Memphis: Kurt Johnson preview

Kurt Johnson Burns Gas & Midnight Oil in Search for Power ACDelco Racing team looks for first win at Memphis Motorsports Park Sugar Hill, Ga., August 18, 2004 - Across the world of motorsports, there is one basic need common to every racer. ...

Kurt Johnson Burns Gas & Midnight Oil in Search for Power
ACDelco Racing team looks for first win at Memphis Motorsports Park

Sugar Hill, Ga., August 18, 2004 - Across the world of motorsports, there is one basic need common to every racer. From the "weekend warrior" competing on his or her local track, to the multimillion dollar organizations racing at the highest level of the sport, the search for more power is never ending. As the lead engine builder responsible for the powerplants in both his father's race car as well as his ACDelco Cavalier, Kurt Johnson is a prime example of this tireless pursuit.

With only three days between the last event and this weekend's O'Reilly Auto Parts Mid-South Nationals, most of the competitors in the POWERade Drag Racing Series have been content to perform simple between-race maintenance before heading to Memphis. Johnson, however, has been immersed in the team's engine room, working non-stop to squeeze as much power as he can from the massive 500 cubic-inch engines.

"There are two main ingredients necessary in the search for power, namely time and money," explained Johnson. "Just as the saying goes, money buys speed, but unless you are merely leasing an engine, you also have to spend long hours on the dyno, trying different combinations, seeing what works and what doesn't.

"Basically, you have to make the whole package happy. It's not always one thing that is going to give you tons of power. Over the years, our motors have traditionally been the standard by which others were measured, but right now, there are obviously a few teams that have gone down a different path and found something that works.

"We're right in the ballpark, but we're never happy unless this ACDelco Cavalier is in the lead, so I've been holed up in the back room at our shop in Sugar Hill working to find a few extra horses. We have a few ideas in the works that I believe should produce some positive results in the near future, perhaps as early as this weekend in Memphis."

Should Johnson unearth additional horsepower for this weekend's race, it would come at an opportune time, as Memphis Motorsports Park is one of the few stops on the NHRA circuit where he has yet to reach the winner's circle. As such, there is extra motivation for every member of the ACDelco crew, and they arrive in Millington determined to add this track to their long list of successes.

"Memphis is one of those tracks, where, for one reason or another, the winner's circle has eluded us," stated Johnson. "I was the runner-up to Dad (Six-time champion Warren Johnson) in 1998, but we're still looking for that first Mid-South Nationals "Wally", something we hope to take care of this weekend.

"The racing surface should be pretty good, having been resurfaced, ground and fluffed and buffed, but a lot will depend on the track preparation. If they can get the track in the condition it gets to just before the final, we could see some great racing. I haven't looked at the forecast, but we can handle anything as long as it's not raining.

"As for the ACDelco crew, we'll go into this weekend looking to pick up where we left off in Brainerd, working to pick up a half-hundredth at a time. But until we get there, we'll be working in the engine room, having fun."

-j2r-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson