Sometimes nicknames accentuate the opposite, i.e., a huge guy called "Tiny." Sometimes they state the obvious like the carrot-topped kid tabbed "Red."

At times these designations are terms of endearment. Sometimes they just plain fit when one or two words say it all.

Spend any amount of time with Warren Johnson and one knows why, many years ago, he was tagged with the moniker "The Professor."

Johnson's traits are well-known: meticulous, deliberate, dotting the "I's" and crossing the "T's"; studying a car, a track, the competition like an archeologist with a new discovery, not knowing what is under the next rock until it is moved.

That style earned Johnson eight career wins, 11 final-round appearances and two No. 1 qualifying positions at Thunder Valley.

His career accomplishments are colossal. The all-time leader in NHRA Pro Stock wins with 97, he is third on the overall NHRA career win list and second, behind John Force, in career finals appearances. He has six NHRA Pro Stock Championships and already is a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

His success and impact on Bristol Dragway and the sport are just part of the reason Johnson is the latest inductee into the Legends of Thunder Valley.

Johnson's accomplishments at Bristol stretch across more than three decades. From winning the 1979 IHRA Spring Nationals Pro Stock title to being the fastest Pro Stock qualifier in the 2008 NHRA Ford Thunder Valley Nationals, "The Professor" has schooled many.

How well did Johnson perform at Bristol? Of his 13 career IHRA wins, six of them came at Thunder Valley. After NHRA returned to Bristol in the late 1990s, Johnson picked up where he left off. His first Pro Stock win came in 2002, followed three years later by his next one, backed-up three years later with a top qualifying spot in what is considered by many to be the most competitive division in NHRA.

Warren Johnson - a true Legend of Thunder Valley.




Won 2005 Thunder Valley Nationals defeating Richie Stevens in finals

Won 2002 Thunder Valley Nationals defeating Ron Krisher in finals

12 races, 2 wins, 1 semi, 10-10 round win record, No. 1 qualifier twice, 0 DNQ



Won 1989 Spring Nationals defeating Darrell Alderman in finals

Won 1988 Fall Nationals defeating Kenny Koretsky in finals

Won 1988 Spring Nationals defeating Rickie Smith in finals

R/U  1983 Fall Nationals, lost to Lee Shepherd in finals

R/U  1982 Summer Nationals, lost to Rickie Smith in finals

R/U  1981 Summer Nationals, lost to Ronnie Sox in finals

Won 1981 Spring Nationals defeating Harold Denton in finals

Won 1980 Spring Nationals defeating Rickie Smith in finals

Won 1979 Spring Nationals defeating Lee Edwards in finals