Pomona: Warren Johnson preview

The Professor Works to Put the Puzzle Together in Pomona GM Performance Parts crew tests in anticipation of NHRA season-opener Sugar Hill , Ga. , February 6, 2007 -- An NHRA Pro Stock race car is a complex machine offering an almost infinite ...

The Professor Works to Put the Puzzle Together in Pomona
GM Performance Parts crew tests in anticipation of NHRA season-opener

Sugar Hill , Ga. , February 6, 2007 -- An NHRA Pro Stock race car is a complex machine offering an almost infinite number of tuning variations.

From the carburetion and timing on its 1,400-horsepower V-8 to the many clutch, gearing and suspension options available, with a few simple changes, today's "factory hot rods" can go from being a 6.6-second, 210-mph guided missile to a tire-shaking, out-of-control monster unable to successfully navigate the quarter-mile under power. As if this challenge were not enough, today's tightly packed fields further reduce the room for error to mere ten-thousandths of a second.

This weekend the highly competitive nature of the Pro Stock class will be evident as the POWERade Drag Racing Series kicks off its 2007 campaign with the 47 th annual Carquest Auto Parts Winternationals in Pomona, CA. For the 28th time in his illustrious career, Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO Racing team will be among those vying for the win on Sunday. However, following an off-season that saw several changes made to both his crew and race car, "The Professor" knows that one of the keys to his success lies in his team's ability to come together under race conditions.

"With the addition of a couple new crew members, and the inclusion of some new components on our GM Performance Parts GTO, we certainly have our share of questions coming into Pomona," admitted Johnson. "Fortunately, over the years Terry (new crew chief Adams) and I have been pretty good at coming up with the right answers. I believe we made substantial progress during our test session in Las Vegas, but we really won't know until the first qualifying session on Thursday. The pieces are there -- it's just up to us to put them in the right places."

One factor working in the six-time champion's favor is the location of this event. In his previous 27 Winternationals appearances at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Johnson has an unparalleled record of success with five wins, 11 final rounds and an impressive 59-21 elimination round record. Acknowledging that prior performance has little effect on an upcoming race, he is quick to point out that the most important by-product is the logbook of extensive tuning notes compiled during that time.

"We've been fortunate to do well at the Winternationals over the years, which speaks volumes about the effectiveness of our racing program," said Johnson. "More than anything else, however, that success has allowed us to compile substantial documentation on the performance characteristics of the Pomona racing surface. Naturally, you have to factor in how it has been affected by the weather and such, and we have to adapt the information to the specific race package we are using, but that recipe book's importance cannot be underestimated.

"This race will certainly be a challenge. It will be the GM Performance Parts GTO crew's first test under fire, so to speak, with the stands full of fans and sponsors, and you always want to start the season off on a good note. The potential is certainly there and everyone has the right attitude going in, so we should be in good shape. Time will tell."

Personal Appearance:

WJ & the GM Performance Parts GTO Racing team will be greeting the fans and signing autographs at Mark Christopher Chevrolet, 2131 Convention Center Way, Ontario, CA from 5:00 -- 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 7. For further information, please call (909) 390-2900.

-credit: j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson