OCTOBER 15, 1998 PENNZOIL NATIONALS POST-RACE NOTES * Warren Johnson's 70th career victory at the Pennzoil Nationals in Memphis on October 11 gave him sole possession of the No. 2 spot on the all-time NHRA winners list, breaking a tie with ...
OCTOBER 15, 1998 PENNZOIL NATIONALS POST-RACE NOTES
* Warren Johnson's 70th career victory at the Pennzoil Nationals in Memphis on October 11 gave him sole possession of the No. 2 spot on the all-time NHRA winners list, breaking a tie with seven-time Funny Car champion John Force.
* Warren improved his final-round record against his son Kurt to 8-2. The Johnsons have raced 33 times in national event competition; W.J. has 24 wins to Kurt's 9.
* W.J. increased his lead over Kurt in the championship standings to 373 points (19 rounds) with four races (including the rain-delayed Parts America Nationals) remaining on the NHRA schedule.
* Warren topped 200 mph on his third qualifying run at Memphis Motorsports Park, stopping the timers at 200.08 mph. W.J. has now broken the 200 mph barrier at six different tracks, and has recorded 17 out of the 20 Pro Stock runs at over 200 mph in NHRA history.
* The "Professor" set the Memphis Motorsports Park track elapsed time record at 6.881 seconds - the first 6.8-second pass on the refurbished Memphis quarter-mile. He eclipsed the record held by Kurt Johnson at 6.967 seconds, and now holds the e.t. records at 16 out of 22 events on the NHRA circuit.
* Warren made eight straight 6-second passes in qualifying and eliminations at the Pennzoil Nationals, and ran the quickest e.t. in all four rounds of racing. His winning 6.901-second elapsed time in the final round was the event's quickest run in Pro Stock eliminations.
* Mike Stryker was named the "Craftsman Crew Chief of the Race" at the Pennzoil Nationals for his role in taking W.J.'s GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac to the winner's circle. Stryker has won the award five times in 1998.
WARREN HITS 100
Warren Johnson qualified in the No. 1 spot for the 100th time in his career at the Pennzoil Nationals. Ironically, Memphis Motorsports Park was the only track on the NHRA tour where Johnson had never been the quickest qualifier! W.J. notched his first No. 1 at the 1978 Springnationals in Columbus, Ohio, with an 8.63-second elapsed time. His 6.88 in Memphis was 1.75 seconds quicker. Warren was the No. 1 qualifier at 14 NHRA events in 1993 and 1995 - years when he won the Pro Stock championship. He could tie those marks by taking the top spot at the three remaining races in 1998. OCTOBER MILESTONES
October 2, 1951 - Mike Stryker, crew chief for Warren Johnson's GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac, born
October 7, 1955 - Faron Wooley, chief mechanic for Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Camaro, born
October 18, 1961 - Kathy Johnson, wife of Kurt Johnson, born
October 1, 1982 - Warren Johnson breaks 180 mph Pro Stock barrier in Fremont, Calif., with 181.02 mph run
October 18, 1992 - Warren Johnson clinches first Pro Stock championship at Texas Motorplex
October 3, 1993 - Warren Johnson clinches second Pro Stock championship at Heartland Park Topeka
October 15, 1995 - Warren Johnson clinches third Pro Stock championship at Texas Motorplex
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO WARREN
Selected excerpts from Warren Johnson's post-race winner's interview at the Pennzoil Nationals:
On teamwork: "We're out to get both cars in the final and obliterate the rest of the field. We're full-time racers, so we have no choice but to be successful. I hate starving to death."
On Kurt: "He's a cool driver on the starting line. I don't think there is anyone who can rattle him. When he has to bust one on the Tree, he can do it better than anyone."
On driving: "Driving a race car is not difficult. It's just a series of decisions that have to be made quickly. When you screw up, the results are spectacular."
According to a popular Broadway musical, the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain. In America, however, the rain falls mostly on drag strips.
