Warren Johnson To Retire From Driving Following 2005 Season: GM Performance Parts Announces "The Professor's School's Out" Tour POMONA, Cal., November 14, 2004 - Warren Johnson has been a mainstay of the National Hot Rod Association's Pro Stock...
Warren Johnson To Retire From Driving Following 2005 Season:
GM Performance Parts Announces "The Professor's School's Out" Tour
POMONA, Cal., November 14, 2004 - Warren Johnson has been a mainstay of the National Hot Rod Association's Pro Stock division virtually since its inception in 1970. For over 31 years, he has taken on all challengers, including such legends as Lee Shepherd, Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins and Bob Glidden, rising to the top of what is arguably the most competitive category in motorsports. With six championships, 92 national event wins, 130 No. 1 qualifying performances and countless records, "The Professor" has firmly established himself as one of drag racing's legends.
However, Johnson's contributions to the sport extend well beyond his achievements on the race track. For example, he has played a vital role in the evolution of the Pro Stock race car from a modified version of a production vehicle to the purpose-built thoroughbred currently used in competition. From his tireless dedication and work ethic to his many technological advances, the man known simply as "WJ" is a competitor unlike any other.
Therefore, an era will come to an end following the completion of the 2005 season, as Johnson today announced that he will step out of the GM Performance Parts Grand Am's driver's seat after the next POWERade Drag Racing season.
"I've never had any qualms about stepping out of the seat, as long as it was the best approach for our organization, and this seems like the right time," said Johnson. "Naturally, I will still be involved in racing. It's just gotten to the point lately that I'm wearing too many hats, which prevents me from doing the job as well as I would like to. Therefore, if I can eliminate one assignment and make our operation more successful, it's a positive move. By not driving, I will have more time to spend on some very important projects.
"Of course, I still have one full season behind the wheel, and both Kurt (son and fellow Pro Stock competitor) and I will both be trying to win the championship, and based on some of our recent developmental work, I believe next year could be our best in terms of competitiveness. I know that's a pretty bold statement considering how many good cars there are in Pro Stock, but I think we're going to step up and raise the bar."
Throughout his career, a key component to Johnson's long-term success has been his relationship with General Motors' Service Parts Operations (GM SPO) through their GM Performance Parts, ACDelco and GM Goodwrench brands. From his black and silver GM Goodwrench Performance Parts Olds Firenza in 1986 to the current GM Performance Parts Pontiac Grand Am with the distinctive yellow paint scheme and the star-spangled tail, WJ's race cars have not only carried the company's colors on the track, but they have also served to develop components for the automotive performance enthusiast.
GM Performance Parts announced plans to mark Johnson's final season with "The Professor's School's Out" tour, a multi-faceted marketing program designed to commemorate his legendary career, as well as his many contributions.
"Warren Johnson has been a valued member of the GM SPO family since 1986, but unfortunately, all good things must come to an end," said Jim Moloney, Director of Marketing for GM Accessories. "Therefore, throughout the course of the 2005 season, GM Performance Parts will celebrate Warren Johnson's illustrious career with "The Professor's School's Out" tour, which will be a year-long celebration of the man and everything he has done, not only for the sport of drag racing, but for GM Performance Parts.
"We will be releasing the details of the School's Out tour at a later date, but for now, we are looking forward to riding along for one final exciting season with The Professor, which we hope will end with his seventh Pro Stock championship."
Warren Johnson's Pro Stock Career Highlights:
* Six NHRA Pro Stock Championships
* 92 National Event Wins*
* 143 Final Round Appearances*
* 130 No. 1 qualifying performances**
* 134 Low Elapsed Times of the Event**
* 198 Top Speeds of the Event**
* Six Time U.S. Nationals Champion
* 453 Career races, spanning from 1971 to 2004
* - The most by any driver in Pro Stock history, and second only to John Force among all NHRA professional categories.
** - The most among all NHRA professional categories