Brainerd: Kurt Johnson preview

Johnson back in comfort zone at Brainerd International Raceway. With a victory at the Pro Stock Invitational in Woodburn, Ore., and a strong performance at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, Calif., Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Cavalier is...

Johnson back in comfort zone at Brainerd International Raceway.

With a victory at the Pro Stock Invitational in Woodburn, Ore., and a strong performance at the Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals in Sonoma, Calif., Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Cavalier is back on track. K.J. intends to use this weekend's Rugged Liner NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway as a launching pad for a late-season surge in the POWERade championship race.

Johnson grew up in Minnesota, and the series' annual visit to Brainerd is a homecoming for the 39-year-old professional racer. K.J. is a two-time winner at BIR: He defeated Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the final round in 2000 and defeated Jim Yates in the final round in 1997.

"We've done well in Brainerd before and we have a good notebook on the track," said Johnson. "I've won there twice in the last five years, and I think we have a shot at a third win this weekend.

"We learned at the last race that the car now has a much wider window with the changes we made," Kurt continued. "Solving the chassis problems gave me an opportunity to focus on the motor and fine tune the carburetors. We're making steady progress, but there is always room for improvement."

Johnson had some unexpected help on race day at the Fram-Autolite Nationals in Sonoma, Calif., when his father failed to qualify for the first time in 15 seasons. After his own struggles this season, Kurt was sympathetic to Warren's plight.

"Sunday morning is the worst when you wake up and you've got nothing to work on," he revealed. "Dad kept his streak alive when his back was up against the wall at other races, but this time he just wasn't able to pull it off. Even when you have the best equipment, years of experience and a good crew behind you, there is still that small element of luck involved in racing."

While racing luck is elusive, Johnson will have the advantages of a capable crew and a powerful ACDelco Cavalier when he returns to the land of his birth.

-wjr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson