Reading: Warren Johnson pre-race notes

Warren Johnson Hopes to Go Straight to Repeat SUGAR HILL, GA., October 6, 2004 -- One year ago, heavy rain forced the NHRA to postpone the Lucas Oil Nationals in Reading, PA, pushing final eliminations into October. Upon the POWERade Drag ...

Warren Johnson Hopes to Go Straight to Repeat

SUGAR HILL, GA., October 6, 2004 -- One year ago, heavy rain forced the NHRA to postpone the Lucas Oil Nationals in Reading, PA, pushing final eliminations into October. Upon the POWERade Drag Racing Series' return to Maple Grove Raceway, Warren Johnson and the GM Performance Parts Racing team took full advantage of the opportunity, charging from their 14th place starting position to defeat an all-star cast and score an impressive win, the 92nd of Johnson's illustrious career.

Ironically, the stage has been set for Johnson and his talented crew to reprise their 2003 performance under similar conditions. One month ago, the original race date was plagued by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan, forcing officials to once again reschedule the event for this weekend.

However, before he can entertain thoughts of reaching the Reading winner's circle for a fifth time, Johnson knows his race car will need to consistently reach a high level of performance. With cool temperatures forecast, the potential for horsepower will be plentiful, and success will depend on effectively transferring this increased power to the racing surface.

Therefore, Johnson and his crew have spent the few days since the last event in Chicago reviewing their own history, searching for the key to extract every ounce from their GM Performance Parts Grand Am. Their first priority will be making sure each pass down the quarter-mile is a straight one.

"Lately, our car has developed a nasty habit of pulling to the left under optimum conditions, similar to what it did at the very beginning of the year when we first used the bead-lock wheels," said Johnson. "Unfortunately, it doesn't repeat this behavior on every run, making it harder to diagnose. Therefore, we've gone through every pass we've made this year, analyzing the data and trying to find a common thread that will help maximize our performance in this situation.

"The car is made of carbon-fiber and tubing, so I don't think it has a mind of its own, although sometimes it seems to. Therefore, it's something in the set-up. We've recorded everything that has been changed in the chassis, so we will go over it thoroughly and come with a combination to use this weekend in Reading.

"Obviously, the solution is there -- it's just up to us to find it. It's a problem we've solved before, and I'm confident this GM Performance Parts Grand Am team will do it again in the very near future. After all, we overcame a rain delay, a tough Pro Stock field and even a power outage prior to the finals in order to win in Reading a year ago, so we're definitely up to the task of defending our title."

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Warren Johnson