Denver Kurt Johnson story

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Rick Voegelin/408-761-2201 Race Results from NHRA Mopar Parts Mile High Nationals: KURT RUNNER-UP IN DENVER! DENVER; July 20, 1997 -- Kurt Johnson...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Rick Voegelin/408-761-2201

     Race Results from NHRA Mopar Parts Mile High Nationals:
                                
                    KURT RUNNER-UP IN DENVER!

DENVER; July 20, 1997 -- Kurt Johnson drove his ACDelco Pontiac to his fourth runner-up finish of the season today at the NHRA Mile High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Kurt fell to Jim Yates in the final round when his transmission failed in third gear.

"The transmission let us down again," said Kurt, who suffered transmission failures in two previous races. "It let go in third gear with a bang. We thought we had our transmission problems fixed, so this was unexpected.

"I guess I'd rather lose in the finals than lose in the first round, second round, or semi-final round," said the disappointed driver. "You just wish you could get that win. We'll keeping working at it, and we know we'll put this ACDelco Firebird in the winner's circle eventually."

Kurt's runner-up finish continued his streak of advancing to at least the second round in every event this season. He is third in the NHRA championship race behind Jim Yates and his father, Warren Johnson.

K.J.'s Firebird nailed down the No. 3 qualifying spot at the Mile High Nationals with a 7.426-second elapsed time. His 184.80 mph qualifying speed was the fastest run in four qualifying sessions.

"We had the power we needed to run fast in the thin air here on 'Thunder Mountain,'" Kurt commented. "We were still a little off in the clutch department; the engine was bogging on the starting line. Even though the motor has 100 horsepower less than at sea level, you've still got 1100 horses you've got to get hooked to the ground. Our clutch setup was way too aggressive, and the car was spinning the tires hard on the starting line."

Kurt and his ACDelco team will make the second stop on the grueling three-week "Western Swing" at the NHRA Autolite Nationals in Sonoma, Calif., on July 27.

KURT JOHNSON RACE SUMMARY QUALIFYING: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 3 at 7.426/184.91

ELIMINATIONS: Round 1: Kurt Johnson (7.457/184.23) defeated Troy Coughlin (7.515/183.67) Round 2: Kurt Johnson (7.443/184.31) defeated Tom Martino (7.516/182.51) Semi-Final: Kurt Johnson (7.435/184.42) defeated Steve Schmidt (7.405/184.88) Final Round: Jim Yates (7.430/184.35) defeated Kurt Johnson (11.402/79.33--broke)

LOW ET: Jim Yates 4.403 TOP SPEED: Warren Johnson 185.52 mph

PRO STOCK STANDINGS: (after 12 of 22 events; victories in parentheses): 1. Jim Yates (4), 1061; 2. Warren Johnson (4), 997; 3. Kurt Johnson, 878; 4. Bruce Allen, 667; 5. Steve Schmidt, 602

NEXT EVENT: July 25-27, NHRA Autolite Nationals, Sonoma, Calif. (TV: ESPN2 live final round coverage, Sunday, July 27, 7:00 - 9:00 pm Eastern)

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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 20-Jul-1997

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Troy Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Bruce Allen , Tom Martino , Steve Schmidt