Kurt Johnson, Camaro Z28 Win Second Pro Stock Title of '98 NHRA Season READING, Pa.; Sept. 20, 1998 -- Kurt Johnson, driving the AC Delco Camaro Z28 , won his and Camaro's second Pro Stock title of the year today, by defeating U.S.
Kurt Johnson, Camaro Z28 Win Second Pro Stock Title of '98 NHRA Season
READING, Pa.; Sept. 20, 1998 -- Kurt Johnson, driving the AC Delco Camaro Z28 , won his and Camaro's second Pro Stock title of the year today, by defeating U.S. Nationals titlist Mike Edwards in the final round of eliminations at the Pioneer Keystone Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, round 17 of the 22-event NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Johnson won with a 6.984-second elapsed time at 196.63 mph to Edwards' 7.034/195.86.
Kurt eliminated Robert Patrick, Troy Coughlin and Jeg Coughlin Jr. to reach the final. The 35-year-old resident of Lawrenceville, Ga., moved into second in Winston Championship points after ousting Jeg Coughlin Jr., his rival for that position, in the semifinals. Kurt is now 347 points behind his dad Warren (1469-1122), and 39 points ahead of Jeg Jr.
"The pressure really built up because after qualifying Jeg Jr. and I were dead tied for second place in the championship points," said Johnson, No. 2 qualifier and winner here also in 1993, his first season in Pro Stock competition. "The pressure kept building even after we won against Jeg Jr., because we had to face Mike Edwards in the final, and he just won the U.S. Nationals. And, when luck's going his way, he's hard to stop. It was quite a day."
No. 13 qualifier Edwards took off first at the starting line, but it was Kurt who was first at the finish, with a margin of victory of .035 of a second. "Mike did a heckuva job," said Kurt. "He went a .428 (reaction time) on the tree against me in the final. I was on all day. I had a .419 in the first round, then a .434, a .451 and a .443 in the final, so I think we had the car working a little better. "
Kurt switched to the Chevy Camaro Z28 this year and was the first to win for Chevrolet in 1998 in the Pro Stock category, at Madison, Ill. Two other Camaro Z28s are being campaigned in this category: Larry Morgan in the Raybestos Camaro Z28 (who was eliminated in the first round), and Tom Hammonds in the Winnebago/Matco Tools/Kendall Camaro Z28 (who did not qualify). "I'm just trying to do my job," commented Johnson. "Chevrolet put me in a good body style and things seem to have turned out for the better. It's going to make everyone who drives Camaros work harder. And I know eventually one of those guys will win a race. We will just do what we're doing and maybe some day we will have two Camaros in the final."
This was Kurt's and the Camaro's fourth final-round appearance this year, and the 24th of his career. He now has 12 career Pro Stock wins and 12 runner-up finishes. -end-