Kurt Johnson's Chevy Cavalier dominates Spring Nationals eliminator. BAYTOWN, Tex., April 13, 2003 - Kurt Johnson's 2003 Chevy Cavalier dominated the Pro Stock field during today's running of the 16th annual NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston ...
Kurt Johnson's Chevy Cavalier dominates Spring Nationals eliminator.
BAYTOWN, Tex., April 13, 2003 - Kurt Johnson's 2003 Chevy Cavalier dominated the Pro Stock field during today's running of the 16th annual NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. The 39-year-old ACDelco driver advanced to his third consecutive final round and captured his second win of the season.
Johnson came into the Sunday eliminator qualified in the No. 2 position after piloting his 2003 Cavalier during Friday time trials to a national-record top speed of 205.57 mph and a career-best elapsed time of 6.726 seconds.
"The national record is great for the guys at the shop," said Johnson. "It shows them that we're doing our job out here. Our GM power is definitely flexing its muscle right now and we're not going to lift."
With today's track temperature hovering near 125 degrees, Johnson's Chevrolet grew stronger as the afternoon progressed, becoming quicker in the later rounds when the hot, humid conditions began to adversely affect the rest of the competition.
Johnson defeated Terry Adams in round one, Ron Krisher in round two and Jim Yates in round three. Johnson's ACDelco Chevy Cavalier ran 6.798 seconds against Adams, 6.790 seconds against Krisher and 6.789 seconds against Yates.
In the finals against Scott Geoffrion, Johnson's Chevrolet was first out of the gate, and never relinquished the lead, streaking across the finish line with its best performance number of the day running 6.780 seconds at 204.79 mph. Geoffrion's Ford followed in 6.795 seconds at 204.14 mph. The margin of victory was .018 of a second
Johnson's top speed in the finals was the fastest of the eliminator, and his 2003 Chevy Cavalier is now 11- 1 in competition since its debut last month at Gainesville.
"We knew that the setup we had yesterday wasn't going to work," explained Johnson. "We came up with a combination today that was different than anything we've ever run before. This Chevy Cavalier was absolutely flawless all day, just as smooth as can be. The racecar did its job and the guys working on it did their job. The car was consistent, as it was in Las Vegas, putting up great numbers on a hot racetrack. We've never had this car on a track like we raced on today so we weren't sure what to expect. We made the right calls and got the job done."
It was Johnson's 25th career victory and his 43rd final-round appearance. It was also his second national-event title at this race and Chevrolet's 112th all-time NHRA Pro Stock victory. With 437 points, Johnson moved past Greg Anderson and into first place in the NHRA POWERade standings with a slight lead of 18 points.
"It's so close out there right now that it's too early to be counting points," said Johnson. "Today we got a win, we put four good runs together and it feels great. But being in the points lead doesn't count until the last round of the last race. At the same time, we've made a strong start and put ourselves in a position to be a contender. It's all a matter of applying that GM horsepower to the track and we're doing a fairly decent job of it right now.
"There are a lot of guys who are going to be right there before it's all said and done. Greg's (Anderson) fast, Dad's (Warren Johnson) going to be tough, he's got the same combination that we do, Scott's (Geoffrion) going to be tough and Allen Johnson's going to win some races. It's going to be interesting."
Mike Edwards and Jim Yates had the best performing Grand Ams of the afternoon. Edwards came into today's eliminator qualified in the No. 4 position and advanced to round three before losing to Geoffrion by .008 of a second. Yates qualified 14th and advanced to the semifinals before losing to Kurt Johnson.
"We broke a motor in the second round, changed an engine and got a lot of help from a lot of people between rounds," said Edwards. "Thank the Lord for all the good help that came over and lent us a hand. At least Scott had to race us and he didn't get a bye. This Pontiac Grand Am made a pretty good run for just throwing the engine in - we didn't even have time to warm it up. That's racing - I might get that break next time, you never know.
"I want to thank Pontiac, Dewco, Mac Tools, Young Life and all those kids that came out here this weekend. We're making progress, we just had a little bump in the road. We qualified the best that we have all year and things are starting to turn around. The first three runs in qualifying came together nicely - I'm real proud of my team. We'll keep banging away at this Grand Am. That was great race in the semifinals - I thought I had him."
The next stop is the 3rd annual Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn., on April 25 - 27.
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