Joliet II: Kurt Johnson preview

Kurt Johnson's take on this weekend's Inaugural NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway is straightforward: "We're going there with both barrels loaded," said the driver of the ACDelco Platinum Plugs Pro Stock Cavalier. "We intend to set the...

Kurt Johnson's take on this weekend's Inaugural NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway is straightforward: "We're going there with both barrels loaded," said the driver of the ACDelco Platinum Plugs Pro Stock Cavalier. "We intend to set the national record."

Johnson has been watching The Weather Channel for days, and he likes what he sees in the forecast.

"The track at Route 66 Raceway typically gets better as the race goes on, but it looks like the temperature will be cool on Friday," he explained. "We're going to try to hit it hard. If we get a good lane and prime conditions on Friday night, I'll be looking for a 6.79 time slip."

Kurt last set the national e.t. record at 6.840 seconds in Richmond, Va., on May 2, 1999. Since then the mark has been lowered to 6.806. Although K.J. hasn't advanced to a final round since he lost to his father on the money run in Denver in July, his Cavalier has been consistently quick on race day.

"I was exceptionally happy with how the car ran in the second round in Memphis last week," Kurt reported. "We had four hundredths on the next quickest car. We've found more power, but we weren't able to apply it to the track. Now all of the testing we've done at Atlanta Dragway is finally paying off.

Kurt also ran the fastest Pro Stock speed at the AutoZone Nationals, the seventh event of the season in which he has been at the top of the speed chart. Only Warren Johnson, with eight top speeds in 2001, has been consistently faster this year.

"I've never tried so hard to win a race as I did last week in Memphis," said Kurt, who has been on the losing end of holeshots in five of his last six races. "I just keep trying and trying and trying.

"I'm beginning to think that I could run five seconds flat and still not win," he laughed. "I don't know how many rounds I've lost by less than a hundredth of a second this season. Maybe I should just go up to the starting line, close my eyes, and take a shot!"

Guessing is not Johnson's style, however. He learned to race the old-fashioned way - with horsepower and hard work.

"If we can continue to run fast, the victories will come," Kurt declared. "I know it."

-{TB} KURT JOHNSON'S ROUTE 66 RACEWAY RECORD: Year Qual. Result 1998 8 Second Round 1999 1 First Round 2000 6 Semi-Final 2001 DNQ

-GM Racing-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson