Indianapolis: Kurt Johnson preview

Kurt Johnson will attempt to forge three noble metals - gold, silver and platinum - into his third U.S. Nationals trophy. Johnson will unveil a new silver paint scheme on his ACDelco Platinum Spark Plugs Cavalier at the crown jewel of NHRA's...

Kurt Johnson will attempt to forge three noble metals - gold, silver and platinum - into his third U.S. Nationals trophy. Johnson will unveil a new silver paint scheme on his ACDelco Platinum Spark Plugs Cavalier at the crown jewel of NHRA's golden anniversary season.

K.J.'s Cavalier will carry its new colors through the remainder of the year to introduce race fans to ACDelco's new line of premium spark plugs. But new paint won't be the only novelty at this year's U.S. Nationals. A renovated track surface promises to intensify the competition at drag racing's most prestigious event.

"From all reports, the new track is extremely smooth," Kurt commented. "I've watched the videotapes from Dad's test in Indy last week. It looks like we should be able to attack the track very aggressively."

Johnson will be racing for his third career U.S. Nationals title. He won Indy in 1996 and 1997, following four consecutive U.S. Nationals victories by his father. Kurt set the Indianapolis Raceway Park elapsed time record at 6.892 seconds and ran the fastest speed in Pro Stock at last year's U.S. Nationals.

"We left the last race in Brainerd with an entirely new setup that really worked on that track," Johnson said. "The starting line in Brainerd was exceptional, and I expect Indy to be the same. We should have three good qualifying sessions on Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning to throw everything we've got at it."

While his race car was in the body shop, K.J. was locked in his dyno cell, searching for an elusive advantage.

"I was looking for that last two horsepower," he confided. "When you race at Indy, you'd better bring your best stuff." <pre>

KURT JOHNSON'S U.S. NATIONALS RECORD: Year Qual. Result 1993 4 Semifinal 1994 9 First Round 1995 4 Semifinal 1996 5 Winner (over Smith) 1997 1 Winner (over Gaines) 1998 2 Second Round 1999 16 First Round 2000 3 Semifinal

-GM Racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson