WARREN WINS THE WEST! Johnson Notches Sixth Win of Season in Seattle, Wraps Up Three-Race "Western Swing" with 294-Point Lead in NHRA Championship Race Seattle, Wash.; Aug. 2, 1998 - Warren Johnson raced to his sixth win of the season and...
WARREN WINS THE WEST!
Johnson Notches Sixth Win of Season in Seattle, Wraps Up Three-Race "Western Swing" with 294-Point Lead in NHRA Championship Race
Seattle, Wash.; Aug. 2, 1998 - Warren Johnson raced to his sixth win of the season and opened up a 294-point lead in the Pro Stock championship chase today when he defeated his son Kurt in a Johnson vs. Johnson final round at the NHRA Prolong Northwest Nationals. Johnson notched his 69th career victory at Seattle International Raceway, breaking a tie with seven-time Funny Car champion John Force for the No. 2 spot on the all-time NHRA winners list.
Johnson wrapped up the three-race "Western Swing" with his third straight final-round appearance. He was runner-up to Jeg Coughlin, Jr. in Denver, and won back-to-back races in Sonoma, Calif. (over V. Gaines) and Seattle (over Kurt Johnson). He qualified No. 1 at all three events, and set track records for elapsed time and top speed at all three venues. Johnson left S.I.R. with a commanding 15-round lead over Coughlin, who lost in the first round in Seattle.
"Considering the points race, I'd have to say this was our best 'Western Swing,'" said Johnson, a three-time NHRA champion. "We came to Denver with a 139-point led, and we're leaving Seattle 294 points in front. I want this championship as much as I wanted the first one!"
Johnson and his GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac rewrote the record book on the refurbished S.I.R. quarter-mile. W.J. eclipsed his three-year-old track records in qualifying, recording the first 6.8-second elapsed time and the first 200 mph run in the track's history. Johnson qualified on the Pro Stock "pole" for the eighth time this season and the 97th time in his career with a record-setting 6.884/200.53 mph pass.
In the first round of eliminations, the "Professor of Pro Stock" defeated his former student and teammate, Scott Geoffrion. Johnson dispatched Tom Martino in the second stanza, and beat two-time Pro Stock champion Jim Yates in the semi-final. Warren then faced his son Kurt in the final round - the 32nd time they have met in national event competition and the ninth time they have raced in a final round. Warren was first off the starting line with a quicker reaction time (.499 vs. .541), and first to the finish line with a quicker elapsed time (6.967 vs. 6.990 seconds).
"The one advantage I have when I race Kurt is that I've been doing this for a long time," Warren reported. "When it comes to making a decision on how to adjust the car for the track or atmospheric conditions, I can draw on a deeper pool of information than he can."
Kurt made his third final-round appearance of the season at S.I.R. and pulled to within five rounds of No. 2-ranked Coughlin. "We put the ACDelco Camaro in another final, made some changes, and really stepped up," Kurt commented. "I think there's time left for us to climb to second in the points race. You always want to go for No. 1, but Dad's way out in front right now!"
After a two-week break, Warren Johnson's quest for his fourth Pro Stock crown will resume in his native Minnesota at the VisionAire Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway on August 20-23.