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Team Chevy's Kurt Johnson No. 1 Pro Stock Qualifier at Inaugural Carolinas Nationals CONCORD, N.C., Sept. 12, 2008 - Team Chevy's Kurt Johnson broke in the new racing surface at zMax Dragway @ Concord with a solid run tonight during the second...

Team Chevy's Kurt Johnson No. 1 Pro Stock Qualifier at Inaugural Carolinas Nationals

CONCORD, N.C., Sept. 12, 2008 - Team Chevy's Kurt Johnson broke in the new racing surface at zMax Dragway @ Concord with a solid run tonight during the second round of Pro Stock qualifying for the Inaugural NHRA Carolinas Nationals. Johnson's ACDelco Cobalt posted a 6.680 e.t. at 206.42 mph and sits at the top of the Pro Stock ladder with two qualifying sessions to be completed on Saturday.

"The ACDelco Cobalt made a great run and we have to thank the Smith family for letting us come out here and test last week," Johnson said. "We made some runs here, we went to Atlanta on Thursday and made some more runs, and it made a huge difference. It's all about going straight and collecting data and making the right decisions, and my team has been making some good decisions lately - that's what it's all about. Especially when it comes down to these last six races. We've been paying attention. We don't always do that, but lately it's been good.

"There's a bunch of fire-breathing dragons out there and it's so close. Jeggie (Coughlin) was four-thousandths behind me in the left lane, dad's right there and we're splitting hairs out there. It's all timing. You have to be in the right place at the right time. You have to make the right decisions, you have to have the right tires on the car, and it's all about the whole package. You've heard it before from several people and that's what it's all about."

Johnson entered the first race of the NHRA playoff format, the Countdown to 1, in second place in the POWERade standings, 30 points behind first-place Greg Anderson. The 45-year-old resident of Sugar Hill, Ga., has only one previous race day pole this season (Houston), but has qualified the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt in the top four of the 16-car Pro Stock field in 11 of the first 18 events. If Johnson can remain in the top spot at the close of time trials on Saturday, it will mark his 29 career No. 1 qualifying award. The ACDelco Chevrolet driver has three wins this season (St. Louis, Chicago, Brainerd) in four final-round appearances.

"We're just going to go out there and have some fun like we always do," Johnson said. "Qualifying is the hard part, and we go out there on Sunday and that's when I have fun. We're not going to stress out too much about it, we're going to do what we've been doing, and it's worked so far. We've come close to being No. 1 up to this point, and let the chips lay where they lay. That's all we can do.

"We have the ball rolling and now we need to keep it rolling. Even though we tested here we go to places that the tracks have been reground, changed, and added to, and subtracted from, and it's always different. The air's different, the track's are different, and you just have to look at your data, make the best call and shoot from the hip sometimes to get from A to B. Great racetrack. Great facility here."

Team Chevy's Larry Dixon took the Top Fuel provisional pole in the U.S. Smokeless car with a 3.846 e.t. at 310.20 mph. Dixon is third in the points standings heading into this race with a win earlier this year at Phoenix to go along with four final-round appearances. Dixon was No. 1 qualifier two weeks ago at Indianapolis and in May in Topeka .

"It was a good run for our team," Dixon said. "We're coming into a racetrack where we have absolutely no experience. We watched a few cars run, and we put a moderate, baseline tune-up in the car, and it held. We were third quick after the first session. That put us at the back of the pack for tonight. We got to see what some of the other cars did, the track temperature and how they were going. We made some adjustments looking for a mid 3.80 and it ran a 3.84. It was a good run for Donnie, Todd and everyone on the U.S. Smokeless car."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , Greg Anderson