Columbus: Kurt Johnson preview

Johnson is rootin' and diggin' for Columbus victory. COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Kurt Johnson drove eight miles last week preparing for this weekend's Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing. By stock car standards, eight miles is just a...

Johnson is rootin' and diggin' for Columbus victory.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Kurt Johnson drove eight miles last week preparing for this weekend's Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing. By stock car standards, eight miles is just a warm-up -- but for a Pro Stock drag racer, 32 quarter-mile passes in two days is a serious workout.

Johnson conducted a marathon tire test last week at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga. Then after returning to his top-secret shop in Sugar Hill, Ga., K.J. concentrated on research and development for several promising new engine projects.

"We're in full R&D mode -- that's rootin' and diggin'," said Johnson. "I made 32 runs last week in my ACDelco Cavalier and in Mark Whisnant's car. It was 90 degrees at the track, and I was jumping from one car to the other. After two days of that, I was beat."

The hard work paid off when Kurt's Cavalier ran some exceptional times under extremely adverse conditions.

"We pulled our new race motor off the dyno, bolted it in the car, and ran 6.93," K.J. reported. "I think we have something that will pick up our performance in Columbus."

That is just what the doctor ordered. Kurt is coming off a tough three-week road trip that produced only a single round win and one DNQ.

"I think we're back on track now," he commented. "The car ran well in Chicago and in last week's test. We haven't had to change the suspension in the last two outings, which has allowed us to concentrate on the clutch setup and gear ratios.

"It's not easy for anyone in Pro Stock these days," Kurt continued. "You see drivers win one week and then not qualify the next week. It's been up and down for everyone."

Kurt notched a runner-up finish to his father in his first appearance at National Trail Raceway in 1993. Since then he's struggled on the venerable Ohio quarter-mile, recording a string of first- and second-round losses.

"The track has aged over the last few years and it's a little rough," he noted. "It's a matter of adapting the car to the race track to get from second gear to the finish line. I'm optimistic. We'll get our report card in the qualifying sessions on Friday."

-wjr-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Mark Whisnant