Reading: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ is Ready to Double Up in Reading ACDelco Cobalt crew targets back-to-back wins Sugar Hill, Ga., August 13, 2008 -- Less than a week after claiming his 39th career victory in Brainerd, MN, ACDelco Cobalt racer Kurt Johnson will be back on...

KJ is Ready to Double Up in Reading
ACDelco Cobalt crew targets back-to-back wins

Sugar Hill, Ga., August 13, 2008 -- Less than a week after claiming his 39th career victory in Brainerd, MN, ACDelco Cobalt racer Kurt Johnson will be back on the track in Reading, PA, tackling another tough Pro Stock field at the Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals. With two thirds of the 2008 campaign in the books, it has been a productive season for the blue crew, with three wins in four final round appearances, a constant presence at or near the top of the points standings, and a secured position in the Countdown to One championship playoff.

However, as the straight-line set heads to southeastern Pennsylvania, Johnson knows there is still plenty of work to be done, starting with scoring consecutive wins for the fifth time in his career and reclaiming the top spot on the Pro Stock leaderboard.

"The entire ACDelco Cobalt crew is pumped up heading to Reading," said Johnson. "We're looking to pick up right where we left off in Brainerd. It's always good to have a shot at back-to-back wins, because it means you've already made it to the winner's circle. We've already had two shots at it this year and each we've come up a bit shy. It's certainly not going to be easy, but we have a really fast hot rod right now, and with everyone on the team doing their jobs, I like our chances for doubling up."

Further fueling Johnson's optimistic attitude is his record at Maple Grove Raceway, site of this weekend's event. From his very first experience at the Berks County quarter-mile in 1993, when he qualified second and defeated his father Warren Johnson in the final round for his second NHRA national event win, KJ has been a solid performer in the Keystone State. Even when dealt a seemingly staggering blow at the 'Grove, the team has responded.

For example, in 2006 a parachute failure sent KJ hurtling off the top end of the track, requiring substantial repairs prior to final eliminations. Undaunted, the Johnson-led crew worked tirelessly to make it to the line in time for the first round, coming back to record a competitive quarter-final finish. With such history in their favor, they are quietly confident about a return trip to the Reading winner's circle.

"Historically, the ACDelco crew has had some great performances at Maple Grove," said Johnson. "There have been a couple of times where we had to do more work that we wanted, but even then, things have worked out fairly well. As long as we stay out of the sand, and the rain stays away, we should be fine.

"We're excited to go to Reading. It's a good place to race, with a decent track, and it's surrounded by all those trees that help these 500 cubic-inch engines breathe and create that distinctive echo every time a car makes a run.

"The best thing, however, is how enthusiastic the fans are about Pro Stock. They're excited to see these naturally-aspirated, gas-burning monsters fly down the quarter-mile side by side, and we really enjoy putting on a show for them. Hopefully, we can reward them by staying headed in the right direction, qualifying well, going four rounds so we can keep working on regaining the top spot. That's our goal."

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson