Kurt Johnson is Ready to Repeat his Rookie Performance in Reading ACDelco crew targets return appearance in Maple Grove winner's circle SUGAR HILL, GA., September 10, 2003 - One cannot really fault Kurt Johnson for taking an immediate liking to...
Kurt Johnson is Ready to Repeat his Rookie Performance in Reading ACDelco crew targets return appearance in Maple Grove winner's circle
SUGAR HILL, GA., September 10, 2003 - One cannot really fault Kurt Johnson for taking an immediate liking to Maple Grove Raceway. After all, in his first competitive experience at the Pennsylvania quarter-mile in 1993, the soon-to-be-crowned NHRA Rookie of the Year qualified second and powered through a veteran field, punctuating his performance by defeating his father (and defending Pro Stock champion) Warren Johnson in the final to score the second national event win of his career.
Ten years later, Johnson and his ACDelco Cavalier Racing team return to Reading for this weekend's Lucas Oil Nationals, firmly entrenched as one of the standouts in the ultra competitive Pro Stock division. Among their many accomplishments are two additional wins and an impressive 17-6 elimination round record at Maple Grove.
"I really can't pinpoint the reason for our success in Reading," said Johnson. "We attack every race track the same, but our combination seems particularly well suited to the conditions there. Naturally, you have the best opportunity to win when you're performing well, and our ACDelco Cavalier has historically been at its best at Maple Grove Raceway."
As Johnson arrives in the Keystone State for this weekend's race, he remains in prime contention for this year's POWERade championship. Even though with only six races left in the 2003 season, the opportunities to make up ground may be diminishing, the game plan never changes, as the ACDelco crew stays focused on the next run down the track.
"At this point in the season, it's actually counterproductive to be worrying about the championship," stated Johnson. "Therefore, we are going to try our best and see what happens, just as we've done all season. We don't have a crystal ball to tell us what to do, so we'll take it one run at a time, trying to make good decisions and keep performing at the level we're capable of.
"Fortunately, we have good notes for the track at Maple Grove, which will give us a starting point to tune from, and our ACDelco Cavalier has been responding well to any adjustments we make. It may be a different track in another state, but the goal remains the same - to leave with more points than anyone else. We've come close at the last two races - it's our job to make sure we complete the picture this weekend in Reading."
Facts on Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Racing Team entering The Lucas Oil Nationals:
Kurt knows how to maneuver in Maple Grove: This will be Kurt's eleventh appearance at Maple Grove Raceway, where he has three wins (in 1993, 1998 & 2000) in three final round appearances. In his ten previous starts, he has compiled a 17-6 elimination round record, for a .739 winning percentage.
KJ's Qualifying Record in Reading: KJ has qualified in the top half of the field in six of his previous 10 attempts in Indianapolis, with an overall average of 3.4.
One year ago: Kurt qualified second at Maple Grove with an elapsed time of 6.826 seconds and a top speed of 201.85 mph, and advanced to the semi-finals.
Career year: Kurt stands to set several personal single-season marks in 2003. His eight final round appearances eclipse his previous best of seven, set in 1993 & 1997, and with two more elimination round wins, he will set a new single season high, breaking his previous record of 41 set in 2000. Kurt is also within reach of his best single season win total of six, also set in 2000.
POWERade Points standings: After the seventeenth of 23 events, Kurt sits second in the 2003 POWERade Championship standings with 1394 points, 176 behind current leader Greg Anderson, and 260 ahead of Jeg Coughlin, who is in third. Kurt finished sixth in 2002, his tenth consecutive Top 10 finish.
Winning percentage: Kurt's .643 elimination round winning percentage (338-188) ranks 11th among all active NHRA professional drivers.
Career best elapsed time: 6.716 seconds, Englishtown, NJ, 2003
Career best top speed: 206.61 mph, Englishtown, NJ, 2003