THE WARREN REPORT: Warren Johnson GM Goodwrench Service Plus News & Notes for the Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals, Pomona, Calif., July 5-7, 2001 The Professor Aims To Pad Points Lead In Pomona Back-to-back victories in Columbus,...
THE WARREN REPORT: Warren Johnson GM Goodwrench Service Plus News & Notes for the Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals, Pomona, Calif., July 5-7, 2001
The Professor Aims To Pad Points Lead In Pomona
Back-to-back victories in Columbus, Ohio, and Madison, Ill., vaulted Warren Johnson from third to first in the Winston Pro Stock standings. Now "The Professor of Pro Stock" is aiming to increase his 76-point lead in the championship race with a third straight victory when NHRA celebrates its 50th anniversary in the birthplace of hot rodding.
Johnson will become the sport's winningest Pro Stock driver if he scores his 86th career victory on Saturday night, July 7, at the Pep Boys NHRA 50th Anniversary Nationals -- a celebration that will coincide with his 58th birthday. W.J. has other priorities, however.
"Winning the championship is my primary objective because you can take the championship check to the bank," he explained. "Beyond that, I think that 100 wins has a nice ring to it. I've always liked round numbers."
One hundred victories are not impossible if Johnson continues his hot streak. He is undefeated since he debuted his new Jerry Haas-built GM Goodwrench Service Plus Grand Am in Columbus on June 15. It's a car that has proven to be well suited to the heat and humidity of summer.
"The Haas car is a totally different animal than the chassis we started with this season," explained the Professor. "It takes a different clutch setup, different transmission ratios and a different rearend gear. We basically threw away our notebook and started over again. So far the car is making us look smart."
While Johnson has driven Pro Stocks at Pomona Raceway for a quarter of a century, the midsummer night's race at the venerable facility will be a new experience.
"The conditions will probably be similar to what we encounter at the NHRA Finals in autumn," Warren predicted. "The Pro Stock qualifying sessions will be later in the day, but they will still take place in daylight. It will be dark for the late rounds of eliminations, but we've seen that before at the Winternationals and Finals.
"Actually every track on the circuit is 'new' this year because of the track preparation procedures that have been adopted," Johnson noted. "Both the formulation and the application of the traction compound have been changed. As a result, we've made some significant adjustments to get down the racetracks."
The 50th Anniversary Nationals will kick off the expanded four-race, five-week "Western Swing" through California, Colorado and Washington. Johnson is well prepared to have his rig on the road continuously until August.
"We've built up a good inventory of parts and pieces that should see us through this stretch," he said. "I'm not one to spend money shipping engines back and forth to Georgia."
With an arsenal of powerful GM motors and the momentum of back-to-back victories, Warren Johnson is primed and ready to win the West. <pre> WARREN JOHNSON'S POMONA RACEWAY HIGHLIGHTS
Four Winternationals Victories: 1987 (over Leal) 1993 (over Geoffrion) 1994 (over Alderman) 1997 (over Kurt Johnson)
Four Winternationals Runners-up: 1985 (to Glidden) 1986 (to Iaconio) 1991 (to Alderman) 2000 (to Jeg Coughlin Jr.)
Four NHRA Finals Victories: 1988 (over Morris Johnson Jr.) 1992 (over Eckman) 1993 (over Kurt Johnson) 1995 (over Schmidt)
Two NHRA Finals Runners-up: 1989 (to Glidden) 1999 (to Jeg Coughlin Jr.)
11 No. 1 Qualifiers: Winternationals: 1993-96, 1999 NHRA Finals: 1988, 1993-96, 1998