Baytown: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ Determined to Start His Excavation Project in Houston Johnson & crew look to return ACDelco Cobalt to winner's circle Sugar Hill, Ga., March 29, 2006 - Kurt Johnson and his ACDelco Cobalt Racing team find themselves in unfamiliar territory...

KJ Determined to Start His Excavation Project in Houston
Johnson & crew look to return ACDelco Cobalt to winner's circle

Sugar Hill, Ga., March 29, 2006 - Kurt Johnson and his ACDelco Cobalt Racing team find themselves in unfamiliar territory entering this weekend's O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, TX. After struggling to establish the consistency necessary to contend in the first three races of the 2006 NHRA season, they arrive in the Lone Star State outside the top ten in the POWERade championship standings. However, even though he faces the somewhat daunting task of having to claw his way back into contention in one of the most competitive divisions in all of motorsports, Johnson's outlook remains unchanged, with his sights set squarely on returning to the winning form for which he is so well known.

"I've never been one to use revisionist history, so we're not going to dwell on the first three races," stated Johnson. "It certainly wasn't the start we wanted, but we can't change what has already happened, so this ACDelco Cobalt crew is simply going to focus on what lies ahead. After all, it's a lot more productive to look out the windshield instead of constantly checking the rear view mirror."

Naturally, the first step Johnson and his talented crew must take involves their race car. Although horsepower is clearly not an issue, as evidenced by their impressive top speeds in the first three races, they must transfer this strength more effectively to the race track. A crucial element in a productive quarter-mile run lies in the car's performance in the first 330 feet, and is the area in which the second-generation racer has concentrated his efforts over the last few weeks. However, instead of using a new and untried approach, K.J. is banking on a proven set-up with which he won two races and advanced to four consecutive final rounds one year ago.

"I'm confident in the package we have assembled with this ACDelco Cobalt team," said Johnson. "We have all the right parts necessary to go rounds and get ourselves back in the fight -- we just have to make sure to put the right pegs in the proper holes.

"In the first three races, we were more aggressive and made several major changes, which ended up hampering our ability to make adjustments. Starting with this weekend, we are going to return to a set-up similar to what we used so effectively last summer, trying to regain our consistency and start going rounds. It's going to take some work, but we will get this program turned around.

Another seeming ally in Johnson's corner is his record at Houston Raceway Park, site of this weekend's event. With two wins in three final round appearances, as well as a string of strong starting positions, the Baytown quarter-mile could be the perfect prescription for Johnson to start his comeback.

"It takes a good deal of chassis management to negotiate the racetrack at Houston Raceway Park," said Johnson. "The surface isn't getting any younger, and it's not aging gracefully, either. We will have to keep our eye on it throughout the weekend so we know what changes to make in order to keep going down it smoothly. We did that in 2003, making major adjustments after qualifying and ended up winning the race. We'll rely on those notes, and some from other years, to help guide us on what is a very tricky surface. Besides we've given everyone else enough of a head start. It's about time this ACDelco Cobalt crew got our season started."

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson