Reading: Warren runner-up

READING, Pa. - Warren Johnson hates to lose, but the pain of his final-round defeat today at the Keystone Nationals was soothed by the knowledge that it was his son Kurt who claimed the victory. W.J. posted his fourth runner-up finish of the...

READING, Pa. - Warren Johnson hates to lose, but the pain of his final-round defeat today at the Keystone Nationals was soothed by the knowledge that it was his son Kurt who claimed the victory. W.J. posted his fourth runner-up finish of the season and the 48th of his career, falling to Kurt's 6.885-second elapsed time with a game 6.914-second effort.

How evenly matched were the two entries from Warren Johnson Enterprises? Kurt's ACDelco Camaro and Warren's GM Goodwrench Service Plus Firebird were both were clocked at 200.14 mph in the final!

"It was a win-win situation for Warren Johnson Enterprises," said Johnson. "It was good for Kurt and good for his team. It looks like they're on course and they should be ready for next year. I'm happy that he won."

A healthy dose of oxygen from the trees that gave Maple Grove Raceway its name combined with cool autumn temperatures to supercharge the Pro Stocks at the Keystone Nationals. W.J.'s vaunted horsepower was in evidence as the Professor drove his Pontiac to four straight runs at over 200 mph in qualifying. The 200 mph mark was breached 15 times this weekend, with the Johnsons recording ten runs over 200 mph. The Professor of Pro Stock was at the head of the class with the event's fastest speed at 201.28 mph.

Warren had to march through a strong field of rivals to reach the final round. He defeated a resurgent Jim Yates in the second round despite Yates having his choice of lanes. A semi-final round victory over points leader Jeg Coughlin Jr., 6.885 to 6.906, was especially sweet - it was the first time Johnson beat Coughlin in the pair's six meetings this season.

The Johnson family has dominated the Keystone Nationals for the last decade, appearing in eight final rounds in the last 10 events. This year's edition saw W.J. face his son in the final round for the 12th time in their racing careers.

"I moved around a little bit in the right hand lane just like I did in the first round," Warren reported after the race, "but we did as well as we could."

After a one-week break, the NHRA tour will resume in Topeka, Kansas, where W.J. has tallied five victories since 1992.

WARREN JOHNSON RACE RESULTS:
Qualifying: Warren Johnson qualified No. 3 at 6.855/200.71
Eliminations:
First Round: Warren Johnson (6.920/199.35) defeated Robert Patrick (7.480/145.03)
Second Round: Warren Johnson (6.914/199.40) defeated Jim Yates (6.920/199.05)
Semi-Final: Warren Johnson (6.885/200.47) defeated Jeg Coughlin Jr. (6.906/198.52)
Final Round: Kurt Johnson (6.885/200.14) defeated Warren Johnson (6.914/200.14)

Low ET: Ron Krisher, 6.846 seconds (track record)
Top Speed: Warren Johnson, 201.28 mph

<pre> POINTS RACE: (After 18 of 23 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Jeg Coughlin Jr. 8 1,592 2. Kurt Johnson 4 1,229 3. Ron Krisher 2 1,196 4. Warren Johnson 1 1,112 5. Troy Coughlin 0 926 (tie) Mark Pawuk 1 926

NEXT RACE:
Advance Auto Parts Nationals, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, Topeka, Kan.
TV: TNN, Oct. 1, 4:30-6 p.m. (ET)

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Ron Krisher