Championship Drag Racing

Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals
Chicago, Ill.
(June 5-8)

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Driver Profile
Warren Johnson
K&N Filters Pontiac GXP

WJ is resolute in returning to winning form

Chicago, pre-race: As one of the top performers in the Pro Stock category for the last 30 years, Warren Johnson and his GM Performance Parts GXP crew are used to having a target on their back. After all, with 96 career national event wins, 150 final round appearances and 138 No. 1 qualifying performances to their credit entering this weekend, it comes with the territory. However, following a string of uncharacteristically early exits and armed with an extremely fast race car, WJ enters this weekend’s Torco Racing Fuels Nationals in Joliet, IL determined to turn the tables on his opposition, starting with a basic objective.

“At this point, our No. 1 priority is to go multiple rounds on Sunday,” said Johnson. “Looking at the season date, we’ve come to the realization that everyone we have faced in the first round has come up and had their best light of the weekend against us. That may speak volumes about our GM Performance Parts GXP’s current performance level, in that they know if we leave even, it’s over, but it certainly hasn’t done us any favors in the standings.

“We’re far from pleased with the results, and are continually working to rectify the situation, but one way or another, we’re confident the pendulum will eventually swing back in our favor. Let’s just say the express train is coming.”

There are several factors fueling “The Professor’s” optimism heading to the Land of Lincoln. The first is his powerful Pontiac, which has set top speed of the event in six of the first nine races, with six starts in the top half of the field. To have such a proven commodity can almost be considered a luxury as this race comes less than one week after the most recent event in Topeka. The other is his record of success at Route 66 Raceway, site of this weekend’s event. Having already scored two wins in three final round appearances in his previous 13 starts, the Joliet speedplant could prove to be the perfect location for the “get healthy” weekend the Johnson-led crew is looking for.

“We’re obviously pleased with our GM Performance Parts GXP’s performance at this point, so this week the crew has had to do little to it other than the normal between-race maintenance,” said Johnson. “With only a couple days between races, it helps to have a package you can rely on, because it allows me to concentrate on some of our research and development projects because, as everyone knows, you can never have enough power.

“Since we only race at Route 66 Raceway once a year now, we really don’t know what to expect as far as the racing surface is concerned. I know there was some talk that they were going to address the bump in the right hand lane, but I’m not sure if they did. I guess we’ll find out when we get there. The forecast is calling for it to be pretty warm, which is fine as along as it’s not accompanied by any liquid sunshine. We’ve fared pretty well at Joliet in the past, and I see no reason why we can’t continue that positive trend this weekend. After all, it is about time we got ourselves headed in the right direction.”

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