Topeka: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ Pursues Perfection in Topeka ACDelco Cobalt racer looks to add Heartland Park Topeka win to his resume Sugar Hill, Ga., May 28, 2008 -- By all accounts, Kurt Johnson's pursuit of the 2008 POWERade Pro Stock championship has gotten off to a...

KJ Pursues Perfection in Topeka
ACDelco Cobalt racer looks to add Heartland Park Topeka win to his resume

Sugar Hill, Ga., May 28, 2008 -- By all accounts, Kurt Johnson's pursuit of the 2008 POWERade Pro Stock championship has gotten off to a strong start. With a third of the season in the record books, the ACDelco Cobalt pilot is among the leaders in motorsport's most competitive category, with a win in Madison and runner-up finish in Houston helping to place him third in the points standings less than one round of competition out of the lead.

Although most competitors would be thrilled with this early-season showing, Johnson admits he has set his sights higher. Therefore, the likeable racer heads to Topeka, KS for this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals determined to further improve his performance. However, facing another tightly-packed Pro Stock field, he knows that to attain his goal the entire team's effort must be error-free.

"The good news is that our ACDelco Cobalt's performance level is up, which gives us a better chance to win" said Johnson. "However, this category is so close, so tough that you have to have the whole package. From picking the right lane to run in, to making the proper calls on the tune-up you have got to be perfect if you want to win on Sunday.

"If that alone isn't hard enough, with the weather we've had at the last few races, the track has been changing from minute-to-minute, and if you didn't keep up, it would bite you. The good news is that no one in Pro Stock has been consistently perfect, which explains the seven different race winners in the first eight races. We're pleased by our performance so far this season, but we're heading to Topeka looking to be better than perfect, so we have our work cut out for us."

If the challenges of besting their competition and scoring their second win of the season were not enough, the red, white and blue crew will have added incentive in the location of this weekend's race. Heartland Park Topeka is one of only five tracks on the NHRA national event schedule where Johnson has yet to reach the winner's circle. However, with three final round appearances in the last five years, the second-generation racer is quietly optimistic about his chances of finally adding a Sunflower State "Wally" to his trophy case.

"It would certainly be nice to win one in Topeka," said Johnson. "I've turned on my share of win lights there in my career, but never been the last car standing on Sunday night, so we have a little added motivation heading into this weekend.

"With every race, we keep learning what our ACDelco Cobalt needs to run, which helps us adapt to different conditions. Therefore, we're going into Kansas looking to do what we think is right with the tune-up, without being over-confident on what will work. That attitude took us all the way to the winner's circle in Madison, and we're hoping it brings more of the same in Topeka."

-credit: j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson