Charlotte: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ is Ready to Have Fun in Charlotte ACDelco Cobalt crew set to kick off Countdown to One at new Zmax Dragway Sugar Hill, Ga., September 10, 2008 -- The standard by which all dragstrips are measured will be raised this weekend, as the Zmax ...

KJ is Ready to Have Fun in Charlotte
ACDelco Cobalt crew set to kick off Countdown to One at new Zmax Dragway

Sugar Hill, Ga., September 10, 2008 -- The standard by which all dragstrips are measured will be raised this weekend, as the Zmax Dragway at Concord joins the POWERade Drag Racing Series with the running of the Carolina NHRA Nationals in Concord, NC. Built in record time, this latest offering from Bruton Smith's Speedway Motorsports group promises to offer both fans and racers all the amenities, surpassing all the other stops on the circuit. Having tested there last week, ACDelco Cobalt racer Kurt Johnson has already gotten a glimpse of what awaits the straight-line set, and is looking forward to returning for this inaugural race.

"More than anything else, it's going to be fun racing this weekend at the Zmax Dragway," said Johnson. "I always get excited when we go to a new racetrack, and, having gotten a taste of it in testing last week, the entire ACDelco Cobalt crew is ready to go back to North Carolina for the real thing. Being right outside Charlotte, I'm sure we'll have our share of NASCAR fans in the stands, and we're looking forward to letting them see what our sport is all about.

"The atmosphere this weekend promises to be tremendous. At every one of his tracks, Bruton Smith and his group do a great job of putting on a show for the fans while making sure the racers also get everything they need. Everything is always top-notch, and this new track takes it to an entirely new level. Right out of the box, this is going to be one race everyone wants to win, and we're going to do our best to be the ones taking home the trophy."

If the competitive debut of this magnificent new venue were not enough, this weekend's race will also offer the perfect setting for the start of the NHRA's championship playoff season, the Countdown to One. Following the completion of the last race in Indianapolis ten days ago, the top ten competitors in each professional category were separated from the field, with the 495-point difference between them reduced to only 110 markers. Ironically, this reformulation further distanced second-place KJ from the points lead, as his 16 point deficit was increased to 30. Undaunted, the second-generation racer has maintained his focus, never losing sight of the big picture.

"Everyone knew the situation at the start of the season, and resetting the points is just part of the deal, so we're not really concerned," said Johnson. "Besides, we just have to be in the lead after the last race. However, it is absolutely huge to get off to a good start. We start the Countdown with three races in a row, so we want to be on our game from the beginning in order to make a statement.

"Everything is pretty good right now in the ACDelco Cobalt camp. The car has been consistent, and everyone is doing their job. It's all about making runs and gathering information. We learned a lot during our test session last week that we hope to put to good use, and still have more to learn. After all, this is a very tough category, and we want to get the most out of every run, so we put ourselves in a position to win, not only here in Charlotte, but the big prize at the end of the season -- the POWERade championship."

-credit: j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson