Pomona: Kurt Johnson wins

POMONA, Calif., Feb. 4, 2001 - One race does not a season make, but Kurt Johnson firmly established his new ACDelco Cavalier as a frontrunner for the 2001 Winston Pro Stock championship with a dominant performance today at the season-opening ...

POMONA, Calif., Feb. 4, 2001 - One race does not a season make, but Kurt Johnson firmly established his new ACDelco Cavalier as a frontrunner for the 2001 Winston Pro Stock championship with a dominant performance today at the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals. Kurt Johnson and his ACDelco teammates celebrated in the NHRA winner's circle for the third race in a row after K.J. defeated Darrell Alderman in the final round, 6.912/200.44 mph to 6.936/200.41.

"The margin was 17 thousandths of a second at the finish line, and he was right on my bumper," said Johnson. "When I staged, the sun was in my eyes, but I pulled off a .450 reaction time, my best light of the day. It was perfect!"

After winning the last two races in 2000, Kurt kicked off the new season with his 22nd career victory and his third career win at Pomona Raceway. Johnson's aerodynamic Cavalier topped 200 mph on eight straight runs, setting the track speed record at 202.18 mph.

"We're exceptionally happy about the new car," said Kurt. "My hat's off to GM for putting this project together. You never know what to expect out of a brand-new car, especially when the track conditions start changing like they did today. My hat's off to my team, Jeff Perley and Joe Caudle, for making the right decisions."

Johnson dispatched new Dodge Boy Mark Osborne in the first round, 6.887 to 6.954, and defeated Mike Edwards in the second round, 6.895 to 6.918. Kurt recorded a 6.884, the quickest e.t. in eliminations, in the semi-final round en route to a crucial victory over No. 1 qualifier Bruce Allen.

"This season is going to be the toughest ever," Johnson predicted. "Whoever works the hardest is going to be ahead when we come back here in November."

Johnson will be aiming for his fourth straight victory when the Winston Drag Racing Series resumes in Phoenix on February 15-18 at the Checker-Schuck's-Kragen Nationals.

<pre> KURT JOHNSON RACE RESULTS:

Qualifying: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 5 at 6.866/201.88.

Eliminations: First Round: Kurt Johnson (6.887/200.65) defeated Mark Osborne (6.954/199.70)

Second Round: Kurt Johnson (6.895/200.56)) defeated Mike Edwards (6.918/199.61)

Semi-Final: Kurt Johnson (6.884/200.83) defeated Bruce Allen (6.931/199.70)

Final Round: Kurt Johnson (6.912/200.44) defeated Darrell Alderman (6.936/200.41)

Low ET: Bruce Allen, 6.828 seconds (track record) Top Speed: Kurt Johnson, 202.18 mph (track record)

POINTS RACE: (After 1 of 24 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Kurt Johnson 1 114 2. Darrell Alderman 0 94 3. Bruce Allen 0 78 4. Warren Johnson 0 77 5. Mike Edwards 0 55

NEXT RACE: Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals, Feb. 15-18, Phoenix TV: ESPN, Feb. 18, 2 - 3 p.m. and ESPN2 6 - 8 p.m. (ET)

-Rick Voegelin

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Series NHRA
Drivers Darrell Alderman , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Bruce Allen , Mike Edwards