Indianpolis: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ Taking The "Big Go" One Step at a Time Surging ACDelco Cobalt Racing Team Targets Third U.S. Nationals Win Sugar Hill, Ga., August 30, 2005 - The numbers speak for themselves. Six races. Five final round appearances. Three wins. Three...

KJ Taking The "Big Go" One Step at a Time

Surging ACDelco Cobalt Racing Team Targets Third U.S. Nationals Win

Sugar Hill, Ga., August 30, 2005 - The numbers speak for themselves. Six races. Five final round appearances. Three wins. Three No. 1 qualifying positions. A 20-3 elimination round record. Clearly, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt racing team have been on top of their game as they push towards the top of the POWERade Championship standings.

However, these past performances mean little to Johnson and his tight-knit crew as they prepare for the biggest race of the year in drag racing, the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Their focus is now on the first qualifying session at Indianapolis Raceway Park, an evening run on Friday which they look to use as a launching pad for yet another successful race weekend.

"At this stage, every run is important, so we're taking it one step at a time, concentrating on that first session on Friday," said Johnson. "We're looking to hit a home run and set the weekend off right. As good as our record has been over the last few races, we know the car's performance has been off in the first sixty feet lately, so we'll need to get every bit of our ACDelco Cobalt's performance to put it on the pole. Basically, we'll need to be good from the starting line to the finish line.

"We've gone over the entire car with a fine-toothed comb. We've rebuilt our engines to give them plenty of steam. The most important part, however, will be getting the chassis set-up right. To do that, we'll go over our notes from this car and Indianapolis Raceway Park and come up with the tune-up. After that, we'll go to Indy, let the clutch out and look at the scoreboard."

In addition to chasing his first Pro Stock championship, this weekend Johnson will also have to deal with racing at his sport's most prestigious race, the U.S. Nationals. Now entering its 51st year, the "Big Go" is an annual focal point for the world of drag racing, drawing racers and fans from around the country for a five-day extravaganza of speed. With victories in 1996 & 1997, K.J. is one of only six Pro Stock drivers with multiple wins at Indianapolis Raceway Park, but the combination of that success and the history and tradition of this race only serves to further fuel his desire to return to the winner's circle.

Even so, the team continues to direct their attention towards their ultimate goal, and views this race as one of six left on the 2005 schedule as they continue to make what they hope will be a championship-winning charge.

"This is the big one," stated Johnson. "Certainly, it is just another race and you're typically racing the same people you've faced all season, but everyone wants to win Indy. We've been fortunate to win twice there in the past, but it's been eight years since our last win, so it's about time we made a return visit to the IRP winner's circle.

"Right now, we're covering every angle. The ACDelco Cobalt, the motor, the team and even the driver have been doing their jobs well enough to put us in the winner's circle on a consistent basis, which is what it's all about. However, we have yet to accomplish our primary goal, which is winning the championship. There are six races left, and we're going to take them one run at a time. If we can maintain the pace we have set over the last six, we should be in good shape at the end of the year, so that is what we are focused on doing."

Notes on Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entering the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals:

* KJ knows his way to the Winner's Circle at IRP: This will be Kurt's 13th appearance at Indianapolis Raceway Park, where he has two wins in 1996 & 1997 in three final round appearances, and a 18-9 elimination round record in his 12 previous starts. In addition, Kurt has two No. 1 qualifying performances at IRP in 1997 & 2003, and a 6.364 average starting position.

* Career Best Elapsed Time: 6.665 sec., Seattle, WA 7/23/05

* Career best top speed: 207.15 mph, Seattle, WA 7/23/05

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson