Gainesville: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ is Ready to Rebound and Wrestle Away a Gatornationals Win ACDelco Cobalt crew aims for consecutive wins at their sponsor's events Sugar Hill, Ga., March 14, 2006 - Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entered the 2006 NHRA ...

KJ is Ready to Rebound and Wrestle Away a Gatornationals Win

ACDelco Cobalt crew aims for consecutive wins at their sponsor's events

Sugar Hill, Ga., March 14, 2006 - Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entered the 2006 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season as one of the more popular choices to contend for the Pro Stock championship, based on their solid 2005 performance, which saw them earn four wins en route to the fourth runner-up points finish of KJ's illustrious career.

However, Johnson's trademark consistency seemed unusually scarce in this year's first two races, as he battled to transfer his car's tremendous horsepower to the race track. Therefore, he arrives in Gainesville, FL for this weekend's ACDelco Gatornationals having spent long hours preparing and planning, and is determined to return to his winning form and reinsert himself in the championship chase.

"We had hoped to be strong right out of the box, but after two races it seems we're still in the box," quipped Johnson. "However, this ACDelco Cobalt crew is far from pushing any panic buttons. It's still very early in the season, and we know the package we have assembled is more than capable of getting the job done.

"Based on the numbers from the start of the season, we know we need to do a better job in the first 330 feet, which requires more track time. Therefore, since the Phoenix race, we've tested three times, including this past weekend in Valdosta, making a total of about twenty runs.

"We're pretty pleased with the results so far, and think the information we've gathered will make the difference. We're going to treat this weekend in Gainesville as the start of our season, and I'm confident we'll get back on track, with things snowballing from there."

With another tightly-packed Pro Stock field expected this weekend at Gainesville Raceway, Johnson's assignment will be far from an easy one, as every competitor wants to add the prestigious Gatornationals title to his or her racing resume, as Kurt did in 2003.

In addition, to some the pressure to perform would be ever further increased by the fact that this race is sponsored by ACDelco, who has been KJ's primary backer for ten years, and will have a large contingent on hand throughout the event. But these factors mean little to the unflappable Johnson, who prefers to use a more pragmatic approach to the weekend.

"The best part about ACDelco sponsoring the Gatornationals is that, just like the second Vegas race, we'll have our own built-in cheering section," said Johnson. "Besides, when you're fortunate enough to have been with a sponsor as long as we have, it's more like racing in front of family. Hopefully we can enjoy the success together, much like we did at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals last October.

"This is one of our biggest races of the year, the first one on the East Coast, and is extremely well-attended by both racers and fans. Personally, it's right up there with winning in Pomona and Indy, and the fact that it's the ACDelco Gatornationals just adds to its appeal. It's the perfect scenario for us to make our return to the winner's circle."

Quick Notes on Kurt Johnson & the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entering The ACDelco Gatornationals:

Kurt Counts a Gator Win among his Successes: This will be KJ's 14th career appearance at Gainesville Raceway, where he has one win in two final round appearances, and a 18-12 elimination round record for a .600 win percentage.

KJ Qualifies Well in Gainesville: In his previous 13 starts in Gainesville, Kurt has only two starts outside the top half of the field, and has an average starting position of 5.46.

One year ago: Kurt qualified fifth with an elapsed time of 6.672 seconds and a top speed of 207.13 mph, but was upset in the first round.

Career Best Elapsed Time: 6.663 sec., Dallas, TX, 10/7/05

Career best top speed: 207.72 mph, Pomona, CA, 2/12/06

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson