Dallas: Kurt Johnson preview

Given a Good Lane, KJ is Determined to Deliver in Dallas ACDelco Cobalt Crew hopes concrete quarter-mile yields competitive lanes Sugar Hill, Ga., September 19, 2007 -- There is one aspect of competition in the POWERade Drag Racing Series...

Given a Good Lane, KJ is Determined to Deliver in Dallas
ACDelco Cobalt Crew hopes concrete quarter-mile yields competitive lanes

Sugar Hill, Ga., September 19, 2007 -- There is one aspect of competition in the POWERade Drag Racing Series over which racers have very little control, and despite the NHRA's efforts to the contrary, it often plays a determining role in the outcome events. Throughout the course of the year, this solitary item can be the subject of numerous heated debates, with its performance scrutinized at every race. Naturally, this controversial and elusive item is the simple ability to choose the lane in which one competes.

In fact, although it seems unlikely that lane choice would carry such importance, recent events and comments by drivers in all categories have shown otherwise. Therefore, coming into this weekend's O'Reilly Fall Nationals in Dallas, TX, ACDelco Cobalt racer Kurt Johnson is naturally hoping to gain and keep this valuable asset for as long as possible as he pursues his second win of the season..

"The difference between the cars and the competition in Pro Stock has gotten so close that you want every advantage you can get, so you certainly want to have lane choice," said Johnson. "However, it's not as simple as it sounds, because the track can change depending on the weather or the number of oil downs on any given day. It's also not a guarantee for success, as we showed last weekend in Memphis.

"We had lane choice for the first round and chose the left side, which had been the quicker of the two throughout the weekend. For some reason, our car didn't seem to like it, and it cost us. Still, as any racer will tell you, being able to choose your lane on Sunday can be a key to whether you win or lose, and this ACDelco Cobalt crew is determined to get it and keep it all day long in Dallas."

Under the new POWERade championship format, this year's event takes on added meaning, as it is the penultimate event in the first round of the NHRA playoffs, the Countdown to Four. With only two more chances to secure his position in the final stage of this year's title fight, Johnson is leaving no stone unturned in his pursuit of victory, as evidenced by his testing on Monday following the Memphis race, despite having only a few days before this weekend's race at the Texas Motorplex.

"For a variety of reasons, we really haven't had a chance to test since just after the Atlanta race in April," said Johnson. "With so much at stake in these last few races, it was something we needed to do before heading over to Dallas. We wanted to see how our ACDelco Cobalt would perform under a variety of conditions, as well as trying a few new pieces to see if they could help pick up our performance."

This weekend, the teams will facing the unique challenge of the all-concrete surface at the Texas Motorplex. With two wins in three final round appearances, as well as a strong overall elimination round record, it ranks high on Kurt's list of favorite places to race, and he looks forward to returning to the Lone Star state.

"We enjoy going to the Texas Motorplex," said Johnson. "It's the first all-concrete racing surface, and we've been going there for about 21 years, and I like racing there. It's smooth, it's flat and as long as they have it prepped properly, it should be good. We've been there in both hot and cold conditions, won there a couple times and felt like we let one slip away from us a year ago, slowing down in the semi-finals.

"This year, however, we're going to make sure to pay attention to all the details, learning from our mistakes from last week, as well as last year, seeing what we can do to advance our ACDelco Cobalt. It's going to take a perfect effort over the next two races to be in the top four positions after Richmond, and every member of this team is prepared to do whatever we need to get the job done."

-credit: j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson