O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals
Johnson set to end spring swing on a high note
Topeka, pre-race: The NHRA's Spring Swing will come to a close with the running of this weekend's O'Reilly Summer Nationals in Topeka. As the third race in as many weekends, this race will test every team's endurance and equipment. Some could see this stretch putting some, including even the GM Performance Parts Grand Am team, at a disadvantage. However, six-time champion Warren Johnson is more than ready to accept the challenge, and heads to Heartland Park Topeka ready to add to his winning record there.
"These stretches of consecutive races could potentially affect our team more than those that buy or lease their engines or what not, as well as the bigger outfits that have a complete crew back at the shop taking care of the between-race maintenance and the research and development," said Johnson. "However, even though keeping everything in-house may hurt us in the short term, we believe in the long run we will come out ahead. Besides, our GM Performance Parts Grand Am continues to be more competitive, and I give our team as good a chance as any out there to come out on top this weekend."
The location of this weekend's event is one that "The Professor" is quite familiar with, as this will mark his 21st Pro Stock race at the Kansas quarter-mile. With five wins in seven final round appearances, his record is the equal of any in the professional categories, with Johnson attributing his success over the years to his team's ability to react to the constantly changing racing surface at Heartland Park Topeka.
"Heartland Park Topeka has one of the most unique locations on the NHRA circuit, as it is in the middle of the Kansas plains," said Johnson. "It sits at an altitude of about 2,000 feet, but the land is so flat that if you look in any direction, you can see where you'll be in two days.
"I would classify it as one of our intermediate tracks, in that we don't run as fast as the conditions indicate, similar to the one we will race on in Columbus next month. Even though we won't be setting any national records, for the most part, the racing surface has been pretty good, with both lanes being relatively even, so we should put on a good show for the fans, which is what really matters. Our job this weekend will be the same as it is at every race - to do a better job of adapting our GM Performance Parts Grand Am to the conditions than our competitors. We've done precisely that five times in the past, and I see no reason why we can't make it six this weekend."
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