DENVER, July 22, 2001 -- The final round of the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway was a family affair for Kurt and Warren Johnson. The Johnsons raced for the 43rd time overall and the 14th time in a final round, with Warren ...
DENVER, July 22, 2001 -- The final round of the Mopar Parts Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway was a family affair for Kurt and Warren Johnson. The Johnsons raced for the 43rd time overall and the 14th time in a final round, with Warren claiming a holeshot victory, 7.347 to 7.335. With that victory, W.J. became the all-time leader in NHRA Pro Stock victories with 86 career titles. Kurt made his first final-round appearance since he won the season-opening AutoZone Winternationals.
"Dad got the trophy and made drag racing history," Kurt said. "Too bad it was at my expense!"
K.J. came within 16/1000ths of a second of repeating his event-winning performance last year in Denver. He qualified his ACDelco Cavalier in the No. 5 spot at 7.285/189.15 mph. Johnson defeated George Marnell, Darrell Alderman and Ron Krisher to advance to the final round for the fourth time at Bandimere Speedway and the 38th time in his career. Kurt suffered his tenth final-round loss to his father in 14 meetings.
"I thought I was going to win," said Johnson. "I clicked her into high gear and waited for that win light to come on in my lane at the finish line. I'm still waiting.
"It was actually a pretty good run," Kurt continued. "The car went left a little bit and got out of the groove, and that might have knocked off a couple of hundredths. My reaction times were between .447 and .477 all day, so I could have driven better in the final -- but I could have been a lot worse, too!"
Johnson continued to gain ground in the championship race, pulling to within 23 points of fifth-place Mike Edwards. K.J. hopes that the momentum he generated with a runner-up finish on "the Mountain" will carry him through the next two races on the western swing in Seattle and Sonoma, Calif. -- tracks where he has stood in the winner's circle in the last two years.
<pre> KURT JOHNSON RACE RESULTS Qualifying: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 5 at 7.285/189.15 Eliminations: First Round: Kurt Johnson, (7.324/188.89) defeated George Marnell (7.383/187.44) Second Round: Johnson (7.354/188.41) defeated Darrell Alderman (15.933/53.18) Semifinal: Johnson (7.338/188.91) defeated Ron Krisher (7.357/187.86 - foul) Final: Warren Johnson (7.347/188.28) defeated Kurt Johnson (7.335/188.73)
Low ET: Bruce Allen, 7.273 seconds Top Speed: Warren Johnson, 189.71 mph (track record)
POINTS RACE (After 14 of 24 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Warren Johnson 5 1033 2. Jim Yates 1 921 3. Jeg Coughlin Jr. 3 850 4. Mark Pawuk 0 811 5. Mike Edwards 1 776 6. Kurt Johnson 1 753
NEXT RACE Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest NHRA Nationals, July 27-29, Seattle TV: ESPN2, July 29, 6 - 8 p.m. (ET)