NHRA: Number 1 Seed Johnson Aims for Third Win in Pro Stock Challenge
8 May 1998ENGLISHTOWN, N.J.-- Three-time NHRA Winston Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson will aim for his third victory in the Pro Stock Challenge as the No. 1 seed for the special event May 16 during the Mopar Parts Nationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
A purse of $76,000 is available for the eight drivers competing in the Challenge. The winner of the 14th annual Pro Stock Challenge will earn $50,000. The runner-up will earn $10,000, the two semi- finalists $3,000 each and the four first-round finishers $2,500 apiece.
Johnson, from Duluth, Ga., qualified No. 1 at four of the 21 NHRA national events that drivers could earn Challenge points. Johnson qualified in the top five at 15 of those events. Drivers started earning 1998 Challenge points at the 1997 Western Auto Parts America Nationals presented by Slick 50 in Topeka, Kan., and accumulated points through the 1998 Castrol Lone Star Nationals presented by HiLo/O'Reilly Auto Parts in Ennis, Texas.
Johnson is the only Pro Stock driver that has competed in every Challenge since its inception in 1985. He has been to the final round five times, winning in 1995 and 1993. He was runner-up in 1996, 1990 and 1989.
This year's Challenge field contains four past winners. Besides Johnson, two-time champion Bruce Allen, defending champion Jim Yates and 1994 winner Kurt Johnson will race. Scott Geoffrion and Steve Schmidt will both make their fifth appearance, while Mike Thomas will compete in the Challenge for the first time in his career.
The Pro Stock Challenge showcases the eight best Pro Stock qualifiers during a 21 race span between the 1997 Parts America Nationals and 1998 Castrol Lone Star Nationals. Drivers accumulated points during those events, and a $3,000 bonus was awarded to the No. 1 qualifier at each race.