JOHNSON BUILDS A SOLID RECORD ON CONCRETE QUARTER-MILE Kurt Johnson can hear the clock ticking as the 2002 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series winds down. With three races remaining on the 23-event schedule, K.J. knows that time is running out as...
JOHNSON BUILDS A SOLID RECORD ON CONCRETE QUARTER-MILE
Kurt Johnson can hear the clock ticking as the 2002 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series winds down. With three races remaining on the 23-event schedule, K.J. knows that time is running out as the series goes to the all-concrete quarter-mile at the Texas Motorplex for the O'Reilly Fall National on Oct. 11-13.
Johnson has built a reputation for winning on the rock-hard drag strip near Dallas. He has competed 13 times in NHRA national event competition at the Texas Motorplex, scoring three victories in five final-round appearances. He won in 1993 over his father Warren, in 1995 over Robert Patrick, and in 2000 over Jeg Coughlin Jr. He was the No. 1 qualifier in 1997 and 2000.
"I can't wait to go to Dallas," Kurt declared after his semifinal finish in Chicago on Sept. 29. "I've had success there in the past, and with the way my ACDelco Cavalier is running, I think we can win at the Motorplex again."
The unique Texas track has the only all-concrete racing surface on the national tour. Its smooth surface offers abundant traction, but also demands respect.
"Some racers have problems there, but we've always been able to run right down the middle of the lane," said K.J. "All of my cars have been good there - Cutlasses, Firebirds, Camaros and Cavaliers. As long as the concrete is scraped and sprayed correctly, it's actually a better surface than most tracks. The Motorplex is a premier facility, and it's always a pleasure to race there."
K.J. has momentum on his side going into the O'Reilly Fall Nationals. Since August, he's climbed from 12th to sixth in the championship standings with a series semifinal-round finishes. The only man standing between Kurt and the winner's circle is his current nememis, points leader Jeg Coughlin Jr. Coughlin has won all five of the pair's races this season, including the last two matches in Memphis and Chicago.
"Jeg's got my number this year," K.J. said with a laugh. "I've had his number in the past, but this year I'm on the wrong side of the stats. It's just a matter of time until they balance out.
"Races that were once decided by hundredths of a second are now decided by thousandths," Kurt continued. "We only need a couple of thousandths to start turning on the win light in my lane, and I think we can find them in the dyno room before we leave for Dallas.
"With our performances in the last two months, the competition definitely knows we're back," Johnson added. "My confidence level is up, and I know that I can drive with the best of them on Sunday. The car is running well, and the ACDelco team is totally focused on making the right decisions. We're going to keep hammering away until that door to the winner's circle opens."