With a New Team and New Look, Warren Johnson is Having Fun GM Performance Parts crew heads to Las Vegas for Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown JSugar Hill, Ga., January 30, 2007 - With just over a week before the official start of the 2007 NHRA POWERade...
With a New Team and New Look, Warren Johnson is Having Fun
GM Performance Parts crew heads to Las Vegas for Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown
JSugar Hill, Ga., January 30, 2007 - With just over a week before the official start of the 2007 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season, work is proceeding at a furious pace at the Warren Johnson Enterprises shop in Sugar Hill, GA. In many ways, it is just like any other day throughout the year, with the sound of tools clanging and the buzz of machinery periodically pierced by the roar of yet another 1,400-horsepower DRCE III V-8 coming to life on the dynamometer.
However, as the GM Performance Parts Racing team readies their sleek Pontiac GTO for another campaign on the tough Pro Stock circuit, there is a perceptible difference in the air. From the most recent hire to "The Professor" himself, every member of the team is extremely upbeat, well beyond the normal pre-season optimism encountered at this time of year.
In addition, despite the long hours and hard work involved, everyone seems to be having fun, an attitude not necessarily associated with six-time champion's tireless efforts in the past. Acknowledging the change, Warren Johnson is quick to point out that this renewed outlook starts at the top.
"Our objectives haven't changed -- we're just approaching them from a slightly different perspective," states Johnson. "In the past couple years, we were stretched a little thin, which affected our research and development efforts. Fortunately, we've been able to bring three new people on board to help carry the load. After that, it was just a matter of rearranging our personnel, putting them in the right area to match their expertise.
"By assigning every member of the team additional responsibility, I can do a better job in my area, while the crew gets a greater feeling of accomplishment handling their end of the bargain. An added benefit has been a greater cohesion between (son) Kurt's and my teams, with everyone working together a lot better than they have in the past. The results may not be immediately obvious, but we're having fun and we're excited heading into the 2007 season."
One of the keys to Johnson's corporate reorganization may be addition of veteran tuner Terry Adams, who joined the team just after the New Year. A well-respected figure throughout the Pro Stock pit area, Adams has over 30 years of experience as a driver and crew chief, as well as a reputation for getting the most out of his equipment. With the multi-talented Adams on the roster, Johnson can now share many of the responsibilities he shouldered in the past both at the track and in the shop, giving him more time to perform the valuable research and development so needed in today's competitive environment.
"Terry brings a lot to the table, from his knowledge of the race car and ability to help coordinate the efforts of our crew to being able to drive our GM Performance Part GTO in testing," said Johnson.
"Most importantly, his presence allows me to go back to doing what I really enjoy, which is finding horsepower. After all, one of the axioms I live by is that you can never have too much power. It also allows me to spend more time looking at other components in the tune-up, which should help the overall performance of both my GM Performance Parts GTO and Kurt's ACDelco Cobalt."
For his part, the quiet-spoken Carolinian jokingly boils his assignment down to one primary responsibility, while acknowledging he is also prepared to do whatever is necessary to succeed. Having already established a solid bond with many of the crew, he looks forward to the season ahead.
"I'm mostly here to keep WJ out of trouble," quipped Adams.
"In all seriousness, however, Warren Johnson is a legend in this sport, and we need to get him back on track winning races. I think I can help do that. Between Warren, Kurt and myself, as well as the guys on the GM Performance Parts and ACDelco crews, we can put together two winning teams, and that's our goal. Like WJ said, it might take a little time, but we are going to get there."
Coinciding with the team's renewed outlook is a change on how their race car will look on the track. Designed to reflect Johnson's involvement in the creation of GM Performance Parts' revolutionary LSX Bowtie Block, the dramatic new look was applied by means of a vinyl wrap. The "new" GM Performance Parts GTO (as seen in the attached preview photo) will make its competitive debut at this weekend's pre-season Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown, which will be held at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. WJ will look to make the most of the opportunity presented by this annual pre-season event, getting his still-forming crew ready for the start of the season which comes five days later. However, exhibition race or not, winning is never far from The Professor's mind.
"The Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown will be a good test for the GM Performance Parts team," said Johnson. "With all the changes we've undergone since the end of the 2006 season, we'll be able to get everybody acclimated to working together at a race without the pressure of a national event. Although we are primarily there to learn about ourselves and our race car, we're also going to do what we can to win. After all, it's why they run the race."