956ET/121.91MPH Pontiac Funny Car semifinalists: Gary Densham, Bruce Sarver

Funny Car Top Qualifier: Dean Skuza (Dodge RT) - 4.805ET(track record)/308.57MPH

Funny Car Top 10: 1. Bruce Sarver (Firebird) 2. John Force (Mustang) 3. Ron Capps (Camaro) 4. Tony Pedregon (Mustang) 4. Chuck Etchells (Camaro) 6. Tommy Johnson Jr. (Camaro) 7. Whit Bazemore (Firebird) 8. Gary Densham (Firebird) 9. Frank Pedregon (Firebird) 10. Scotty Cannon (Firebird)

Top Fuel Winner: Doug Kalitta - 4.628ET/309.84MPH

Top Fuel Runner-Up: Darrell Russell - 7.416ET/111.94MPH

Top Fuel Top Qualifier:  Mike Dunn (GMC/Yankee Dragster) - 4.521(track 

Top Fuel Top 10: 1. Darrell Russell 2. Doug Kalitta 3. Mike Dunn 4. Larry Dixon 5. Gary Scelzi 6. Tony Schumacher 7. Kenny Bernstein 8. Bobby Baldwin 9. Doug Herbert 10. David Grubnic -GM Racing-Content-Type: Text/Plain; charset=US-ASCII X-Content-Type: text/plain; name="PONTIA~1.TXT" X-Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable X-Content-Disposition: inline; filename="PONTIA~1.TXT"

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Doug Herbert , Bruce Sarver , Frank Pedregon , Jeg Coughlin , Mike Dunn , Darrell Alderman , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Ron Krisher , Chuck Etchells , David Grubnic , Gary Densham , Scotty Cannon , Bruce Allen , Jerry Toliver , Mike Edwards