PHOENIX, Feb. 18, 2001 - Warren Johnson raced to his 82nd career victory today in the CSK Nationals at Firebird International Raceway, but the celebration was tempered by sorrow over the death of stock car legend Dale Earnhardt in an accident at...
PHOENIX, Feb. 18, 2001 - Warren Johnson raced to his 82nd career victory today in the CSK Nationals at Firebird International Raceway, but the celebration was tempered by sorrow over the death of stock car legend Dale Earnhardt in an accident at the Daytona 500.
"It had been a great day up until the moment we heard what had happened in Daytona," said Johnson somberly.
W.J.'s second career victory in Phoenix extended the Johnson family's winning streak to four straight national events after his son Kurt scored three consecutive victories. The father and son now occupy the top two spots in the NHRA Winston championship standings. Johnson also claimed the first Pro Stock national event title for Pontiac's Grand Am in his second outing with the aerodynamic coupe.
"Everybody was trying to second-guess what the track was doing because the racing surface was fresh and we had brand-new race cars," Warren explained. "Fortunately we came out on top against a lot of very good race teams."
Johnson outran Bruce Allen in the first round and then handed reigning champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. his second straight second-round defeat. W.J. prevailed over Mark Pawuk in the unfavored left lane in the semi-final to advance to his 130th career final-round appearance. Johnson won his final-round match with Brad Jeter by a razor-slim margin of 1/1000th of a second. Johnson now enjoys a perfect 7-0 record against Jeter.
After a four-week break, NHRA's 50th anniversary season will resume at the Mac Tools Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., on March 16-18. Johnson is the defending Gatornationals champion and has posted nine wins in 21 starts at the fast Florida track.
<pre> WARREN JOHNSON RACE RESULTS: Qualifying: Warren Johnson qualified No. 3 at 6.892/200.29
First Round: Warren Johnson (6.922/200.56) defeated Bruce Allen (8.997/106.60)
Second Round: Warren Johnson (6.959 199.26) defeated Jeg Coughlin Jr. (6.953/198.50 - foul)
Semi-Final: Warren Johnson (6.929/199.08) defeated Mark Pawuk (6.965/198.26)
Final Round: Warren Johnson (6.924/199.20) defeated Brad Jeter (6.967/198.23)
Low ET: Mike Edwards, 6.886 seconds (track record) Top Speed: Kurt Johnson, 200.74 mph (track record)
POINTS RACE: (After 2 of 24 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Warren Johnson 1 193 2. Kurt Johnson 1 171 3. Darrell Alderman 0 126 4. Brad Jeter 0 124 5. Mike Edwards 0 113
NEXT RACE: Mac Tools Gatornationals, March 16-18, Gainesville, Fla. TV: ESPN2, March 18, 5 - 7 p.m. (ET)