Joliet II: Kurt Johnson preview

Kurt Johnson Turns Efficiency Expert in Preparing for Joliet ACDelco Racing team works long hours in short week between races Sugar Hill, Ga., September 29, 2004 - The NHRA's Pro Stock division is arguably the most competitive in all of ...

Kurt Johnson Turns Efficiency Expert in Preparing for Joliet
ACDelco Racing team works long hours in short week between races

Sugar Hill, Ga., September 29, 2004 - The NHRA's Pro Stock division is arguably the most competitive in all of motorsports. At every national event, an average of 30 cars vie for one of only sixteen spots in Sunday's starting field, with a few hundredths of a second separating the leader from the back of the pack. In final eliminations, the difference between winning and losing is often measured in mere thousandths of a second.

Therefore, as Kurt Johnson prepared his ACDelco Cavalier for this weekend's Carquest Auto Parts Nationals in Joliet, IL, he knew a near-perfect performance would be required to obtain his second win of the 2004 season, and both he and his crew worked on a strategy to extract the maximum from their racecar.

"Our primary focus is on getting our entire race package to work as efficiently as possible," said Johnson. "For example, we've been working on improving our speed to the eighth mile mark. The elapsed times have been acceptable, but our eighth mile speeds in the last few races are not where we would like them to be, and that affects our performance in the second half of the run. The initial reaction would be that we're down on power, but we know from the dyno that we have more than enough to get the job done.

"We've made a few changes, from hood scoops to suspension settings, and seen some minor improvement, so we've narrowed our search considerably. However, it remains an issue that we continue to work on, and will do so until we get it completely resolved.

"As close as the competition has become in Pro Stock, you can't afford to give your competitors any sort of an opening. For example, one mile per hour in top speed can make a difference of fifteen spots. The bottom line is that every time you let the clutch out, you have to come as close as you can to having a perfect run, which is what our game plan is for our ACDelco Cavalier this weekend."

Further complicating Johnson's assignment is the scheduling in this part of the POWERade Drag Racing season, which has the straightliners competing on four consecutive weekends following the postponement of the Reading event two weeks ago. With two days consumed by travel, there is little time left for vital pre-race preparation and research and development work, once again testing teams' organizational skills. However, with a veteran crew behind him, Johnson sees little cause for concern.

"Having four back-to-back races is far from the ideal situation, but it's just another part of racing," stated Johnson. "You simply learn to deal with it. With so little time to get things done, it is crucial that you work smart, with each person doing their job, making the most out of the days at the shop.

"In any case, when our transporter pulls into Route 66 Raceway, we'll be ready. We know how to win in Chicago, having done so last year when we started fifteenth. We have only four races left in the season, and we're looking to move up in the points, so we have our work cut out for us, but the entire ACDelco Cavalier crew is up to the challenge."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson