WARREN WINS NO. 70 IN MEMPHIS W.J. Qualifies No. 1 for 100th Time, Defeats Kurt in Johnson Family Final Memphis; October 11, 1998 - Like the mighty Mississippi River that flows beneath the bluffs of Memphis, Pro Stock driver Warren ...
WARREN WINS NO. 70 IN MEMPHIS W.J. Qualifies No. 1 for 100th Time, Defeats Kurt in Johnson Family Final
Memphis; October 11, 1998 - Like the mighty Mississippi River that flows beneath the bluffs of Memphis, Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson just keeps rolling along toward his fourth NHRA championship. Johnson reached two more milestones this weekend in the Pennzoil Nationals at Memphis Motorsport Park - he scored his 70th victory and he qualified No. 1 for the 100th time in his career. Warren's win 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's seventh win of the season came at the expense of his son Kurt when the Johnsons squared off in their tenth intramural final-round contest. Warren improved his final-round record against Kurt to 8-2 when he drilled K.J. on the starting line with a near-perfect .410-second reaction time. Warren's race-winning 6.901-second elapsed time at 199.20 mph was the event's quickest run in Pro Stock eliminations. W.J. increased his lead over Kurt in the championship standings to 373 points (19 rounds) with four races remaining on the NHRA schedule.
"Racing Kurt in the final is a win-win situation for our team," said Warren. "It's a testament to our total program when both cars advance to the final. You just can't let the kids whip you too often!" "It's fun going up against Dad," Kurt responded. "What more could a kid ask for than to race his old man in a national event final? You go at it and see who's best. Today he was better." Kurt conducted his own driving seminar in Memphis, defeating his first three opponents on holeshots. After an uncharacteristically poor qualifying effort relegated him to the No. 11 spot, Johnson defeated John Nobile in the first round by .005 seconds. He beat Richie Stevens in the second round by .044 seconds, and upset Jim Yates in the semi-finals by .002 seconds. "I was very focused today," Kurt explained. "We knew we wouldn't have lane choice at the start of eliminations, so I had to do everything on the starting line. My crew is doing a great job with this ACDelco Camaro Z28. When I debuted this car in May, I was getting .500 reaction times. We've been working on it, and now the reaction times are in the .420s. Things are just coming together." The "Professor's" GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac dominated the Pro Stock division at the Pennzoil Nationals. W.J. qualified No. 1 for the 11th time in 1998 and the 100th time in his career. He set the track records for Elapsed Time (6.881 seconds) and Top Speed (200.08 mph) - the first 6.8-second pass and the first 200 mph Pro Stock run on the refurbished Memphis quarter-mile. The elder Johnson made eight straight 6-second passes in qualifying and eliminations, and ran the quickest e.t. in all four rounds of racing. W.J. defeated Shawn Collins, Mark Pawuk, and Jeg Coughlin. Jr. to set up the Johnson vs. Johnson final. "I'm very fortunate that at 55 years of age, I'm still able to do this," Warren reported. "There are a lot of guys who have given up on life at 55, but I'm out here having more fun than one person should be allowed to have. "This isn't a job for me, this is an opportunity," Warren declared. "I just love what I'm doing!" Johnson will have another opportunity to put his name in the NHRA record book at the rain-delayed Parts America Nationals in Topeka, Kansas, on Saturday, October 17.
NHRA PENNZOIL NATIONALS RACE SUMMARY
QUALIFYING: Warren Johnson qualified No. 1 at 6.881/199.55 Kurt Johnson qualified No. 11 at 6.943/198.67 mph
ELIMINATIONS: Round 1: Warren Johnson (6.914/199.23) defeated Shawn Collins (6.975/198.15) Kurt Johnson (7.018/198.64) defeated John Nobile (6.981/197.88) Round 2: Warren Johnson (6.914/199.32) defeated Mark Pawuk (7.479/145.28) Kurt Johnson (6.945/198.73) defeated Richie Stevens (6.934/197.94) Semi-Final: Warren Johnson (6.904/199.26) defeated Jeg Coughlin, Jr. (6.959/199.35) Kurt Johnson (6.930/199.29) defeated Jim Yates (6.928/197.62) Final Round: Warren Johnson (6.901/199.20) defeated Kurt Johnson (6.964/198.50)
LOW ET: Warren Johnson, 6.881 seconds (track record) TOP SPEED: Warren Johnson, 200.08 mph (track record)
PRO STOCK STANDINGS (after 18 of 22 events; victories in parentheses): 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 EVENT: Oct. 17, NHRA Parts America Nationals, Topeka, Kansas (final eliminations postponed from Oct. 4 due to rain)