Warren Johnson back on track at Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla.; March 19, 2000 - Warren Johnson dominated the Pro Stock division at the NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals, scoring his third straight and ninth overall victory at Gainesville Raceway. W.J. posted his milestone 80th career victory...

GAINESVILLE, Fla.; March 19, 2000 - Warren Johnson dominated the Pro Stock division at the NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals, scoring his third straight and ninth overall victory at Gainesville Raceway. W.J. posted his milestone 80th career victory at the fast Florida track, and is now just a handful of wins away from tying Bob Glidden's record 85 national event triumphs.

After a runner-up finish in Pomona and a second-round loss in Phoenix, Warren regained the form that propelled him to five NHRA Winston championships. Johnson's GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac nailed down the No. 1 spot in qualifying with a track-record 6.849 second elapsed time - W.J.'s eighth "pole" at the Gatornationals and the 118th of his career. Johnson made three 200 mph passes and posted the top speed of the event for the 174th time.

Johnson dispatched George Marnell in the first round with a 6.879-second elapsed time at 199.67 mph, the quickest and fastest run in eliminations. He outdrove and outran archrival Jim Yates in the second round, and defeated Ron Krisher with a holeshot in the semi-final round, 6.927 to Krisher's quicker 6.919. Warren emerged victorious from his 125th final-round appearance when his opponent, Troy Coughlin, encountered mechanical problems.

"I feel very fortunate to have won this event," Warren reported. "We came into this race knowing that we had done relatively well here in the past, but also knowing that our engine program isn't quite where we would like it to be because of some supplier problems.

"Once we get our new engine parts, we should be back up to the power level we had at the end of last year," W.J. added. "That should get our operation back to full speed."

Warren slashed Jeg Coughlin Jr.'s lead in the championshp race to just 26 points. The next round of the 23-race series will find NHRA teams in unknown territory - the new super strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the site of the inaugural SummitRacing.com Nationals on April 7-9.

WARREN JOHNSON RACE RESULTS: Qualifying: Warren Johnson qualified No. 1 at 6.849/200.83 mph Eliminations: First Round: Warren Johnson (6.879/199.67) defeated George Marnell (6.939/197.39) Second Round: Warren Johnson (6.935/197.80) defeated Jim Yates (6.942/197.94) Semi-Final: Warren Johnson (6.926/199.53) defeated Ron Krisher (6.919/198.52) Final Round: Warren Johnson (6.900/199.34) defeated Troy Coughlin (8.865/106.59)

Low ET: Warren Johnson, 6.849 seconds (track record) Top Speed: Warren Johnson, 200.83 mph

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Warren Johnson , Ron Krisher , Bob Glidden , George Marnell