Joliet: Kurt Johnson preview

Something to prove In Chicago. Kurt Johnson had a tough Memorial Day weekend at Heartland Park Topeka when he failed to qualify at the Kansas quarter-mile for the second year in a row. Last October he rebounded from that disappointment by...

Something to prove In Chicago.

Kurt Johnson had a tough Memorial Day weekend at Heartland Park Topeka when he failed to qualify at the Kansas quarter-mile for the second year in a row. Last October he rebounded from that disappointment by setting the national elapsed time and speed records at Route 66 Raceway near Chicago, the next stop on the NHRA POWERade circuit. Another strong performance in the Windy City would be the tonic to restore the spirits of the ACDelco Pro Stock team.

"I can't believe it," said Johnson. "Maybe I shouldn't even go to Topeka next year and try to win the championship with only 22 races."

Qualifying for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals was brutal, with a spread of .025 seconds among the 16 qualifiers. K.J. was less than .04 seconds off the pace and found himself 26th on the list.

"It came down to one session on Saturday morning to get in the field," Johnson said. "My car had been running like it was on a string, but it went left instantly when I left the starting line. That was it. If you don't make a perfect run at the right time, you're not in."

Kurt joined the growing club of Pro Stock contenders who have a DNQ on their records this season. Only three drivers -- Warren Johnson, Jim Yates and Ron Krisher -- have qualified at all nine races contested to date. K.J. is now eighth in the points race with 14 races remaining on the schedule.

"Dad made six runs with my ACDelco Cavalier in Topeka on Monday," Johnson said. "The crew changed shock absorbers and smoothed out the car in third and fourth gears. Dad said the car is fine, so we have his blessing going to Chicago.

"I'm driving better than I've ever driven before as far as getting the car down the race track," Kurt declared. "But sometimes things just don't go right."

After a heartbreaking weekend in the heartland, Kurt is ready to put things right again at Route 66 Raceway.

KURT JOHNSON'S ROUTE 66 RACEWAY RECORD
Year Qual. Result
1998 8 Second Round
1999 1 First Round
2000 6 Semifinal
2001 Spring DNQ
2001 Fall 1 Second Round

-kjr-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Ron Krisher