Richmond: Kurt Johnson preview

Short Week Has KJ Scrambling to be Ready for Richmond ACDelco Cobalt crew works overtime to restore car to race readiness Sugar Hill, Ga., October 5, 2006 -- The upcoming Torco Racing Fuels Nationals in Richmond, VA will complete a grueling...

Short Week Has KJ Scrambling to be Ready for Richmond
ACDelco Cobalt crew works overtime to restore car to race readiness

Sugar Hill, Ga., October 5, 2006 -- The upcoming Torco Racing Fuels Nationals in Richmond, VA will complete a grueling period that, due to the rainout in Reading, has seen competitors in the POWERade Drag Racing season racing on four consecutive weekends. This compressed schedule has severely tested the teams, who have time to do little more than normal between-race maintenance.

Following their off-track excursion during qualifying in Reading a week ago, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team were faced with the additional task of fixing their damaged race car. Even though they had performed preliminary repairs throughout the course of the Pennsylvania weekend that allowed them to complete the race with a solid quarterfinal finish, Johnson acknowledged further work would be required in order to challenge for the win in Virginia. However, without enough time to complete the job, an interim game plan was enacted.

"With only three days between events, there's no time to mount a new front end or install a new rocker panel, which is only part of getting it back to 100%," detailed Johnson. "Fortunately, our ACDelco Cobalt was able to run over 207 mph with only basic repairs, so we know it's functional. Kevin (crew chief Horst) stayed behind in Pennsylvania to work with guys who put the nose back together on Friday to work on the body. They'll massage the different bits and pieces, fluffing and buffing so we'll be ready for the race in Richmond. We'll have the new pieces installed after this race, since there will be time to do it right.

"At the same time, we'll be at the shop working on our engines. We have to take apart the motor that was in the car when we had the accident to make sure it didn't swallow any gravel, and dyno our backup to get as much out of it as we can.

"The only way to consistently win races is to have everything in perfect condition, so we'll do the best with what we have to work with for this weekend and then focus on completing the repairs in time for Las Vegas. I guess we'll put a little Neosporin on it to try and get it to heal quicker."

This weekend, the straight-line set returns to a track they have not visited in six years. Located in the Richmond suburb of Dinwiddie, Virginia Motorsports Park has had its racing surface refurbished since the NHRA last visited in 2000. In that time, there have also been tremendous advances in the technology of the Pro Stock car, resulting in the racers having to deal with an entirely new combination. Therefore, the team who best adapts to the conditions will have the best chance of success on Sunday.

"I've talked to some of the teams that tested in Richmond, and they've said the track is extremely coarse on the starting line," said Johnson. "However, we know the track preparation will be different for a national event, which will play a significant role. In any case, it's going to be the same for everyone, so we'll just have to adapt to what we find when we get there.

"We're certainly not concerned about the weekend. We know our ACDelco Cobalt is still good. We have a few issues that we'll try to address, and we should be in good shape. It will be good to go back to Richmond. They always pack the stands, and the fans up there really get into Pro Stock. We'll do our best to put on a great show, and show them what they've been missing."

Quick Notes on Kurt Johnson & the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entering The Inaugural Torco Racing Fuels Nationals:

Richmond is on KJ's To Do List: This will be KJ's seventh career appearance at Virginia Motorsports Park, where he has one final round appearance wins in 1997 and a 10-6 elimination round record for a .625 win percentage. VMP is one of only four tracks on the POWERade Drag Racing circuit where KJ has yet to win.

KJ's Richmond Qualifying Stats: In his six previous career starts at Virginia Motorsports Park, Kurt has one No. 1 qualifying performance in 1999, five starts in the top half of the field, and an average starting position of 4.67.

Track Record Holder: Kurt holds the Virginia Motorsports Park Pro Stock elapsed time record with his 6.840-second clocking from April 1999.

-credit: j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson