The Kurt Chronicles: Kurt Johnson ACDelco News & Notes for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals (Las Vegas, April 5-7) and the O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil (Houston, April 12-14) Kurt Johnson Stands Pat for Las Vegas and ...
The Kurt Chronicles:
Kurt Johnson ACDelco News & Notes for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals (Las Vegas, April 5-7) and the O'Reilly Spring Nationals presented by Pennzoil (Houston, April 12-14)
Kurt Johnson Stands Pat for Las Vegas and Houston
Kurt Johnson is going to play the cards he's been dealt when he goes to Las Vegas this weekend for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals, the fourth round of the 23-event NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series. After an extensive test session in Atlanta with a new Jerry Bickel-built ACDelco Cavalier, K.J. has decided to stand pat with the Don Ness chassis that he drove in the three previous events.
"We were hoping that the Easter bunny would bring us 50 horsepower, but he didn't come through," Johnson joked. "So we ran the wheels off our new Cavalier testing at Atlanta Dragway. After 18 runs, we whittled the reaction times down to consistent .420s, but the elapsed times were off a couple of hundredths.
"Bottom line, we're not going to gamble on a new car in Vegas," Kurt declared. "We'll make some changes to the Ness car to improve its reaction time and go with what we've got."
Lady Luck has spurned K.J. in his three previous visits to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He has yet to advance past the second round in the city that never sleeps.
"We're ready to run the table this time," K.J. said. "We were fast enough to win in Pomona and Phoenix but didn't get the right breaks on race day. We broke a crankshaft in the first round in Gainesville and that cost us a couple of hundredths. My Cavalier was consistently at the top of the e.t. chart and we're running 202 mph regularly. If the driver and crew do their jobs, I'd bet on the ACDelco car to win in Las Vegas."
Johnson also likes his chances at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park on April 12-14. He won in Houston in 1999, and he's qualified in the No. 1 spot twice at the fast sea-level track.
"Houston is a good track with good air," Kurt noted. "We should be able to use all of the power we've got. The Ness double-rail chassis is very stiff, and that's exactly what you want in those conditions. I'm confident that the track will handle everything we can throw at it."