This meteorological fact of life was confirmed on October 4 when final eliminations for the Parts America Nationals in Topeka, Kansas, were washed out by malevolent midwestern weather that would have impressed even Dorothy and Toto. Lacking ruby slippers, the NHRA troops will drive their rigs back to Heartland Park Topeka to complete the event on October 17.
Kurt is the No. 6 qualifier in Kansas at 6.962/197.67; Warren is the No. 8 qualifier at 6.965 with a track-record speed of 197.93 mph.
W.J. has qualified in the top half of the field at every event this season - but his No. 8 qualifying spot at the Parts America Nationals is his worst starting position since the season-opening Winter-nationals.
"Sometimes we do that just to let everyone know that we're human," W.J. deadpanned.
TOUGH IN TEXAS
The Texas Motorplex, the site of the upcoming Revell Nationals on October 22-25, has treated the Johnson family very well over the years. Warren and Kurt have combined for four victories and seven runner-up finishes at the Texas supertrack. In 1993, Kurt defeated Warren in the final round. That was the last time that Kurt beat his Dad in a final-round race!
Warren has been the No. 1 qualifier seven times at the Motorplex (including a streak of five straight in 1991-95). Kurt won the Pro Stock "pole" at last year's Revell Nationals.
Warren Johnson's Year-by-Year Results at the Texas Motorplex:
Year Qual. Result 1986 2 Runner-up (to Glidden) 1987 2 Second Round 1989 1 Winner (over Morgan) 1990 2 First Round 1991 1 Runner-up (to Morgan) 1992 1 Semi-Final 1993 1 Runner-up (to Kurt Johnson) 1994 1 Runner-up (to Geoffrion) 1995 1 Semi-Final 1996 2 First Round 1997* 1 Winner (over Geoffrion) 8 Runner-up (to Yates) 1998* 1 First Round
Total Races 13 Wins 2 Runners-up 5 Semi-Finals 2 Second Round 1 First Round 3
Kurt Johnson's Year-by-Year Results at Texas Motorplex:
Year Qual. Result 1993 6 Winner (over W. Johnson) 1994 5 Semi-Final 1995 6 Winner (over Patrick) 1996 15 Runner-up (to Yates) 1997* 11 Second Round 1 Second Round 1998* 5 Runner-up (to Edwards)
*Spring and Fall races in 1997-98
The next sound you hear may be the fat lady singing. By earning 118 points at the Pennzoil Nationals - the maximum points possible without setting a national e.t. record - Warren increased his lead in the championship race to 373 points. Four races (including final eliminations at the rain-delayed Parts America Nationals) remain on the NHRA calendar. With qualifying already completed at Heartland Park Topeka, Warren is assured of taking home at least 33 points from the Parts America Nationals. A maximum of 514 points are still on the table in Topeka, Dallas, Houston, and Pomona, so three drivers still have a mathematical chance to catch Warren: Kurt Johnson, Jeg Coughlin, Jr., and Jim Yates.
PRO STOCK STANDINGS (after 18 of 22 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Warren Johnson 7 1587 2. Kurt Johnson 2 1214 -373 3. Jeg Coughlin 3 1157 -430 4. Jim Yates 1 1090 -497 5. Mark Osborne 1 904 -683
NEXT RACE: Parts America Nationals October 17, Topeka, Kan. (final eliminations postponed from Oct. 4 due to rain)
Revell Nationals October 22-25, Dallas TV: TNN, Sunday, Oct. 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Eastern
LAST RACE: Pennzoil Nationals Memphis, Tenn. 408-761-2201
Qualifying: Warren Johnson qualified No. 1 at 6.940/198.36 mph Kurt Johnson qualified No. 11 at 6.943/198.67 mph
Eliminations: Round 1: Warren defeated Shawn Collins Kurt defeated John Nobile Round 2: Warren defeated Mark Pawuk Kurt defeated Richie Stevens Semi-Final: Warren defeated Jeg Coughlin, Jr. Kurt defeated Jim Yates Final Round: Warren (6.901/199.20) defeated Kurt (6.964/198.50)