The Kurt Chronicles: NHRA Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals Results KURT JOHNSON TAKES PRO STOCK POINTS LEAD WITH PHOENIX VICTORY Phoenix; Feb. 28, 1999 - Kurt Johnson followed his father's footsteps to the winner's circle at Firebird ...
The Kurt Chronicles: NHRA Checker Schuck's Kragen Nationals Results
KURT JOHNSON TAKES PRO STOCK POINTS LEAD WITH PHOENIX VICTORY
Phoenix; Feb. 28, 1999 - Kurt Johnson followed his father's footsteps to the winner's circle at Firebird International Raceway today, notching his 13th career national event victory at the CSK Nationals. After defending champion Warren Johnson was upset in the second round of eliminations, Kurt took charge and scored the Johnson family's second consecutive victory at Firebird.
Johnson's first win of the season propelled him to the top spot in the championship standings for the first time in his career. Kurt scored a crucial decision over points-leader Jeg Coughlin, Jr. in the semi-final round. He then handed the Coughlin clan its second defeat of the day when he beat Jeg's older brother, Troy, in the final, 6.970/197.97 mph to 8.095/120.38 mph.
"We tested in Tucson before this race, and what we learned there paid off," Kurt commented. "We had to contend with a hot, slick race track today, and my car was absolutely flawless."
Kurt's ACDelco Camaro was the picture of consistency on the notoriously fickle Arizona asphalt. K.J. was the second quickest qualifier (behind his father) at 6.934/198.79 mph, marks that were quicker and faster than the track records set by the elder Johnson last year. Kurt recorded the quickest elapsed time in all four rounds of eliminations, running 6.95, 6.99, 7.00, and 6.97. He clocked the second fastest speed on race day, stopping the timers at 198.76 mph; only Warren's GM Goodwrench Service Plus Pontiac was faster. The 35-year-old driver was equally impressive, recording reaction times that ranged between .439 and .460 seconds in four rounds of racing.
"The car spun the tires hard in the semi-final, but we didn't overreact," Kurt confided. "We had a winning combination. We changed the clutch to help the car go down a loose race track. I think we have a hot rod that can be a contender for the rest of the season."
The victory helped to erase memories of his 1993 crash at Firebird in his second professional race. "You always remember days like this," Kurt noted, "but I was probably more spectacular in '93!"
KURT JOHNSON RACE RESULTS: Qualifying: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 2 at 6.934/198.79 mph
Eliminations: Round 1: Kurt Johnson (6.957/198.76) defeated Ron Krisher (7.038/195.90) Round 2: Kurt Johnson (6.999/197.45) defeated Steve Schmidt (7.398/151.80) Semi-Final: Kurt Johnson (7.008/197.39) defeated Jeg Coughlin (7.018/197.39) Final Round: Kurt Johnson (6.970/197.97) defeated Troy Coughlin (8.095/120.38)
Low ET: Warren Johnson, 6.920 seconds (track record) Top Speed: Warren Johnson, 199.64 mph (track record)
POINTS RACE: (After 2 of 22 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Kurt Johnson 1 194 2. Jeg Coughlin, Jr. 1 188 3. Troy Coughlin 0 185 4. Warren Johnson 0 116 5. George Marnell 0 111
NEXT RACE: Mac Tools Gatornationals, March 18-21, Gainesville, Fla. TV: ESPN2, March 21, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Eastern - check local listings