THE WARREN REPORT: ENGLISHTOWN EDITION Warren Johnson GM Goodwrench Service Plus News & Notes for the NHRA Mopar Parts Nationals NEXT RACE: Mopar Parts Nationals, May 21-23, Englishtown, N.J. TV: ESPN2, May 23, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Eastern -...
THE WARREN REPORT: ENGLISHTOWN EDITION
Warren Johnson GM Goodwrench Service Plus News & Notes for the NHRA Mopar Parts Nationals NEXT RACE: Mopar Parts Nationals, May 21-23, Englishtown, N.J. TV: ESPN2, May 23, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Eastern - check local listings.
ON TO ENGLISHTOWN
Fresh from a victory at the Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals last Sunday, Warren Johnson is just eight points behind his son Kurt in the Pro Stock championship race. W.J. and his GM Goodwrench Service Plus team will head north to Englishtown, N.J., for the Mopar Parts Nationals this weekend, the second of seven back-to-back races on the NHRA schedule.
The Englishtown race has special significance for the eight Pro Stock drivers who will also compete in the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel on Saturday, May 22.
The Dominator Duel will match the eight drivers who have the best qualifying records since last year's event in a special "race within a race" for a $76,000 purse. W.J. is the No. 1 seed after qualifying in the top spot 16 times in the last year. He's already pocketed $48,000 in qualifying bonuses since the start of the competition at last season's Fram Route 66 Nationals in Chicago. A driver who "doubles up" in Englishtown by winning both the Dominator Duel and the Mopar Parts Nationals titles will earn a $50,000 bonus from NHRA.
Johnson is the only driver who has qualified for every Dominator Duel since the special event began in 1985. In his 14 previous appearances, W.J. has two wins (1993 and 1995) and three runner-up finishes (1989, 1990, and 1996). Kurt Johnson won the Duel in 1994 and 1998.
"We understand that these cars run on money, not gasoline," W.J. said when asked about his family's success in the lucrative special event. "Kurt came to that same realization after I figured out how much it has cost me to support his racing program over the years. Right now it's the equivalent of at least three college degrees!"
The Duel adds to the pressure of a national event weekend because the first two rounds also count as qualifying runs for the Mopar Parts Nationals. "Our goal is to get qualified on Friday so we can concentrate on racing in the Duel on Saturday," Warren reports. "Competing in a big-money race really doesn't change our game plan because you have to run competitive elapsed times whether you are qualifying or racing. Of course, with all that money on the line in the Duel, there is a tendency to be a little more conservative than you would be in an all-out qualifying run."
Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, N.J., has been the site of several of Warren Johnson's most memorable races.
* Warren scored the first of his 75 NHRA national event victories in Englishtown in 1982, driving a self-sponsored Oldsmobile Starfire. He defeated the late, great Lee Shepherd, 7.903 to 7.914.
* In 1986, W.J. defeated Don Coonce in the Pro Stock final, winning an intramural battle between two identical GM Goodwrench Firenzas. Although the pair of black-and-silver Oldsmobiles had matching paint schemes, Coonce's car was owned by Indiana Chevrolet dealer Albert Clark. Few spectators saw the two teammates race - after rain washed out the final round on Sunday, the race took place on Monday morning in front of a handful of fans.
* Warren raced Larry Morgan in four of his five final-round appearances in the Dominator Duel. He lost to Morgan in 1989 and 1990, and beat him in 1993 and 1995. Warren lost to his long-time rival Bob Glidden in the final round in 1996.
* The Johnson family has been represented in the final round of the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel in five of the last six years. Warren's son Kurt won in 1994 and 1998. Warren would have claimed the $50,000 "double-up" bonus in 1993 when he won both the Duel (then known as the Budweiser Pro Stock Challenge) and the Mopar Parts Nationals - had the bonus program existed then. W.J.'s HOLLEY PRO STOCK DOMINATOR DUEL HIGHLIGHTS Note: Only driver to qualify for all 15 Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel Events 1989 Runner-up (to Morgan) 1990 Runner-up (to Morgan) 1993 Winner (over Morgan) 1995 Winner (over Morgan) 1996 Runner-up (to Glidden)
W.J.'s ENGLISHTOWN RESULTS Year Qualified Finish 1975 14 Second Round 1976 5 Second Round 1977 9 First Round 1978 7 First Round 1981 11 First Round 1982 4 Winner (over Shepherd) 1983 5 Second Round 1984 2 Second Round 1985 2 Second Round 1986 2 Winner (over Coonce) 1987 2 Second Round 1988 2 Second Round 1989 7 First Round 1990 2 Second Round 1991 1 Second Round 1992 1 Winner (over Smith) 1993 1 Winner (over K. Johnson) 1994 7 Second Round 1995 1 First Round 1996 2 Runner-up (to Yates) 1997 2 First Round 1998 6 Second Round
Total 22 Wins 4 Runners-up 1 Semi-Finals 0 Second Round 11 First Round 6 No. 1 Qualifier 4
LAST RACE: Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals, May 16, Atlanta, Ga.
Qualifying: Warren Johnson qualified No. 1 at 6.901/200.83
Eliminations: Round 1: Warren Johnson (6.906/201.01) defeated Tom Martino (8.439/114.30) Round 2: Warren Johnson (6.936/200.83) defeated Mark Pawuk (7.050/197.13) Semi-Final: Warren Johnson (6.946/200.71) defeated Jim Yates (7.016/197.65) Final Round: Warren Johnson 6.998/198.93) defeated Richie Stevens (7.023/196.93 - red light)
Low ET: Warren Johnson, 6.901 seconds (track record) Top Speed: Warren Johnson, 201.01 mph (track record)
POINTS RACE: (After 7 of 22 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Kurt Johnson 2 613 2. Warren Johnson 3 605 3. Jim Yates 0 394 4. Richie Stevens 0 369 5. Troy Coughlin 0 362