Race Results from NHRA Fram Nationals: Kurt Johnson Runner-Up in Atlanta April 13, 1997; Commerce, Ga. RACE SUMMARY QUALIFYING: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 4 at 6.976/196.76 ELIMINATIONS: Round 1: Kurt Johnson...
Race Results from NHRA Fram Nationals: Kurt Johnson Runner-Up in Atlanta
April 13, 1997; Commerce, Ga.
RACE SUMMARY QUALIFYING: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 4 at 6.976/196.76 ELIMINATIONS: Round 1: Kurt Johnson (6.99/197) defeated Ron Krisher (7.03/196) Round 2: Kurt Johnson (7.00/196) defeated Bruce Allen (.7.01/196) Semi-Final Round: Kurt Johnson (7.04/196) defeated Warren Johnson (broke) Final Round: Jim Yates (6.98/196) defeated Kurt Johnson (7.01/196)
NOTES AND QUOTES: Kurt Johnson made his second straight (and third overall) final round appearance in the NHRA Fram Nationals at Atlanta Dragway. After defeating Ron Krisher, Bruce Allen, and his father Warren in the preliminary rounds, KJ was defeated by Jim Yates, 6.988 to 7.019, in a rematch of last year's final-round contestants.
"I felt like I was riding bucking bronco in low gear," said Kurt after the final round. "We took a shot in the dark on the clutch. I think we could have run right with him with a good setup. I can't complain about putting the ACDelco Pontiac in a final round on live TV."
Crew chief Kevin Horst and chief mechanic Bob Lawson installed a new GM DRCE engine for Kurt's final round contest with Yates. "We had a fresh motor in the trailer, so we decided to go for it," Kurt reported.
Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Pontiac set the early pace in Pro Stock qualifying at the Fram Nationals with a track-record 6.982-second elapsed time in the first session. After four qualifying sessions, Kurt was in the No. 4 spot at 6.976/196.76.
The Johnson team, which is based in nearby Sugar Hill, Georgia, has dominated the Pro Stock class at Atlanta Dragway with ten final round appearances since 1986. In addition to Kurt's victory last year and runner-up finishes in 1993 and 1997, Warren has three wins and three runner-up finishes; Don Beverley drove a Johnson team car to victory in 1992.
"I think we should run all the races here at Atlanta!" Kurt quipped. "The biggest difference in my racing program from last year is consistency. We've got another year's worth of data in my notebook. Nothing beats experience in this game -- and a lot of horsepower can make anyone a great driver."
PRO STOCK STANDINGS: (after 5 of 22 events; victories in parentheses): 1. Jim Yates (3), 484; 2. Warren Johnson (1), 429; 3. Kurt Johnson, 395; 4. Steve Schmidt, 264; 5. Bruce Allen, 241.
NEXT EVENT: April 24-27, NHRA Pennzoil Nationals, Richmond, Va. TV: ESPN2 same-day finals telecast, April 27, 8:30 p.m. Eastern (check local listings)
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 13-Apr-1997