Pomona II: Kurt Johnson preview

After a Little R&R, Kurt Johnson is Looking for the "W" in Pomona ACDelco Cobalt Crew aims to end 2005 season with Back-to-Back Wins Sugar Hill, Ga., November 1, 2005 -- Following his exciting win at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals ten days...

After a Little R&R, Kurt Johnson is Looking for the "W" in Pomona
ACDelco Cobalt Crew aims to end 2005 season with Back-to-Back Wins

Sugar Hill, Ga., November 1, 2005 -- Following his exciting win at the ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals ten days ago, Pro Stock standout Kurt Johnson did something quite uncharacteristic -- he went on vacation. Just over twelve hours after his dramatic hole shot defeat of Greg Anderson in the championship round, the second-generation racer was on a plane to Hawaii to spend a week celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary with his wife Kathy. Although this might seem unusual with one race left in the season, as far as Johnson is concerned, the timing could not have been better.

"When my wife Kathy and I decided to go away for our 20th anniversary, I looked at the schedule and picked the week after the Las Vegas race," said Johnson. "The way I see it, I actually saved a week in the off season by taking this vacation now. During the winter, we'll be busy with research and development on our ACDelco Cobalt, but between the two races all of our equipment stayed on the West Coast.

"After all, you want to have everything ready for Las Vegas and Pomona, so you ship everything out there to make sure you're ready for any situation. Therefore, I took advantage of the slight break to take my wife to Maui for a well-deserved week of R&R."

However, even before he returned from the island paradise, KJ's thoughts returned to racing, reflecting on his season while setting his sights on this weekend's Auto Club of Southern California Finals, the final stop on the NHRA's POWERade Drag Racing circuit. Entering the season finale, Johnson holds a 103-point lead over his closest competitor, and although he seems poised to score the fourth championship runner-up finish of his career, his focus remains on cementing his second place standing and securing his fifth win of the year.

"Although we've had a good season, I think we could have benefited from being more consistent," opined Johnson. "To put it simply, when we were on, we were dead on, but when we were off, we were off. For example, our clutch program wasn't what we wanted in the beginning of the year, which hurt us. We finally worked it out, and started to run well through the middle of the season.

"Unfortunately, we stumbled a bit around Indy and Reading because we were testing to gain an advantage before coming back in the last few races. We've won some races and made it to some final rounds, but we also had a few early exits. You need to be good all year to make it all the way to the top.

"This weekend, our primary goal is to lock up second place. We're going in with full intentions of winning the race, and will do whatever it takes to get the job done, but, before anything else, we will focus on making sure we qualify."

Fortunately, confidence, which was already high on the ACDelco crew following their win in the Nevada desert, is bolstered even further by the site of the season-ending race, Pomona Raceway. With four wins and seven final rounds in his previous 25 appearances, Johnson certainly knows his way to the winner's circle in Southern California. It is a trip that he looks to make once again this weekend.

"We're coming in off a great win in Las Vegas, where our ACDelco Cobalt ran better than it has all year, going down the racetrack on every run, and I did my job behind the wheel,"said Johnson. "That, combined with our previous record in Pomona, has us excited heading into the race. We feel if we make good runs and qualify well, we should be in good shape.

"When you listen to that last national anthem of the year, you know it's going to be a while before you race again, so it's gets the hair on the back of your neck up. There's only one race, four elimination rounds left, and you want to win them all, and go out on a high note, which is exactly what we are planning to do this weekend."

-j2r-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Greg Anderson