KURT JOHNSON INCREASES PRO STOCK POINTS LEAD WITH SECOND VICTORY OF THE SEASON BAYTOWN, Texas (April 11, 1999) - Kurt Johnson displayed the consistency that wins championships today with a victory in the O'Reilly Nationals...
KURT JOHNSON INCREASES PRO STOCK POINTS LEAD WITH SECOND VICTORY OF THE SEASON
BAYTOWN, Texas (April 11, 1999) - Kurt Johnson displayed the consistency that wins championships today with a victory in the O'Reilly Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. Making his third straight final-round appearance, Johnson defeated Mike Edwards in a battle of Camaros, 6.969/199.14 to 7.009/197.77.
Kurt's 14th career victory, combined with a win and a runner-up finish in the two preceding events, propelled the 36-year-old driver from Lawrenceville, Ga., to a 75-point lead in the championship race over his father Warren. Troy Coughlin, second in the points race coming into the O'Reilly Nationals, failed to qualify and fell to fourth in the standings.
"I was more intense today than I have been in a long time," Kurt confided. "I knew that I had a good car underneath me and I could win this race if I did my job. I lost lane choice for the final round, but we had the speed we needed to win."
Johnson was the No. 3 qualifier in the 16-car field at 6.934 seconds. After defeating John Nobile and Mark Pawuk in the opening rounds, Kurt singled in the semi-finals when Mike Trumble's car broke on the starting line. It was a lucky break for Johnson, whose car turned a subpar 11-second elapsed time.
"The clutch just locked up," he explained. "The tires shook and the run was a mess. Before the final round, we went back to the setup we had used yesterday in qualifying. I had my best reaction time in the final. It wasn't great, but it was good enough to win."
Johnson has now been on top of the points standings for six weeks. "It pumps you up to lead the championship," Kurt commented. "There is really nothing like it that I've ever experienced.
"We know we have the power and we know we have the equipment," he added. "If we keep our head on straight, we can make enough good runs to beat the competition."
Johnson will enjoy the view from the top for the next two weeks. The Castrol Nationals, the fifth round of the 22-race series, will be contested in Dallas on April 22-25.
KURT JOHNSON ACDelco RACE RESULTS: Qualifying: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 3 at 6.934/199.55 mph
Eliminations: Round 1: Kurt Johnson (6.993/199.46) defeated John Nobile (7.030/195.42) Round 2: Kurt Johnson (6.941/199.70) defeated Mark Pawuk (6.970/198.09) Semi-Final: Kurt Johnson (11.419/78.48) defeated Mike Trumble (broke) Final Round: Kurt Johnson (6.969/199.14) defeated Mike Edwards (7.009/197.77)
Low ET: Warren Johnson, 6.898 seconds Top Speed: Warren Johnson, 200.41 mph
POINTS RACE (after 4 of 22 events): Driver Wins Points 1. Kurt Johnson 2 407 2. Warren Johnson 1 332 3. Jeg Coughlin, Jr. 1 274 4. Troy Coughlin 0 266 5. Jim Yates 0 233
NEXT RACE: Castrol Nationals, April 22-25, Dallas, Texas TV: Fox Sports, April 25, 5:00-7:00 p.m. - check local listings.
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E-mail from: Rick Voegelin, 11-Apr-1999