THE KURT CHRONICLES: KURT JOHNSON ACDELCO RACE RESULTS FROM THE NHRA MAC TOOLS GATORNATIONALS Kurt Extends Points Lead with Runner-Up Finish in Florida Gainesville, Fla.; March 21, 1999 - Kurt Johnson increased his lead in the NHRA Pro Stock...
THE KURT CHRONICLES: KURT JOHNSON ACDELCO RACE RESULTS FROM THE NHRA MAC TOOLS GATORNATIONALS
Kurt Extends Points Lead with Runner-Up Finish in Florida
Gainesville, Fla.; March 21, 1999 - Kurt Johnson increased his lead in the NHRA Pro Stock championship race today with a runner-up finish to his father, Warren, at the NHRA Mac Tools Gatornationals. Kurt left Gainesville Raceway with a 55-point advantage over No. 2 ranked Troy Coughlin and a 57-point margin over his famous father.
"We gained points," said Kurt after the final round. "That's why we came here.
"In the final the car hooked left and got out into the marbles," he explained. "I wasn't expecting that because the car had been going straight. It made a move in low gear, I corrected and got it back - but with one wheel out of the groove, it started sashaying. I stayed with it a while, but finally Dad just took off."
Warren and Kurt qualified first and second respectively at the Gatornationals - the third consecutive race that the Johnsons have monopolized the top two spots. The pair ran identical 6.906-second elapsed times; Warren claimed the No. 1 spot on the tiebreaker with a 200.08 mph speed to Kurt's 199.43 mph clocking in his ACDelco Camaro.
"We knew we had to get some bite in the chassis," Kurt commented. "We adjusted the rear suspension to a setting we had never tried before, and it worked perfectly.
"I ran my best 60-foot time in the final," he noted. "It could have been a record run, but not when the car doesn't go straight. This place really threw us a curve, but we survived."
Johnson's runner-up finish was his best result in seven appearances at the Gatornationals. He topped 200 mph twice during eliminations, running a career-best speed of 200.17 mph.
"I'm not disappointed with a runner-up finish," Kurt asserted. "We're going to keep striding forward. The next race is in Houston, and we were fast there in preseason testing."
Johnson will attempt to pad his points lead at the O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park on April 8-11.
KURT JOHNSON RACE RESULTS: Qualifying: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 2 at 6.906/199.43 mph
Eliminations: Round 1: Kurt Johnson (6.896/200.08) defeated Hurley Blakeney (10.978/124.63) Round 2: Kurt Johnson (6.907/199.76) defeated Larry Morgan (6.985/198.61) Semi-Final: Kurt Johnson (6.882/200.17) defeated Troy Coughlin (6.954/199.37) Final Round: Warren Johnson (6.971/199.37) defeated Kurt Johnson (7.250/167.07)
Low ET: Warren Johnson, 6.866 seconds (national record) Top Speed: Warren Johnson, 201.37 mph (national record)
POINTS RACE: (After 3 of 22 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Kurt Johnson 1 311 2. Troy Coughlin 0 256 3. Warren Johnson 1 254 4. Jeg Coughlin, Jr. 1 242 5. Jim Yates 0 180
NEXT RACE: O'Reilly Nationals, April 8-11, Houston, Texas TV: TNN, April 18, 12:00-1:30 p.m. Eastern - check local listings.