Kurt Johnson Scores a Big Win in Las Vegas Las Vegas, Nev., April 9, 2006 -- Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team scored an exciting and important victory on Sunday, taking home the Pro Stock title at the Summitracing.com NHRA ...
Kurt Johnson Scores a Big Win in Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nev., April 9, 2006 -- Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team scored an exciting and important victory on Sunday, taking home the Pro Stock title at the Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, NV. Starting from the sixth position, Johnson defeated Mike Edwards, Erica Enders and Jason Line in the early rounds before facing David Connolly in the final.
Although his opponent was able to gain a slight advantage at the start, in the most tightly contested race of the day Johnson was able to chase himdown, with his 6.842-second, 202.42 mph pass crossing the line just three thousandths of a second ahead of Connolly. It was Johnson's first win of the 2006 season, 33rd of his career, second at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway; and allowed him to climb back into contention in POWERade championship chase.
"After we both had really good lights in the semis, I knew the kid (Connolly) would be hot in the final," said Johnson. "In fact, I thought there was a good possibility that one of us would go red, so we actually backed the clutch off a little bit. He did a great job, but fortunately I had a pretty good light, our ACDelco Cobalt made another great run, and we made to the finish line first.
"This was a tremendous day for the entire crew, including Kevin Horst, Justin Belfance, Mike Smith, Dad (six-time Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson) and his GM Performance Parts team, as well as everyone back at the shop. This was a total team effort.
"To come to Las Vegas for the last two races and win both times is an awesome feeling. We used the recipe from the ACDelco Nationals last fall, and it paid off. That information allowed us to make the right tuning decisions and get back on a winning track."
Johnson's well-documented struggles from earlier in the season seemed a distant memory on Sunday, as his car was one of the quickest and fastest throughout eliminations. In the first round against Edwards, who won the most recent national event in Houston just one week ago, KJ posted an impressive 6.817-second, 202.85 mph pass to claim his first elimination round win of the year. In the second round, KJ was again on his game, using a .027 reaction time and a 6.823-second, 202.33 mph run to eliminate Enders, who had qualified third and run well in the early part of the season.
The final stop between Johnson and his 62nd career final round was rival Jason Line. Using his best reaction time of the day at .019, the second-generation racer left the line almost three hundredths of a second ahead of his opponent, using a solid 6.864 second, 201.94 mph pass to defeat Line's slightly quicker 6.862-second, 202.00 mph run, setting the stage for his encounter with Connolly.
"We ran pretty well in qualifying, but the way things had been going so far this year, I was just glad the car started for the first round against Edwards," joked Johnson. "It's no secret that we had been struggling, but we knew what we had in this ACDelco Cobalt, and were confident that it was only a matter of time before we turned things around.
"We started to shows signs of life in Houston, but had an issue in the first round. We knew we needed to be ready to race this weekend, so we stayed an extra day and tested, with the information we gathered there playing a big role in our success today.
"We're proud of extending our streak of winning at least one race a season to twelve consecutive years, and that we were able to do it early in the season. It was a great win for the ACDelco Cobalt crew today, and awesome for Pro Stock to have five winners in the first five races. Today was fun, but now it's extremely important that we keep that positive momentum going for the rest of the year."