Las Vegas II: Kurt Chronicles

THE KURT CHRONICLES: Kurt Johnson ACDelco News & Notes for the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas, Oct. 25-28, 2001 Johnson Deals With Pressure In Penultimate Race Kurt Johnson will gladly trade his felt-tip marker for...

THE KURT CHRONICLES: Kurt Johnson ACDelco News & Notes for the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals, Las Vegas, Oct. 25-28, 2001

Johnson Deals With Pressure In Penultimate Race

Kurt Johnson will gladly trade his felt-tip marker for a five-speed shifter when racing gets underway at the inaugural ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals this weekend. With his sponsor's logo headlining the first fall event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Johnson has been making the rounds of the city that never sleeps for days. Signing autographs and making personal appearances are part of the job description for a professional racer.

"There would be no better place to win than here at an ACDelco race," Johnson said between autograph sessions. "There will be a lot of smiling faces at ACDelco next week if we pull off a victory."

Johnson is his harshest critic as he prepares for the next-to-last race on the NHRA schedule. With only a single victory to date in 2001, the urgency to perform is palpable.

"We're trying our best all the time, so there's no extra pressure this weekend because of ACDelco's involvement," Kurt explained. "We've been working hard all season to make the car and the driver better."

Racers were confronted by a baffling variety of weather conditions last April in Las Vegas. Although this weekend's forecast calls for mild temperatures, the lessons of the previous event were not lost on Johnson.

"The track changed dramatically on race day in April and I spun the tires hard in the second round," he recalled. "We need to stay on top of the conditions this time and do a better job of adjusting the setup to compensate.

"I don't see the 2,000-foot altitude in Las Vegas as a major factor," Kurt continued. "We have a good baseline with this car. The results at the last few races really don't reflect just how quick this Cavalier can run."

A victory in Las Vegas would catapult K.J. back into the top five in the championship standings, an exclusive neighborhood where he has lived for eight straight years. With the season inexorably winding down and his opportunities dwindling, Johnson shows no sign of feeling the strain.

"Pressure just makes me better," he said confidently.

KURT JOHNSON'S LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY RECORD:
Year Qual. Result
2000 13 First Round
2001 8 Second Round

-KC-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson