THE WARREN REPORT: Warren Johnson GM Goodwrench Service Plus News & Notes for the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest NHRA Nationals, Seattle, July 27-29 W.J. GOES BACK TO WORK Now that the matter of setting the all-time record for Pro ...
THE WARREN REPORT: Warren Johnson GM Goodwrench Service Plus News & Notes for the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest NHRA Nationals, Seattle, July 27-29
W.J. GOES BACK TO WORK
Now that the matter of setting the all-time record for Pro Stock victories has been resolved, Warren Johnson is focused on the next item on his to-do list: winning this weekend's Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest NHRA Nationals at Seattle International Raceway.
SIR is a track that fits W.J.'s style like a tailored Savile Row suit. The starting line has more teeth than a school of piranha and the trees that surround Puget Sound are an evergreen oxygen factory. Johnson's four previous victories in Seattle include his milestone 25th national event title in 1991 and his landmark 50th victory in 1995.
"The atmospheric conditions in Seattle are typically very good, but the track is always a question mark," said the Professor. "The surface has been ground so many times that it's getting as thin as my hair.
"The left lane has been notoriously bumpy in years past," he continued. "Now after the most recent grinding operation, I understand there are some long, sweeping low spots instead of abrupt bumps. A smoother surface will certainly be an improvement, but until there is a layer of rubber on the track, driving will be quite entertaining."
Overshadowed by the celebration surrounding W.J.'s record-breaking 86th victory, the Mile-High Nationals also signaled a shift in the balance of power in Pro Stock. Johnson set the Bandimere Speedway speed record at 189.71 mph, bettering the previous mark that was set before the introduction of spec gasoline in Pro Stock. Warren and his son Kurt have teamed up to set the Top Speed mark at 12 of 14 events this season - a testament to both the power of the Johnsons' engines and the aerodynamic efficiency of their diminutive Grand Am and Cavalier body designs.
Johnson's class-leading fifth victory of year, combined with a second-round loss by rival Jim Yates, gave W.J. a 112-point lead in the Winston championship race - the first triple-digit margin this year in Pro Stock. While a five-round advantage can evaporate in a single race, the schedule favors the Professor. Johnson has traditionally been at his best in the late-season events when cool autumn weather accentuates his horsepower superiority.
W.J. dismisses any talk of a sixth championship as premature, however. "It's better to be in the points lead than to try and catch up," he declared. "At the same time we can't rest on our laurels. We have to remember how we got here."
After all, Johnson became the most successful racer in Pro Stock history the old-fashioned way - by winning one round at a time. He promises to maintain that relentless pace at the Prolong Northwest NHRA Nationals. <pre> WARREN JOHNSON'S SEATTLE INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY RECORD
Year Qual. Result 1975 5 First Round 1976 4 Runner-up (to Booth) 1977 3 Semifinal 1978 7 Second Round 1988 2 Runner-up (to Glidden) 1989 10 Winner (over Allen) 1990 1 Semifinal 1991 1 Winner (over Alderman) 1992 2 Second Round 1993 1 Semifinal 1994 3 Second Round 1995 1 Winner (over Glidden) 1996 5 First Round 1997 6 Semifinal 1998 1 Winner (over K. Johnson) 1999 1 Semifinal 2000 4 Second Round