Las Vegas II: Kurt Johnson preview

Kurt Johnson Targets the Top of the Hill in Las Vegas ACDelco Cobalt crew focused on scoring big win at Sponsor's Event Sugar Hill, Ga., October 17, 2005 -- The NHRA's POWERade Drag Racing season is a 23-race, coast-to-coast odyssey where...

Kurt Johnson Targets the Top of the Hill in Las Vegas
ACDelco Cobalt crew focused on scoring big win at Sponsor's Event

Sugar Hill, Ga., October 17, 2005 -- The NHRA's POWERade Drag Racing season is a 23-race, coast-to-coast odyssey where teams experience the many highs and lows the sport has to offer. Even in the midst of another outstanding season, Kurt Johnson and his ACDelco Cobalt Racing have themselves experienced both ends of the competitive spectrum, with a very limited number of early exits more than offset by their three national event wins in six final round appearances.

Through it all, the driver and his close-knit crew have maintained their even disposition, keeping things in perspective and staying focused on winning races. It is an attitude that will serve them well this weekend at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, NV. Although some would feel extra pressure racing at their sponsor's event, Johnson prefers to concentrate on the positive, giving himself further incentive for doing well.

"The POWERade Drag Racing season is nothing more than a series of hills and valleys, and the important thing is to stay level through it all," stated Johnson. "You're naturally going to get excited when you win and a little down when you lose, but the key is to stay focused on doing the very best you can. If you do that, things will usually work in your favor.

"For example, some people might get all worked up racing at their sponsor's event, feeling extra pressure. I personally think it's pretty cool being at the ACDelco race, especially since it's held in Las Vegas. Even though we're thousands of miles from our shop, we have our own personal cheering section, giving us a chance to thank them for their support, and I'd like nothing better than to end the weekend with them and our ACDelco Cobalt in the winner's circle."

In order to achieve his goal for Sunday, Johnson must find the key to winning at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The second-generation racer has had his share of success in the Nevada desert with three final round appearances, but the magnificent Bruton Smith-owned facility remains on the short list of tracks on the NHRA circuit where the talented driver has yet to take home the trophy. Armed with a very fast race car and a team that is working together as one, KJ is cautiously optimistic heading into the next-to-last race of the year.

"The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is probably the best overall facility we go to, and the fact that ACDelco sponsors this race only makes it better," said Johnson. "The track management caters to both the fans and the competitors, and you have the entertainment capital of the world as the backdrop.

"The surface is pretty good when it's cool, but when the sun starts beating on it, it can get pretty nasty. All of our runs this weekend in qualifying and eliminations will be held during the day, so we will have to be on top of our game to make the most of what's available. Success will come down to the team that has the best combination to control the amount of traction available under the circumstances, and we've been working since the last race to put our ACDelco Cobalt in that position. After all, we don't want to disappoint the people who make it possible for us to be out here racing."

Notes on Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entering the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals:

* KJ to Participate in Autograph session: Kurt will be one of the drivers participating in the pre-race autograph session, which will be held from 5:00 -- 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 20 at the NHRA Budweiser Fan Zone, which will be held in the parking lot of the Hard Rock Casino.

* KJ has been Solid on The Strip: This will be Kurt's 11th appearance in Las Vegas, where he has three final round appearances, one No. 1 qualifying performance in 2002 and a 12-9 elimination round record.

* Looking to Add to the List: Should KJ be able to win this weekend in Las Vegas, it will be his first at the spectacular Nevada facility.

* One year ago: Kurt qualified fifteenth with an elapsed time of 6.835 seconds and a top speed of 200.71 mph, but fell in the first round.

* Career Best Elapsed Time: 6.663 sec., Dallas, TX, 10/7/05

* Career best top speed: 207.30 mph, Joliet, IL, 9/30/05


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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson