Millington: Kurt Chronicles: Memphis edition

Kurt Johnson is A win waiting to happen. Drag racing is a game of inches, and so far this season Kurt Johnson has gotten the short end of the stick. His ACDelco Cavalier was one of the quickest cars at the last race in Reading, Pa., but K.J. was...

Kurt Johnson is A win waiting to happen.

Drag racing is a game of inches, and so far this season Kurt Johnson has gotten the short end of the stick. His ACDelco Cavalier was one of the quickest cars at the last race in Reading, Pa., but K.J. was sidelined in the semifinal round when he came up short at the finish line by .013 seconds.

As a veteran of nine years on the NHRA POWERade championship circuit, K.J. knows that it's only a matter of time until he gets that elusive first victory of the season. Johnson has won at least one national event for seven consecutive seasons; a win at this weekend's O'Reilly Mid-South would extend that string to eight straight years.

"We have high expectations going into Memphis," said Johnson. "We're hoping to continue to move up in the points standings, and we've set our sights high for the rest of the year."

The numbers justify Johnson's confidence. He was the No. 2 qualifier at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals with a 6.826-second elapsed time. He ran the second-quickest e.t. in eliminations, and his reaction times on race day ranged from .436 to .441 seconds.

"We've got the driver and the car tuned up," Kurt commented. "I've never won in Memphis, so it would be a good place get a trophy.

"We'll run the same combination that worked well in Reading," he continued. "The Memphis track is smooth, and we expect it to be humid. Living and testing in Atlanta, we're definitely used to humidity!

Johnson is also seeking his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season. He has qualified in the top spot 20 times in his career, and he's been the No. 2 qualifier twice in 2002. K.J. was second to Jim Yates in Reading by .001 seconds.

"If we had run a thousandth of a second quicker, we would have won the $3,000 bonus for qualifying No. 1," Johnson noted. "There are really two races now in Pro Stock - qualifying and eliminations. Getting qualified is the first objective, and it isn't easy. One session usually sets the field, and there are 26 solid cars all shooting for 16 spots. That means that 10 good drivers are going to go home on Saturday - and we don't plan to be one of them."

-wjr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson