Kurt Johnson tops 203 mph in first test

Bradenton, Fla.; January 22, 2001 - Pro Stock driver Kurt Johnson baptized his brand-new "baby" with a record-shattering run today in a preseason test at DeSoto Memorial Dragway. Johnson's new 2001 ACDelco Cavalier Z24 covered the quarter-mile in...

Bradenton, Fla.; January 22, 2001 - Pro Stock driver Kurt Johnson baptized his brand-new "baby" with a record-shattering run today in a preseason test at DeSoto Memorial Dragway. Johnson's new 2001 ACDelco Cavalier Z24 covered the quarter-mile in 6.81 seconds at 203.20 mph on its first trip down a drag strip.

"I warmed up the engine, drove to the starting line, made sure the car was pointed straight, and dumped the clutch," Johnson reported. "It ran 6.81/203 on the first hit."

That pass set new personal-best elapsed time and speed marks for Johnson, and unofficially eclipsed the 202.36 mph national speed record set by his father Warren in October 1999.

"That's a nice way to break in a new race car," K.J. commented. "Everyone on the ACDelco team was pleased with that pass."

Johnson will debut his aerodynamically advantaged ACDelco Cavalier Z24 at the season-opening NHRA AutoZone Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., on February 1-4. With a smaller frontal area, less aerodynamic drag, and a longer wheelbase than the Camaro that propelled him to six victories and a runner-up finish in the NHRA Winston championship last year, Johnson's new ACDelco Cavalier has the look of a title contender.

"The new body design definitely showed its potential," Johnson noted. "It's an easy car to drive - it feels extremely stable at the top end. The chassis has a lot of bite, so we're working on taming it down. Our goal is to make the package so consistent that it runs low 6.80s and over 200 mph every time I let out the clutch."

Johnson made four full passes on his first day in Florida. He plans to remain in the Sunshine State for several more days of testing. "It's just a matter of making runs and getting comfortable," said the proud papa as he gazed on his spanking new race car.

-Rick Voegelin

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson