Media Contact: Rick Voegelin/408-761-2201 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
KURT JOHNSON WINS WINSTON FINALS
Pomona, Calif.; Nov. 9, 1997 -- Kurt Johnson capped the 1997 season with a victory in the NHRA Winston Finals at Pomona Raceway, the finale of the 22-event Winston Drag Racing Series. Johnson drove his ACDelco Pontiac to a final-round victory over Tom Martino, 6.980/197.10 to 7.039/195.99.
Johnson's victory was his third win of the season and the tenth of his career. He finished third in the Pro Stock championship, his fifth consecutive Top Five finish in drag racing's most competitive category.
"A win is what everyone wants at the Winston Finals," Kurt said. "If you can't win the championship, at least you want to win the last race of the year and have something to celebrate over the winter."
Johnson, the No. 6 qualifier at Pomona Raceway, defeated Bruce Allen and Troy Coughlin in the first two rounds of eliminations. In the semi-final round, he defeated his father, Warren, with a holeshot. Kurt's 7.026 beat Warren's quicker-but-later 7.008; the margin of victory was two thousandths of a second.
"I've got to thank Dad for giving me the power under the hood, and thank ACDelco for sticking with me," said Johnson in the winner's circle. "It takes a total combination from the front bumper to the back bumper to win one of these races.
"1997 has been a dream season for me," Kurt continued. "We won the U.S. Nationals for the second straight year and scored back-to-back wins in Brainerd and Indy. I was runner-up at the Winston Finals in my rookie season, but if I'd won that race it wouldn't have been as great as winning today."
KURT JOHNSON RACE SUMMARY QUALIFYING: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 6 at 6.999/196.80 ELIMINATIONS: Round 1: Kurt Johnson (7.015/196.89) defeated Bruce Allen (8.239/121.19) Round 2: Kurt Johnson (7.001/196.76) defeated Troy Coughlin (7.011/196.12) Semi-Final: Kurt Johnson (7.026/196.76) defeated Warren Johnson (7.008/196.85) Final Round: Kurt Johnson (6.980/197.10) defeated Tom Martino (7.039/195.99) LOW ET: Jim Yates, 6.973 TOP SPEED: Steve Schmidt, 198.19
FINAL PRO STOCK STANDINGS: (after 22 of 22 events; victories in parentheses): 1. Jim Yates (9), 1963; 2. Warren Johnson (4), 1629; 3. Kurt Johnson (3), 1575; 4. Bruce Allen, 1110; 5. Steve Schmidt, 1085.
NEXT EVENT: The 1998 season will begin with the Chief Winternationals on Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 1998.
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 09-Nov-1997