Englishtown: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ is Determined to Complete his E-town Resume Coming off their Joliet win, ACDelco Cobalt crew targets first Raceway Park trophy Sugar Hill, Ga., June 18, 2008 -- After 16 years, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, site of this weekend's Lucas...

KJ is Determined to Complete his E-town Resume
Coming off their Joliet win, ACDelco Cobalt crew targets first Raceway Park trophy

Sugar Hill, Ga., June 18, 2008 -- After 16 years, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, site of this weekend's Lucas Oil NHRA Supernationals, is getting on Kurt Johnson's nerves. After all, in his 15 previous appearances at the legendary dragstrip, the ACDelco Cobalt racer has had his share of successes, highlighted by his breaking the six-second barrier there in 1994. His impressive Englishtown resume also includes three wins in the Pro Stock all-star race, three No. 1 qualifying performances and two final round appearances. However, the one accomplishment that has so far eluded him in New Jersey is a national event win, a point of contention he hopes to address this weekend.

"Englishtown is one of those tracks where a win has somehow gotten away from me over the years," said Johnson. "I don't know what it is because in many ways, it's been a great track for me. I made the first six-second run there in 1994. I won the Pro Stock Challenge three times when it was held there, qualified No. 1 and even made it to the final on a couple of occasions. But so far, I just haven't been the first one across the finish line on Sunday night.

"Still, we're not going into this weekend worrying about our past. Instead, the ACDelco Cobalt crew is working on a way to exorcise our E-town demon once and for all. I think we may have something for it this year."

Coming into this year's edition as the Pro Stock championship points leader and most recent winner on the POWERade tour, Johnson seems well positioned to finally add a Garden State "Wally" to his trophy case. However, just as he has all season, the Georgia-based racer remains focused on the big picture, viewing this race as another step towards the start of the NHRA's second season, the Countdown to One. Even so, Johnson is quick to acknowledge the tremendous affinity the Englishtown fans have for the "factory hot rods", and how special it would be to win there.

"The win in Joliet was a great boost for the team, and being on top of the points has only made us work harder than ever to stay there," said Johnson. "That's why we're not going to do anything differently in Englishtown, even though we have yet to win there.

"When we get to the track, we'll go through the same routine we do at every race, starting by doing whatever's necessary to get our ACDelco Cobalt solidly in the show. Once we're qualified, we'll concentrate on turning on the win light four times on Sunday. It's what we did in St. Louis and Chicago, and things worked out pretty well there.

"Having said that, it's always fun to race in E-town because of how the fans there love Pro Stock. Their enthusiasm is contagious. The track can be tricky when it gets hot, because the surface becomes pretty slick. However, when the sun is off the track and it cools down, it can be pretty awesome. Looking at the forecast, it could be pretty fast, so we'll look at our notes from previous years, come up with a starting point for Q1 on Friday and take it from there. This track holds a lot of history and it would be great to finally win there. We're doing pretty well right now, and we're not about to slack off."

-credit: j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson