It will be business as usual for Kurt Johnson in Brainerd ACDelco Cavalier crew defers title concerns to focus on winning Lucas Oil Nationals SUGAR HILL, GA., August 11, 2003 - With the 2003 NHRA POWERade season entering its final eight races,...
It will be business as usual for Kurt Johnson in Brainerd
ACDelco Cavalier crew defers title concerns to focus on winning Lucas Oil Nationals
SUGAR HILL, GA., August 11, 2003 - With the 2003 NHRA POWERade season entering its final eight races, much of the concern in the pit area has turned towards the championship races. In each of the four professional classes, the door remains open for one of several challengers to claim the title. However, as the amount of events remaining diminishes, so does the number of title contenders.
Sitting firmly in second place in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock division, ACDelco Cavalier pilot Kurt Johnson is clearly in a 200-mph dogfight for the championship. Naturally, he keeps close tabs on the points standings, and is fully aware of the need to maximize every opportunity. Even so, entering this weekend's Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, MN, Johnson prefers to maintain the same course he has taken to this point, focusing on winning the event at hand, and letting the points take care of themselves.
"The POWERade championship is certainly our ultimate goal, and with only eight races left, there are only so many points available," stated Johnson. "However, this team's focus is the same as it was going into the first race of the season in Pomona, namely avoiding mistakes and trying to win every race we enter."
"At this weekend's race in Brainerd, we'll concentrate once again on ending the day with our ACDelco Cavalier in the winner's circle. If we win, we'll score more points than anyone else, and after all, that's the bottom line in the chase for the title."
Johnson is well versed in succeeding at Brainerd International Raceway, having scored two wins in his previous 10 appearances. However, this year's race takes on an added challenge, as the racing surface has been completely reworked since the straight-line set last visited the Minnesota resort area a year ago.
"I have been going to races at Brainerd International Raceway since I was five years old," stated Johnson. "However, the only advantages I have as a Minnesota native coming into this race is the support of the crowd and knowing the way to the track."
"I am excited by the news of the improved racing surface at BIR. From what I hear, it's supposedly to be very flat. But the track's texture will remain a question mark until we see it in person. If it's too fine, it won't hold the rubber, while if it's too coarse, we won't have enough contact area."
"Either way, it will be the same for everybody, and it's our job to adjust to it better than our competitors. The ACDelco crew has been putting in some long hours since we got back from Sonoma to find some more steam so we can put some pressure on the guy leading the points. Hopefully, their hard work will pay off this weekend in Brainerd."
Facts on Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Racing Team entering the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals:
Kurt comes up big in Brainerd: This will be Kurt's eleventh appearance at Brainerd International Raceway, where he has two wins (in 1997 & 2000) in two final round appearances. In his ten previous starts, he has compiled an 18-8 elimination round record, for a .692 winning percentage.
KJ's Qualifying Record in Brainerd: KJ has qualified in the top half of the field in eight of his previous 10 attempts, with a best effort of second (three times in 1997, 1999 & 2000) and an overall average of 4.6.
One year ago: Kurt qualified third in Brainerd with an elapsed time of 6.887 seconds and a top speed of 199.67 mph, and advanced to the semifinals.
Traveling in Elite Company: Kurt's 27 national event victories tie him with Cory McClenethan for 15th on the all-time NHRA professional win list, and give him sole possession of fifth in the Pro Stock Career Victories, breaking a tie with legendary Pro Stock driver Lee Shepherd. Kurt's most recent win came at the Lucas Oil NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, IL.
POWERade Points standings: After the fifteenth of 23 events, Kurt sits second in the 2003 POWERade Championship standings with 1198 points, 139 behind current leader Greg Anderson, and 216 ahead of Jeg Coughlin, who is in third. Kurt finished sixth in 2002, his tenth consecutive Top 10 finish.
Winning percentage: Kurt's .641 elimination round winning percentage (330-185) ranks 11th among all active NHRA professional drivers.
Career best elapsed time: 6.716 seconds, Englishtown, NJ, 2003
Career best top speed: 206.61 mph, Englishtown, NJ, 2003