Joliet: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ Targets Twin Crowns in Joliet ACDelco Cobalt crew preps for National Event & King Demon wins at Route 66 Raceway Sugar Hill, Ga., June 6, 2007 -- Five days after the conclusion of their national event in Topeka, KS, the stars of the ...

KJ Targets Twin Crowns in Joliet
ACDelco Cobalt crew preps for National Event & King Demon wins at Route 66 Raceway

Sugar Hill, Ga., June 6, 2007 -- Five days after the conclusion of their national event in Topeka, KS, the stars of the NHRA's POWERade Drag Racing Series will be back on track in Joliet, IL for the first qualifying session of this weekend's Torco Racing Fuels Nationals. With so little time to prepare, teams will have to rely on information gained in recent events. Coming off a quarterfinal finish that included a stout first-round run, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt racing team arrive in the Land of Lincoln with a starting point and, naturally, a definite goal -- to successfully defend their Pro Stock title from this race a year ago.

"We made a good run in the first round in Topeka, and that's what we'll base things off of for Joliet," said Johnson. "Our ACDelco Cobalt was both quick and fast a week ago, but we know we still have homework to do. Right now, we can run in the top five, but we want more than that. We want to be on top. That's why we are constantly working at the shop to find more power.

"But with races on back-to-back weekends, our options in that area are somewhat limited, so we'll make the very best of what we have, which, quite frankly, is pretty good. When we get to Route 66 Raceway on Thursday, we'll take a look at everything, from the weather and the racetrack, and compare it to what we have from last week. We're right there in performance, so we're not going to take any wild shots trying to set the world on fire. We're just going to keep doing what we have been, trying to make good, clean runs and smart decisions. If we do that, we should be in the hunt."

As if the rigors of normal national event competition and the pursuit of the POWERade Pro Stock championship are not enough, this weekend the second-generation racer will also have the added pressure of competing in the annual King Demon Crown, an all-star challenge pitting the eight best Pro Stock qualifiers over the last year in a three-round shootout, with the winner garnering a $50,000 payout.

Saturday's 2007 running will mark Johnson's 14th appearance in this special event, which he has won three times (most recently in 2003), a mark which ties him with his father Warren Johnson and veteran Larry Morgan for the most victories by any competitor. However, despite the lure of the big payday, Johnson will keep the big picture in focus, never losing sight of the valuable championship points that winning rounds on Sunday will bring.

"The Demon is a tough battle, pitting a lot of good cars against each other, and our ACDelco Cobalt is one of them," said Johnson. "There's a lot of money at stake, and winning on Saturday would be nice. Naturally, we're going to do everything we can to get the job done, but our primary focus is on getting to the winner's circle on Sunday night, putting ourselves in a better position for the Countdown.

"We'll try to secure a good starting spot for Sunday during the first two rounds of qualifying on Friday. If we do that, it will allow us to use our final two attempts to have some fun and earn that $50,000. But the bottom line will be bringing home the Wally. The track at Route 66 Raceway is pretty good - a smooth, quick surface, and we've had success there in the past, including last year. We're just looking to duplicate that performance this weekend -- twice."

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Larry Morgan