Joliet: Kurt Johnson final report

Kurt Johnson Solidifies Points Lead with Route 66 Win June 8, 2008, Joliet, IL -- Kurt Johnson scored his second win of the 2008 season on Sunday, capturing the Pro Stock title at the Torco Race Fuels Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, IL. After...

Kurt Johnson Solidifies Points Lead with Route 66 Win

June 8, 2008, Joliet, IL -- Kurt Johnson scored his second win of the 2008 season on Sunday, capturing the Pro Stock title at the Torco Race Fuels Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, IL. After qualifying sixth, Johnson methodically recorded the quickest elapsed time in every round defeating Mike Edwards, Greg Anderson and his father Warren Johnson before squaring off against No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin in the final.

Knowing he would need a near perfect performance to earn the victory, Johnson responded with his best reaction time of the day at .019 to gain the advantage by one-hundredth of a second at the starting line, capping the day with a 6.733-second, 205.22 mph pass to easily defeat Coughlin, who suffered severe tire shake at the hit of the throttle. This was the 38th win of Johnson's career and third at Route 66 Raceway, allowing him to extend his lead in the POWERade championship standings.

"What a great day," said Johnson. "Going into the final, I knew I would have to come up with a good light, because Jeggie is like a machine on the starting line, repeatedly putting up twenties and teens. I figured we had a couple hundredths on him in performance, so I felt I had to have a thirty or better to give us chance to win. To come up with that .019 was just huge.

"This was a big win for the entire ACDelco Cobalt crew, our sponsors and our fans. I was fortunate enough to have my family here this weekend, so they were able to enjoy the win with me. It took a little extra time because of the rain, but we got the job done in Joliet."

The Johnson-led crew had worked on their race car's tune-up throughout the weekend, dialing it in to the hot and humid conditions at the Joliet quarter-mile, which were made even more challenging by the persistent showers throughout the weekend, which included a three-hour rain delay between the first and second rounds on Sunday. After moving up to the sixth position on their final qualifying attempt on Saturday afternoon, the team made major changes prior to final eliminations, producing a stunning 6.717-second, 205.32 mph blast in their first round win over veteran Mike Edwards. From that point on, they were never headed.

"Our ACDelco Cobalt really stepped up to the plate today," said Johnson. "With all the stories about the Triple Crown this weekend, I'd been calling our car 'Big Blue' after the horse Big Brown. Unlike him, however, we were able to finish the last quarter-mile.

"We made some changes to it last night after qualifying, and it really responded, picking me up when I needed it to in the middle rounds. In fact, it was so fast right off the bat this morning with that 6.71 that I resisted making any major changes. >From the second round on, all I basically had to do was detail it.

"This was our third win in Chicago, along with the King Demon (the Pro Stock all-star race Johnson won last year in Joliet). It's a tuner's track, and you know the car is going to make it down to the finish line, so you're going to learn something when you run here. It's just a nice racetrack, and obviously we love coming here.

"But with this one in the books, we're going to turn our attention to Englishtown and the races after that. We feel pretty good tonight, but there are a lot of races left, and we plan on doing this again, so we have to stay on top of our game."

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Mike Edwards