Castrol Nationals, April 23-25, Dallas, Texas Pennzoil Nationals, April 30-May 2, Richmond, Va. Kurt Johnson's run for his first NHRA championship got a boost at the O'Reilly Nationals in Houston on April 11 when he scored his second win of the...
Castrol Nationals, April 23-25, Dallas, Texas Pennzoil Nationals, April 30-May 2, Richmond, Va.
Kurt Johnson's run for his first NHRA championship got a boost at the O'Reilly Nationals in Houston on April 11 when he scored his second win of the season and made his third straight final-round appearance. Kurt notched his 14th career victory by a razor-thin margin of 5/1000ths of a second over Mike Edwards. For the first time in his seven-year career, Kurt will arrive in Dallas for the Castrol Nationals on April 23-25 as the Winston points leader. He leads his father Warren by 75 points - nearly four rounds - and enjoys a 133 margin over third-ranked Jeg Coughlin, Jr.
Buoyed by his early-season hot streak, Kurt is cautiously optimistic about his chances for a championship. "We've got a long way to go, and we just have to keep after it," he commented. "We start from ground zero at every race. It doesn't matter what you did at the last event because there are so many variables. Leading the points gives you confidence, but you still have to prove yourself at every track." Consistency wins championships, and Kurt has been a consistent performer at the upcoming venues on the Winston Drag Racing Series schedule. He's tallied two wins and two runners-up at the Texas Motorplex, site of the Castrol Nationals. Kurt has also been a finalist at Virginia Motorsports Park, home of the Pennzoil Nationals. "The tracks in Dallas and Richmond will handle just about anything you can throw at them," Kurt declared. "The concrete starting lines at both tracks are very good and very consistent. The rubber usually sticks to the track surface, and that makes for good racing. Two weeks later we race in Atlanta where we do all of our testing, and then it's on to Englishtown, which is always a fast track. We're definitely ready to go racing!"
Kurt's ACDelco Camaro missed the No. 2 qualifying spot for the first time this year at the O'Reilly Nationals. K.J. was edged by Mike Trumble by .002 seconds for the second slot. "We tried a completely new suspension setup in Houston," Kurt explained. "I believe that we finally have enough information about this chassis to be able to run on a hot track or a cold track. We've got three good race engines in stock, so I know we have the equipment to keep our momentum going."
There is a human element in drag racing that's sometimes overlooked. Consider Kurt's predicament in Houston when he tried to find the reasons behind his lackluster reaction times. "I had a new pair of driving pants, but they were a little too small and way too stiff," Kurt revealed. "I changed back to my old pants for the first round and put on a new pair of shoes, but I still had a slow reaction time. Before the second round, I put on the new driving pants and old shoes - that wasn't much better. I was back in the trailer making a wardrobe change before every round. I finally came up with my best light of the day, a .465 in the final. That was just good enough to catch Edwards." Kurt will be back in his red, white, and blue ACDelco uniform and dressed for more success at the Texas Motorplex.
KURT JOHNSON'S DALLAS RESULTS Year Qualified Result 1993 6 Winner (over W. Johnson) 1994 5 Semi Final 1995 6 Winner (over Patrick) 1996 15 Runner-up (to Yates) 1997 Spring 11 Second Round 1997 Fall 1 Second Round 1998 Spring 5 Runner-up (to Edwards) 1998 Fall 5 Second Round
KURT JOHNSON'S RICHMOND RESULTS Year Qualified Result 1995 6 Semi Final 1996 14 First Round 1997 2 Runner-up (to W. Johnson)
POINTS RACE (After 4 of 22 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Kurt Johnson 2 407 2. Warren Johnson 1 332 3. Jeg Coughlin, Jr. 1 274 4. Troy Coughlin 0 266 5. Jim Yates 0 233