Bristol: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ Is Confident of a Turnaround in Thunder Valley ACDelco Cobalt crew returns to proven set-up for rescheduled race at Bristol Dragway Sugar Hill, Ga., July 4, 2007 -- The 2007 POWERade Drag Racing Series has taken on a new complexion in 2007...

KJ Is Confident of a Turnaround in Thunder Valley
ACDelco Cobalt crew returns to proven set-up for rescheduled race at Bristol Dragway

Sugar Hill, Ga., July 4, 2007 -- The 2007 POWERade Drag Racing Series has taken on a new complexion in 2007 under the Countdown to the Championship format installed by the NHRA, with the original 23-race championship chase now divided into a three-tiered title fight. As teams head to the Tennessee mountains for this weekend's O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, 11 of the first segment's 17 races have been completed, with teams jockeying at every turn for one of only eight positions in the second stanza. Sitting in the seventh position heading into this weekend, Kurt Johnson knows a strong showing is critical to his championship chances, and will therefore return his ACDelco Cobalt to a proven set-up.

"We had been using certain components in our ACDelco Cobalt that originally showed some potential, but any benefit has been offset by their inconsistent performance, making the car harder to tune," stated Johnson. "What's puzzling is that they are the same pieces Dad (six-time champion Warren) is using in his GM Performance Parts GTO with completely different results. Therefore, we are going to get them out of the car before Bristol, and go back to where we run decent 60-foot times and run fast.

"The good news is that we know what the problem is and we can fix it. We're not worried about the driving, and we're making good power. It's all a matter of making good runs, going from A to B. It's been jumping, spinning and out of control, but it's not shaking the tires, which is a big thing. We believe that once we change the offending pieces, we'll calm it down and get back to qualifying in the top half and going rounds on Sunday, putting ourselves in a good position for the end of the year. I feel comfortable with the direction we're heading and know we should be in good shape very soon."

Having a consistent car with a reliable tune-up will be of utmost importance this weekend, as the racing surface at Bristol Dragway will be a completely unknown quantity, with the 700-foot concrete launching pad having been completely redone in the last month.

"I've always enjoyed going to Bristol," said Johnson. "Of course, my first experience in Thunder Valley came back in the 70's when we went with Dad to the IHRA races, but for the last six years, we've been there with our ACDelco Chevy, and done pretty well. We've qualified in the top half most of the time, gone rounds, and won in 2003. On top of that, the facility is one of the best on the circuit.

"Of course, this year the surface is something of a question mark, but it will be new to everybody. I expect it will pretty rough, as I don't believe they've had time to grind and level it since pouring the new concrete. We'll find out when we get there, and maybe we'll even be pleasantly surprised. It is, after all, one of Bruton Smith's tracks, which are the very best we race on, and I'm sure Jeff Byrd and his entire staff will have it ready to go. Our job will be to have our ACDelco Cobalt ready to handle whatever is thrown at us, and, as far as that goes, I'm not concerned. We'll be ready."

This year, ACDelco is teaming with Kurt Johnson to produce the "ACDelco Drive to Win" Sweepstakes, where entrants can win awards, racing trips and prizes, including the grand prize: a 2007 Cobalt SS complete with Genuine Chevrolet Accessories. For more information on Kurt Johnson, ACDelco and the Drive to Win Sweepstakes, please visit http://www.acdelco.com/promotions/drivetowin/

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson