THE KURT CHRONICLES: Kurt Johnson ACDelco News & Notes for the Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals (Bristol, Tenn., April 26-28) and the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac (Atlanta, May 2-5) RUNNER-UP FINISH...
THE KURT CHRONICLES: Kurt Johnson ACDelco News & Notes for the Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals (Bristol, Tenn., April 26-28) and the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac (Atlanta, May 2-5)
RUNNER-UP FINISH BUOYS KURT'S CONFIDENCE GOING INTO BRISTOL
It's said that winning is everything, but a runner-up finish isn't bad in the ferociously competitive arena of Pro Stock. Kurt Johnson rebounded from a disappointing DNQ in Las Vegas to a final-round appearance at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston. It was an auspicious debut for Johnson's new ACDelco Cavalier that hadn't turned a tire in competition before the race.
"Winning rounds in Houston definitely boosted my confidence," said Johnson. "We were consistent, and that's essential. The new car went from Point A to Point B. It wasn't the fastest car, but it went down the track every time.
"Going into the final round against Edwards, we knew we were behind by two or three hundredths," Kurt confided. "We thought about gambling, but decided against it. The car ran 6.91, which is just about what we expected. Unfortunately, 6.91 isn't good enough when the guy in the other lane runs 6.89."
Although Kurt was elated with his reversal of fortune, he was disappointed with his second-place finish.
"Losing in a final-round stinks," he declared. "If you're going to go to the final, you'd better win -- but it's farther than we've gone lately, so I'm encouraged."
Kurt will have another chance to advance from eighth place in the POWERade championship standings in this weekend's Mac Tools Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals at Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway. Although he has only competed once at Thunder Valley in national event competition, he has a lifetime of racing experience at the Tennessee track. As a youngster, he frequently accompanied his father at IHRA events at the scenic track, and he competed in several special events there.
"Bristol Dragway is similar to the track in Las Vegas, with a little more altitude and a lot more humidity," Johnson reported. "If the conditions are tough, it's crucial to make a good run on Friday night because that qualifying session will probably set the field. If we can run 6.92 or 6.93 in Bristol, we should be near the top of the list."
Johnson will have the luxury of racing at home when the NHRA tour goes to Atlanta on May 2-5 for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac. He knows Atlanta Dragway's quarter-mile of concrete and asphalt intimately.
"The starting line is killer," K.J. noted. "If the Safety Safari scrapes the track regularly, the traction will be fine. Dad's car runs like a rocketship there; I hope that mine does, too.
"We're hungry for a win," Johnson said. "We'll have a serious celebration if we win at our home track."