Joliet II: Kurt Chronicles - Chicago Edition

Kurt Johnson expects record performances in Chicago. One year ago, Kurt Johnson set the Pro Stock national elapsed time and top speed records in the inaugural autumn event at Route 66 Raceway. He won't be surprised if this weekend's...

Kurt Johnson expects record performances in Chicago.

One year ago, Kurt Johnson set the Pro Stock national elapsed time and top speed records in the inaugural autumn event at Route 66 Raceway. He won't be surprised if this weekend's Craftsman 75th Anniversary NHRA Nationals turns out to be another record-setting race.

"I'm excited just looking at the weather forecast," said Johnson, driver of the ACDelco Pro Stock Cavalier. "We're looking at a 6.73 or a 6.74 for the No. 1 qualifier. I figure it will take a 76 or 77 to get in the show."

If K.J.'s prediction is accurate, the current national e.t. record, which stands at 6.750 seconds, is toast.

"I didn't even look at my notes from the spring race at Route 66 because it's an entirely different track in the fall," he continued. "Last year it was 57 degrees on Friday night when we ran the low e.t. I looked in my bag of tricks and built a set of carburetors just like the ones that we used last year. My Cavalier's chassis setup is already very close to what we ran when we set the record in Chicago. We're ready!"

Johnson has competed six times in NHRA national event competition at Route 66 Raceway. He was the No. 1 qualifier in 1999 and in last year's fall event, where he set the national e.t. mark at 6.801 seconds and the speed standard at 202.70 mph. Those marks were subsequently eclipsed one week later in Reading, Pa.

While Johnson is still searching for his first victory of the season, he comes into the race with the momentum of a strong showing in Memphis, Tenn. K.J. lost to eventual winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the second round. Both drivers carded identical reaction times, but lane choice proved to be Coughlin's decisive advantage.

"I finally got the driving part down and the car is running exceptionally well," Kurt noted. "Now I have to work on keeping lane choice. We simply have to run better when the opportunity arises. That's the key to winning."

Johnson will have some additional power under his Cavalier's sloping hood to aid his cause.

"Dad's working on engine R&D now, and that's going to transfer over to my program as well," he said. "We have three motors apart, and they'll all be ready for Chicago. Get out the record book!"

-kc-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson