Joliet: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ is Ready to Steady his Rollercoaster Ride in Joliet ACDelco Cobalt crew aims to duplicate 2003 Carquest Auto Parts Nationals win Sugar Hill, Ga., June 5, 2006 -- As a 14-year veteran of the NHRA's Pro Stock division, Kurt Johnson is used...

KJ is Ready to Steady his Rollercoaster Ride in Joliet

ACDelco Cobalt crew aims to duplicate 2003 Carquest Auto Parts Nationals win

Sugar Hill, Ga., June 5, 2006 -- As a 14-year veteran of the NHRA's Pro Stock division, Kurt Johnson is used to rocketing down the quarter-mile in just over six seconds at speeds topping 206 mph. It is a high-speed thrill ride requiring tremendous skill and mechanical aptitude, as this Real Car Guy must adjust his car to match its tremendous performance to the race track.

However, as Johnson and his ACDelco Cobalt Racing team head to Joliet, IL for this weekend's Carquest Auto Parts Nationals, the second-generation racer is looking to get off the rollercoaster ride that has been his season to date and regain control of his chase of the 2006 POWERade championship. Having zeroed in on the problem area, KJ is confident of delivering a consistent and competitive performance in the Land of Lincoln.

"We've had some inconsistencies so far this season, which we have finally tracked down to the clutch," detailed Johnson. "It's an important discovery, because we had made extensive changes to other areas of the car throughout the year trying to make it run better. This made it harder to adjust to the conditions at the different tracks.

"However, having found the problem, we know we can leave everything else alone and concentrate on getting the clutch straightened out. We've made a lot of progress in the last few weeks, and, as a result, we believe our ACDelco Cobalt will be a much more consistent performer from here on out."

Johnson comes into this event with a prior record of success at Route 66 Raceway, having charged from the fifteenth starting position to the winner's circle in the spring of 2003. Armed with that knowledge, and coming off a tremendous runner-up performance at the last race in Topeka, KS both Kurt and his crew are cautiously optimistic about their chances of duplicating that result in this year's edition

"In looking at our notes from the last few races at Route 66 Raceway, I can see that it's one of the smoothest tracks we run on," said Johnson. "The entire facility is tremendous, and we certainly look forward to racing there. We've had some success there in the past, winning this race in 2003, a performance we're hoping to repeat this weekend. You always look to improve upon your last race, and we were the runner-up in Topeka, so we're aiming for the winner's circle in Joliet."

An added feature in this weekend's competition is Pro Stock's annual all-star race, the King Demon Crown. With the top eight qualified drivers from the last year squaring off in a three-round dash for cash, teams must adjust their strategy to allow for the added competitive rounds. In his 12 previous appearances in this special event, Johnson has been able to adapt extremely well to its demands, and enters this year's edition as one of only four drivers to have won it three times.

"The best part about racing in the King Demon Crown is that you can race without the added pressure of competing for the championship," detailed Johnson. "It's not that we take it lightly. It means a lot to this ACDelco crew to have earned one of the eight spots, and we're going to do whatever we can to win -- after all, we can certainly use the $50,000. However, it's over and done with in one day, so we'll just drop the clutch and go, getting some practice for Sunday and hopefully a little extra cash."

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson