Baytown: Streak continues; Johnson moves on

BAYTOWN, Texas - Each season NHRA Pro Stock driver Kurt Johnson looks forward to continuing at least one tradition. Johnson has won at least one national event in all but one of his 11 seasons as a professional driver. Coming into the 2003...

BAYTOWN, Texas - Each season NHRA Pro Stock driver Kurt Johnson looks forward to continuing at least one tradition. Johnson has won at least one national event in all but one of his 11 seasons as a professional driver.

Coming into the 2003 season, Johnson had won at least one race in the last eight consecutive seasons. Last year, however, the streak nearly ended. Johnson won the final event of the season, pushing the number to eight.

Johnson already increased the streak to nine, winning early in the 2003 season. Johnson picked up the victory in Gainesville, Fla., in mid-March for his 24th career win. He also snagged a runner-up finish in Las Vegas on April 6.

"It was great to win in Gainesville because that is a victory that every racer wants on his or her resume," Johnson said. "Besides that, the competition is so tight in Pro Stock that in order to win, you have to beat an all-star field.

"It is nice to get that first win early and put any talk about extending our streak to bed. I know it was pretty hard on the entire ACDelco crew going into that last race in Pomona (Calif.) last year knowing we had just one last chance to keep that streak going. It's something we are all proud of and I am glad it is out of the way this season. Now we can focus on winning more than one race."

Johnson is aiming to score another victory when he drives his ACDelco Chevy Cavalier up to the line during the 16th annual O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park, April 10-13. The $1.9 million race is the fifth of 23 events in the $50 million NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

The race, just outside of Houston, is the second of three races in April and the first time the pro teams have to be prepared for more than one race before they hit the road.

"The O'Reilly Spring Nationals will be the first time we have to race on back-to-back weekends this year," Johnson said. "So we are going to have to be prepared before we head west. Everything from our ACDelco Cavalier and our race engines to the supplies on the transporter will need to be checked and double-checked to make sure we're ready."

After the first four events of the season, Johnson finds himself in the No. 2 spot in the Pro Stock point standings, 63 points behind Greg Anderson. The highest position in the points Johnson earned last season was fourth place.

Johnson finished in the runner-up spot at the Spring Nationals last season, finishing second to Mike Edwards.

"If the conditions are right, Houston Raceway Park can produce national record runs," Johnson said. "So we are going to have to be on top of our game from the moment we unload. Naturally our first priority will be the get our car solidly in the show. Once we do that, we'll turn our attention on final eliminations. Our goal for Sunday is to improve on our runner-up finish from last season."

-nhra-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Mike Edwards