Kurt Johnson speeds to the Winner's Circle in Houston, claims POWERade points lead. Baytown, Texas, April 13, 2003 - Kurt Johnson capped off an impressive weekend by winning today's final eliminations of the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston,...
Kurt Johnson speeds to the Winner's Circle in Houston, claims POWERade points lead.
Baytown, Texas, April 13, 2003 - Kurt Johnson capped off an impressive weekend by winning today's final eliminations of the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, Texas. This was Johnson's second win of the 2003 season and propelled him into the POWERade Pro Stock championship points lead for the first time since 2001.
After resetting the national top speed record at 205.57 mph and placing second in qualifying, Johnson's ACDelco Cavalier was flawless on race day, posting elapsed times in the 6.7-second range with a top speed over 204 mph in each round.
"Our ACDelco Cavalier was extremely consistent today, just as it was in Las Vegas," commented Johnson. "However, we had never had this car on a hot race track, and that actually had me a little worried going into eliminations.
"Fortunately, I do my best thinking in the morning, and I came up with a new combination today for our ACDelco Cavalier that we had never run before, and it was just as smooth as can be on every run."
In the early rounds, Johnson disposed of Terry Adams and Ron Krisher before facing an upset-minded Jim Yates in the semi-final. Yates, who had eliminated former points leader Greg Anderson on a hole shot in the first round, gained a slight advantage at the start, but the legendary Johnson horsepower soon took over, producing a 6.789-second, 204.70 mph pass that allowed the younger member of the Johnson family to drive past his opponent and advance to the 43rd final round of his career, and third this year.
K.J.'s opponent would be No. 8 qualifier Scott Geoffrion, who had made several impressive runs of his own to reach the final. In what proved to be one of the best races of the day, the two cars left the starting line together, rocketing down the Houston quarter-mile in unison. Once again, the long hours spent on the dyno in Sugar Hill, GA paid off, as Johnson posted a 6.780 second elapsed time with a top speed of 204.79 mph to Geoffrion's losing 6.795-second, 204.14 mph effort to reach the Houston Raceway Park winner's circle for the second time in his career.
"I knew Scott was going to be tough, because of the way he had been running with the new car, and that 6.81 he ran in the second round to beat Dad," explained Johnson. "He came up to me before the final and told me it was about time we locked horns. It's always fun racing him, and we had a great race in the final. Fortunately, our ACDelco Cavalier came out on top.
"This is my best start since 1999, and we've learned a lot about getting down a racetrack since then. It feels good to put four good runs together and win, and it's definitely nice to be in the points lead, but there's still a lot of races left on the schedule. We want to be the points leader in November. It's just a matter of applying the horsepower to the racetrack, and we're doing a fairly decent job of it right now. The challenge is to maintain that level of performance, and this entire team is committed to doing just that."
Mac Tools Thunder Valley Nationals,
Bristol, TN, April 25-27