Kurt Johnson Looks for a Clutch Performance in Houston ACDelco Team Aims for Third HRP Win at O'Reilly Spring Nationals Sugar Hill, Ga., April 4, 2005 -- In the first three races of the 2005 NHRA season, Kurt Johnson and his team have had a...
Kurt Johnson Looks for a Clutch Performance in Houston
ACDelco Team Aims for Third HRP Win at O'Reilly Spring Nationals
Sugar Hill, Ga., April 4, 2005 -- In the first three races of the 2005 NHRA season, Kurt Johnson and his team have had a handle on the larger aspects of their racing operation. The DRCE III V-8 engine under the hood of their ACDelco Cavalier has produced plenty of horsepower, the car has been making good, straight runs, and Johnson has done a good job of driving. As a result, they have qualified in the top five at every race, and established career bests in elapsed time and top speed.
However, a series of smaller issues have so far combined to keep the blue, white and red crew out of the winner's circle, a situation that Johnson looks to rectify this weekend at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, TX.
"The good news is that our ACDelco Cavalier has been competitive in the first three races," stated Johnson. "The bad news is that for one reason or another we have yet to translate that into success on race day. Therefore, we've been working to straighten out several areas on our race car to improve our performance even further.
"For example, we need to make our clutch package perform more consistently. In addition, we had a problem with a shock in Gainesville where a small piece of rubber got stuck underneath a check valve. We felt as though we could have won all three races, but for one reason or another, it didn't happen. We need to have the total package, so we're going to test the week before the race and have everything ready by the time we arrive in Texas."
Despite the trials and tribulations, this close-knit team has kept matters in perspective, and comes to Baytown with a good outlook. Adding to their positive perspective is their record of success at Houston Raceway Park, site of this weekend's race.
"When you qualify as well as we have, you expect to at least reach the semi-finals," detailed Johnson. "We're certainly not happy with early exits, but we recognize that it's a part of racing, and the cycle will swing back around in our favor. Therefore, instead of focusing on the negative, we simply put it behind us and concentrate on getting the job done at the next race.
"Fortunately, this weekend we're racing on a track where we've experienced some success in the past. With the right conditions, Houston Raceway Park can be extremely fast. The starting line is pretty good, and since they run the Pro Stock Super Bowl there, they obviously know how to groom the track for a Pro Stock car.
"But, as always, it starts with Mother Nature. If it's cool and dry, the potential is there for some very quick times. We'll just have to see what greets us when we pull in to the track, and adjust our ACDelco Cavalier accordingly. We've won there before, and have a good notebook to work from, so we're pretty confident heading into Houston."
Notes on Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cavalier Racing team entering
The O'Reilly Spring Nationals:
* KJ Knows How to Win in Baytown: This will be KJ's 17th appearance at Houston Raceway Park. In his 16 previous starts, he has two wins in 1999 & 2003 in three final round appearances and a 24-14 elimination round record for a .632 win percentage.
* Kurt Starts Up Front at HRP: In his 16 prior starts in Baytown, Kurt has been the No. 1 qualifier twice at the 1998 and 2000 fall races. In addition, he has only three starts outside the top half of the field and an average starting position of 5.06.
* One year ago: Kurt qualified fifth with an elapsed time of 6.749 seconds and advanced to the quarter-finals.
* Most recent Houston win: 2003, when he qualified second and defeated Terry Adams, Ron Krisher, Jim Yates and Scott Geoffrion en route to the 25th win of his career.