Brainerd Kurt Johnson, Camaro wins 2 in a row

PRO STOCK: KURT JOHNSON WINS TWO IN A ROW IN ACDELCO CAMARO KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, is on a late-season roll, winning his third of the four last Pro Stock events today, by defeating points leader Jeg Coughlin Jr. with a 6.986-second...


KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, is on a late-season roll, winning his third of the four last Pro Stock events today, by defeating points leader Jeg Coughlin Jr. with a 6.986-second pass at 196.59 mph to Jeg's 6.995/195.85. Kurt crossed the finish stripe just .007 of a second ahead of Jeg in a close match-up of title contenders. Kurt's victory moves him into second in Winston Championship point standings, holding a three-point margin over Ron Krisher.

This is Kurt's 18th career victory, his third this season, second consecutive, and the fourth for Camaro.

Kurt defeated his dad Warren in the first round with a 6.982/196.82 pass to his father's 7.017/196.44, then took care of Rickie Smith and Jim Yates before facing off with the six-time season race winner in the final round. With every round, Kurt improved his reaction time (4.92, .450, .441). Well aware that the Coughlin Brothers are some of the best launchers in the business, Kurt was on his toes in the final round, blasting off with his best reaction time of the day, a .431 against Jeg's .429. Although Jeg had the slightest edge, once again it was the legendary Johnson horsepower that gave Kurt the winning edge at the finish line.

KURT: ON RUNNING AGAINST JEG: "He's like a motorcycle driver, .420s, .430s, and a .413 (in reaction times). And he drove good all weekend. He's just been doing a phenomenal job as far as letting the clutch out, but he hasn't won the last five or six races. I knew he'd be tough. I knew we could run with him, and maybe even a little quicker than him. We were outrunning him the last one-eighth of a mile, which is strictly horsepower, and we just weren't running as quick as him in the first one-eighth of a mile. If we could get the car working the first one-eighth of a mile we knew we could outrun him to the finish line. We picked up two hundredths of a second and he lost one hundredth in overall performance." WHAT WERE YOU THINKING WHEN YOU WENT UP TO THE LINE IN THE FINAL ROUND? "I'd better rise to the occasion. I started out in the .490s against Dad; it's hard to get pumped up to run against him. It was close, only nine thousandths (of a second) at the finish line. Then I ran Rickie, he was tough, with a .450, then beat Yates with a .441 (reaction time). I continued to pick up on reaction times and kept getting better. The Camaro ran consistently today. It ran 6.90s all day long. It makes it easier to drive when the car is consistent." WAS ANY ONE RUN TOUGHER THAN THE OTHER? "Actually, they were all tough. The final was the toughest, especially when you are running the No. 1 guy in points. He had lane choice, he was quicker than I was in the semis, actually all day long. The crew rose to the occasion. We changed the suspension around before the final. We knew we had to pick up. We made a calculated guess based on our tune-ups from Columbus and St. Louis, setups that were similar. We looked at our notes from those races and it worked out good."


1.  Jeg Coughlin Jr., Olds Cutlass (6)      1290
2.  Kurt Johnson, Chevy Camaro  (3)         1010
3.  Ron Krisher, Pontiac Firebird  (2)      1007
4.  Warren Johnson, Pontiac Firebird (1)     927
5.  Troy Coughlin, Olds Cutlass              805


JIM EPLER, WWF RACING 'BIG RED MACHINE' CAMARO Z28, was going for his fourth overall Funny Car victory today and his second of the season (he won in Las Vegas) in only the fifth final-round Epler vs. Force match-up in their careers. Epler defeated SCOTTY CANNON, MAD SCIENTIST CAMARO Z28 in the first round, then dismissed his other Chevrolet teammate, RON CAPPS, in the U.S. TOBACCO CO. CAMARO Z28, in the second round, and disposed of Dean Skuza in the semifinal round.

In a Chevy-vs.-Ford, Camaro-vs.-Mustang final, Epler lost traction early on, while Force rocketed to the finish with a 4.935-second elapsed time at 309.34 mph to Epler's 8.889/91.75. Reaction times: .512 for Epler; .480 for Force.

EPLER: "I don't really know what happened. It shook and we haven't figured it out yet. The main thing was we were in the final. We really wanted to take out Force; he's making too much headway on (Jerry) Toliver (Epler's WWF Racing teammate) in points. We will go to Indy and test and come back stronger than ever. We had a good car, the Camaro worked perfectly. HE HAD YOU ON THE STARTING LINE: "I couldn't hold it when I was staging and it kept rolling. I thought I was going to red-light. I was a little late, because I was more worried about the car rolling through the beams. He had a good light and we just went and shook real early. We have to find out why I couldn't hold it."


1.    John Force, Ford Mustang (8)                          1285
2.    Jerry Toliver, Camaro (2), Firebird (1)               1125
3.    Tony Pedregon, Ford Mustang                            975
4.    Ron Capps, Chevy Camaro                                939
5.    Jim Epler, Chevy Camaro                                865

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Ron Capps , John Force , Ron Krisher , Rickie Smith , Jerry Toliver