THE KURT CHRONICLES: ENGLISHTOWN EDITION Kurt Johnson ACDelco News & Notes for the NHRA Mopar Parts Nationals NEXT RACE: Mopar Parts Nationals, May 21-23, Englishtown, N.J. TV: ESPN2, May 23, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Eastern - check local ...
THE KURT CHRONICLES: ENGLISHTOWN EDITION
Kurt Johnson ACDelco News & Notes for the NHRA Mopar Parts Nationals
NEXT RACE: Mopar Parts Nationals, May 21-23, Englishtown, N.J. TV: ESPN2, May 23, 7:30-9:30 p.m. Eastern - check local listings.
Kurt Johnson's Atlanta-based ACDelco Pro Stock team will head to Yankee territory for the Mopar Parts Nationals in Englishtown, N.J., on May 21-23. Kurt will have a busy weekend in E-town, since he is the No. 2 seed for the Holley Pro Stock Dominator Duel, a special "race within a race" that pays $50,000 to the winner - plus a $50 grand bonus if the winner of the Duel sweeps the Mopar Parts Nationals title.
Johnson is the defending and two-time champion of the Dominator Duel. He defeated Mark Osborne in his first appearance in the special event in 1994, and beat Steve Schmidt in last year's edition. He has qualified for the event six straight years.
"That winner's check will buy a lot of shoes for the kids," Kurt reports. "We've won it a couple times, and we're qualified in a good spot this year - but everyone's going to be gunning for the money."
The Dominator Duel presents a special challenge to Pro Stock teams because the first two rounds also count as qualifying runs for Sunday's main event. "Our first priority is to qualify for the race," Kurt explains. "I've been in the situation before when I haven't been in the show going into second round of the Duel. At that point, you're more concerned about qualifying for Sunday's race than winning the round. The race is important because it counts for the Winston championship, but the Duel is like icing on the cake."
THE TWO FACES OF ENGLISHTOWN
According to K.J., Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, the site of the Mopar Parts Nationals, has a split personality. "There can be a night-and-day difference in the race track between the afternoon and evening sessions," he explains. "If it's hot, the track can be very tricky. Then in the evening when the surface cools down, it can be exceptionally good.
"We ran well there last year, but now we're racing a different car. I still have our old car sitting here in the shop, and I'm almost tempted to take it to Englishtown. We know that our new ACDelco Camaro is fast, so I hope that we can it tune it for both the daylight and nighttime runs. You just have to be prepared to run on two different tracks."
A RACE TO REMEMBER
Kurt Johnson earned a permanent place in drag racing history on a chilly Friday evening in Englishtown on May 20, 1994. At 8:30 p.m., Kurt became the first Pro Stock driver to break the 6-second barrier when he stopped the timers at 6.988 seconds. By the time his big weekend was over, Kurt had set the national elapsed time record, become the first member of the Holley 6-Second Pro Stock Club, earned a spot in the Slick 50 World Record Club, and won the Pro Stock Challenge. Kurt's winnings totaled $91,000 - the biggest payday ever in Pro Stock.
"When I saw the television crew running toward the car, I figured that I must have run in the sixes," Kurt recalled.
KURT JOHNSON'S ENGLISHTOWN RESULTS Year Qualified Result 1993 2 Runner-up (to W. Johnson) 1994 1 Semi Final 1995 3 First Round 1996 12 First Round 1997 9 Second Round 1998 1 First Round
LAST RACE: Advance Auto Parts Southern Nationals, May 16, Atlanta, Ga. Qualifying: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 14 at 6.990/198.96 mph Eliminations: Round 1: Mike Thomas (6.986/198.61) defeated Kurt Johnson (8.385/138.14)
POINTS RACE: (After 7 of 22 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Kurt Johnson 2 613 2. Warren Johnson 3 605 3. Jim Yates 0 394 4. Richie Stevens 0 369 5. Troy Coughlin 0 362