Kurt Johnson Wins Record Fourth King Demon Crown in Joliet ACDelco Cobalt racer Kurt Johnson used a combination of solid driving and a strong race car on Saturday to capture the NHRA's annual Pro Stock all-star race, the King Demon Crown, which...
Kurt Johnson Wins Record Fourth King Demon Crown in Joliet
ACDelco Cobalt racer Kurt Johnson used a combination of solid driving and a strong race car on Saturday to capture the NHRA's annual Pro Stock all-star race, the King Demon Crown, which was held at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, IL. Starting from the fifth position, Johnson defeated David Connolly and Greg Anderson in the preliminary rounds before squaring off against Greg Stanfield in the final.
Running in the left hand lane, Johnson gained the advantage at the starting line by almost two hundredths of a second with a .033 reaction time and never looked back, powering through the quarter-mile in 6.692 seconds at 207.15 mph to outdistance his opponent, who posted a 6.729-second elapsed time in the losing effort.
"Today was a great day for the ACDelco Cobalt crew," said Johnson. "When you have to race so many good cars and drivers, you never know how these things are going to work out -- you just let the clutch out and hope everything comes together, looking for the win light at the other end.
"All year long, you try to gather as many points for the King Demon, hoping to be in the top eight when you get here to Chicago. Then once you're in, you try to come out to the track and have fun, but when I came out of the shower this morning, I realized there was fifty grand on the line today. There were eight great drivers and eight great cars out there today, any one of which could have won. Fortunately, we were able to get the job done."
This was Johnson's fourth win in this race, which pairs the eight best average qualifiers over the last year in a three-round single-elimination tournament. This broke a four-way tie with his father, Warren Johnson, Bob Glidden and Larry Morgan, who had each posted three wins in the event's 23-year history. In addition to the unique winner's trophy featuring a carburetor on a pedestal, today's performance earned Johnson $50,000, with the possibility of a $25,000 bonus should he also win tomorrow's race.
"What makes today's performance especially rewarding is that we really didn't have the package yesterday," said Johnson. "The car wasn't up to speed, and I wasn't cutting good lights. I knew everything would have to come to a point if we were to win today. The car had to respond, I had to be with it, and the crew had to do their job, which is exactly what we did.
"It was ugly in the first round against Connolly -- the car was out of control. Luckily, I was able to get the jump at the start (with a stellar .007 reaction time), and he also made a bad run. We made some huge adjustments for the second round against Greg (Anderson), and were able to come back with a great run. We didn't event touch it for the final against (Greg) Stanfield, and finally put it all together. Hopefully, we put on a good show for the fans, because that's what really matters. Our ACDelco Cobalt crew had a lot of fun today, and I hope everyone else did too."
Despite their success, however the Johnson-led crew knew they would have to put any celebrations on hold, as they will start sixth in tomorrow's final eliminations based on their 6.646-second, 207.75 mph pass from Friday evening. With the special event behind them, their focus will once again return to their pursuit of this year's POWERade Pro Stock championship.
"We'll have time to celebrate this win on Monday or Tuesday, because now we have to get our ACDelco Cobalt ready for tomorrow," said Johnson. "There are championship points on the line tomorrow, and we want to get as many as we can, making sure we are safely in the Countdown when we get to Indianapolis. We'll enjoy today's win, but we have a big race to run tomorrow."