KJ Hopes to Exchange Father's Day Greetings with His Dad in Englishtown Final Second-generation racer looks to celebrate with ACDelco Cobalt win Sugar Hill, Ga., June 14, 2005 -- This weekend, families across the country will gather to ...
KJ Hopes to Exchange Father's Day Greetings with His Dad in Englishtown Final
Second-generation racer looks to celebrate with ACDelco Cobalt win
Sugar Hill, Ga., June 14, 2005 -- This weekend, families across the country will gather to celebrate Father's Day, and ACDelco Cobalt pilot Kurt Johnson is looking forward to getting together with his father. However, he would prefer if the encounter did not happen at the dinner table or even at a family barbecue.
Instead, just as he has wished for every year since 1993, the second-generation racer will hope to meet his father, six-time Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson, in the championship round of this weekend's stop on the POWERade Drag Racing circuit, the NHRA SuperNationals in Englishtown, NJ.
"Ever since I first started driving in 1993, my dad has always been there, not only as a mentor and advisor, but also as a competitor," said Johnson. "Not many racers have been able to compete on an equal footing with their father, and I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do so. The biggest thing about it is what I am able to learn from him. Most of the time, he shows me what to do, but there have been occasions where he's shown me what not to do.
"Since we race out of the same shop, we know what kind of equipment each other have and, naturally, there are bragging rights on the line every time we meet. He is always trying to teach me a lesson, and has had some pretty good runs against us over the years. For example, at two of the last three races, he's nipped me for the pole.
"We pretty much base ourselves and what we should run against each other more than the rest of the field. If we're both making good runs, we should be side-by-side, and hopefully at the head of the pack if we've done our homework.
"Naturally, there is competition between the two teams, which drives us both. Of course, we never want to have to face each other on Sunday until the final. It's been a while since we've done that, and I can't think of a better way to celebrate Father's Day than by having our ACDelco Cobalt and his GM Performance Parts Pontiac square off for the win in Englishtown this weekend."
For his part, the senior Johnson believes that he and his son have set the standard for two-generation racers, while echoing the sentiment of leaving family sentiments at the starting line.
"There have been a number of father and son teams who have raced simultaneously, but, other than perhaps the Andrettis, I'd have to argue that none have been as competitive overall as Kurt and I," states WJ. "However, when it's time to race, we lay all family affiliations aside. If we're on the track, it's business plain and simple. Whoever does the best job deserves to win."
Besides their familial relationship, the Johnsons also share a record of success at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, site of this weekend's race. However, even though he made NHRA history in "E-town" with the first six-second Pro Stock pass, and scored three wins in the annual Pro Stock Challenge held at the track, Kurt is still looking to emulate his father's national event success in the Garden State.
"Englishtown has always been a good track for the Pro Stock category, and I have had some success in the non-points races there," stated Johnson. "However, it is still on the list of tracks where I have yet to win a national event, which is a powerful motivational tool. It is definitely on the list of things I want to accomplish, and this weekend seems like a perfect time.
"We know that the wins are coming -- we have a very fast ACDelco Cobalt and a great team behind it. We just have to be perfect. The car has to be perfect as it can be and my driving has to be as perfect as it can be. After all, it's been fun racing with my father over the years, and we know there is even more fun to come. I just wish it would hurry up and get here."
Notes on Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entering
the NHRA SuperNationals:
* KJ in Englishtown: This will be Kurt's 13th appearance at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, where he has two final round appearances in 1993 & 2004, and two No. 1 qualifying performances in 1994 & 1998.
* One year ago: Kurt qualified fifth with an elapsed time of 6.804 seconds and a top speed of 202.36 mph and defeated former Pro Stock champions Jeg Coughlin, Jim Yates and Darrell Alderman en route to a runner-up finish.
* Career Best Elapsed Time: 6.671 sec., Gainesville, FL, 3/20/05
* Career best top speed: 207.13 mph, Gainesville, FL, 3/20/05