NHRA Carolinas Nationals
Returning to Charlotte reminds WJ of his work in NASCAR
However, as the POWERade Drag Racing Series makes its first foray into the heart of NASCAR country for this weekend’s inaugural Carolina NHRA Nationals in Concord, NC, the man acknowledged by fans and fellow competitors as “The Professor of Pro Stock” recalled a time when a legendary figure from the stock car circuit, whose name is quite familiar to those in the Tar Heel State, had come to him for assistance, eventually offering an opportunity to join his organization. Although he did provide his fellow racer with some much needed mechanical help, fortunately for his many legions of fans, WJ opted to remain on the quarter-mile.
“I did some engine work for Junior Johnson back in 1976, which, as I recall, picked up their program significantly,” said Johnson. “I believe he had heard about me from A.J. Foyt, for whom I had also done some work. I did the top side of Junior’s motors back in
“It was a rather interesting experience. I was at his shop on numerous occasions, and at that time, their technology was significantly behind us, as this preceded the major sponsorships and engineering work that are common today. Since then, however, with the major influx of cash in that series, they have been able to catch up and perhaps even surpass us in certain areas.
“At one point, he asked me to join his team on a permanent basis. However, being from Minnesota, where that type of racing was virtually non-existent, I had already started my career in drag racing, and was just starting to do well, so that’s where I stayed. Maybe if I had been raised down south, and grown up around stock car racing, my decision might have gone the other way, but I have no regrets about the path my career has taken. Ironically, thirty or so years later, we’ll be coming back to the
Located in the
“After testing there last week, the GM Performance Parts crew is looking forward to getting back to
“It will also be good to put on a show in what is considered the middle of NASCAR country. With all of the media exposure, we have already seen a tremendous amount of crossover in many forms of motorsports. However, being able to have a race at such an incredible facility right in these people’s back yards where they can come out and watch it will be great.“We had a comparable situation when we first raced in
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