Kurt Johnson Set for Winning Weekend at "The Big Go" ACDelco Racing Team looks for third Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win Sugar Hill, Ga., September 1, 2004 - This weekend, millions of Americans will celebrate Labor Day, the traditional three-day ...
Kurt Johnson Set for Winning Weekend at "The Big Go"
ACDelco Racing Team looks for third Mac Tools U.S. Nationals win
Sugar Hill, Ga., September 1, 2004 - This weekend, millions of Americans will celebrate Labor Day, the traditional three-day period that marks the end of summer. Some will head to the beaches, others will gather for cookouts, while students will enjoy a final respite before heading back to school. Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cavalier Racing team will be among those on the road, traveling north to Indianapolis, IN.
However, there will be little relaxation involved, as the veteran crew will be looking to score a win at the biggest stop on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series circuit, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals. This year, the event takes on even greater significance, as this will be the 50th edition of the race affectionately known as "The Big Go".
"Labor Day weekend means only one thing - the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis," said Johnson. "If you're a drag racer, you'll be at Indianapolis Raceway Park this weekend. I have been coming here for most of my life, first to accompany my father and now with the ACDelco Cavalier, and the fact that this year is the 50th makes it even more exciting.
"Although we treat this as just another race, you look at the entry list and see 47 cars and the increased purse, as well as all the fans and manufacturers in attendance and it shows just how big Indianapolis is. Everyone brings their 'A' game to Indy, and it's up to us to figure out how to be better than all of them. We've done it twice, and now we're looking to put a third U.S. Nationals trophy on the mantle in Sugar Hill."
Unlike many of his rivals, Johnson opted not to participate in last week's pre-race test session at IRP, preferring instead to focus on extracting additional horsepower from their massive 500 cubic-inch powerplants. With the combination of a solid notebook on the racing surface at the Indiana quarter-mile and a handle on their race car chassis' set-up, the second-generation driver knows any gains made under the hood will do more to enhance their chances for success this weekend than time spent on the track.
"The ACDelco crew is ready to go for Indy," stated Johnson. "We didn't test for a couple reasons. First, the track conditions will be different from what they were in testing because of the NHRA's national event track preparation, as well as the number of cars racing on it. We negotiated it pretty well a year ago, and have a solid game plan heading into the race.
"In addition, we're comfortable with the tune-up on our ACDelco Cavalier. We know we were a little too aggressive at the last race, so we'll pick up where we left off there and go forward.
"Looking at the computer, we've been making pretty good runs. Therefore, to pick up our performance, the first thing to look at is the thing making all the noise - the engine. As the saying goes, there's no substitute for horsepower, so we've been camped out in the dyno room seeing what we can find. Even though we haven't incorporated all the changes we have planned, we've made some gains, so I'm confident we'll be in good shape. We'll find out when we let the clutch out. After all, it's the U.S. Nationals, and winning the 50th would be even more special."