Commerce: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ Strives to Hit the Three C's in Atlanta ACDelco crew targets consistency, concentration and control at Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals Sugar Hill, Ga., April 25, 2007 -- The National Hot Rod Association's Pro Stock category is ...

KJ Strives to Hit the Three C's in Atlanta
ACDelco crew targets consistency, concentration and control at Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals

Sugar Hill, Ga., April 25, 2007 -- The National Hot Rod Association's Pro Stock category is arguably the most competitive in all of motorsports. At each of the 23 stops on the POWERade Drag Racing circuit, an average of twenty-five racers battle throughout qualifying to earn one of sixteen spots in Sunday's final eliminations field, with entire fields covered by a few hundredths of a second. On race day, the competition gets even tighter, as the difference between winning and losing often measured in tens of thousandths of a second. Therefore, with no perceptible room for error, the driver and crew that are able to best maintain their concentration, perform consistently and stay in control stand the best chance of ending the day in the winner's circle.

Earlier this season in Phoenix, AZ Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team were that team. Working at bettering their performance throughout the weekend, the red, white and blue crew qualified seventh, and combined a fast race car with some tremendous driving on Sunday to score the win. Having struggled somewhat in the events since, they head into this weekend's Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals in Atlanta, GA determined to regain their winning form, beginning with the first qualifying session on Friday.

"The key is to make a good run right off the bat, and get everything working for you," said Johnson. "To do that, you have to have the whole package, with the driver, car and crew all performing at their best. You can even get away with having one element slightly off at the start, as long as it's all good by Saturday afternoon, putting you in control for race day.

"That's pretty much the way things were in Phoenix. I drove well on the first run, and even though the car didn't perform, we kept tuning and it came around by the end of qualifying. It's all a matter of being consistent, maintaining your concentration and controlling everything you can including keeping lane choice throughout eliminations. If we do that, our ACDelco Cobalt has a good shot of ending the day in the winner's circle."

Aiding Johnson's efforts this weekend will be the team's extensive tuning notes on Atlanta Dragway. Located a short drive away from their headquarters in Sugar Hill, it has long served as the team's primary test facility. Although the surface preparation prior to a national event will substantially change a track's performance characteristics, there is still an inherent value in knowing the subtle nuances learned through countless runs down a particular quarter-mile.

"We have a little bit of a notebook on this racetrack, which should help," said Johnson. "As tight as this Pro Stock field has been, we'll take any advantage we can get. Lane choice played a significant role at the last race, and, as worn as the surface is here in Atlanta, it will probably be a major factor this weekend as well, even in qualifying. We'll have to make sure we cover all the bases, be smooth and get our ACDelco Cobalt down the boulevard on every run.

"I think we're going to do a little better than we have in the last few races. We're more than capable of qualifying in the top half of the field, and with the combination of eighty degree temperatures and about 600 cars going down the track, we'll have to look at our notes and come up with a tune-up to get the job done."

However, before heading to the track on Friday, Kurt and his family will first travel to Talladega, Alabama on Thursday to attend this year's International Motorsports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where his father Warren will become the seventh drag racer selected for one of racing's ultimate honors.

"It's pretty neat that Dad has been selected to receive this great honor, and we're looking forward to going to Talladega to check it out," said Johnson. "I've never paid close attention to it in the past, but we'll be there in force this year. It will be interesting to see all the people from different series and to be there for my father on his big night."

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 www.acdelco.com/promotions/drivetowin/.

-credit: j2r

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson