Kurt Johnson Hopes to Give an Old Friend a Big Sendoff in Las Vegas ACDelco Team looks to Change Their Luck at SummitRacing.com Nationals Sugar Hill, Ga., April 12, 2005 -- For just over four years, every time Kurt Johnson has pulled to the...
Kurt Johnson Hopes to Give an Old Friend a Big Sendoff in Las Vegas
ACDelco Team looks to Change Their Luck at SummitRacing.com Nationals
Sugar Hill, Ga., April 12, 2005 -- For just over four years, every time Kurt Johnson has pulled to the starting line at an NHRA national event, it has been behind the wheel of his trusted ACDelco Cavalier. Starting with the 2001 Winternationals in Pomona, CA, where KJ drove the dramatically new Pro Stocker to a win in its debut race, the little Chevy coupe has carried him to 7 wins in 18 final round appearances, and four No. 1 qualifying performances over a span of 97 races.
However, at this weekend's SummitRacing.com Nationals in Las Vegas, NV, Johnson will make his last competitive appearance with this particular bodystyle, as his team will be switching to the next generation racer, the sleek new Cobalt, at the following race. Having scored that model's first win, Johnson feels it would only be appropriate for his team to send it off in winning style.
"We brought this ACDelco Chevy in with a win four years ago, and I think we're going to put it out with one," stated Johnson. "There's no reason we shouldn't be able to -- it's just a matter of executing. We're definitely excited about the new Cobalt -- it's shaping up to be a great car. But for now, we want to give the Cavalier a proper going-away party, and I can't think of a better place to do that than Las Vegas."
But in order to put themselves in a position to reach their goal, the Johnson-led crew knows they must rediscover the consistency that has been their hallmark for the past few years.
"We thought we would be in good shape coming into the year, especially after going to the semifinals in Pomona," said Johnson. "Unfortunately, since then we've had a couple problems that prevented us from having the consistency we need to go rounds and win races. We've made good runs and qualified well at all four races, but have yet to repeat that performance on race day.
"We're approaching the situation the right way. We studied the data to come up with possible solutions, and kept any changes within reason to avoid losing our baseline. I'm confident we'll overcome our problems and find that consistency. There's no reason we can't take ourselves right to the top. The way we see it, the ACDelco crew is going to gain points on everyone this weekend."
The team will also be challenged by the racing surface at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, site of this weekend's race, which is one of the few on the NHRA circuit where they have yet to reach the winner's circle.
"We've done just about everything at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but win," said Johnson. "We've been the No. 1 qualifier, we've gone to three finals in a row, and we've even DNQ'ed. We've yet to have a great day there, but we're due. This is one of the races I definitely want to win, and the timing couldn't be better than this weekend. We're coming to the end of an era for this ACDelco Racing team, and we want to close it just like we opened it -- with a win."
Notes on Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Chevrolet Racing team entering The SummitRacing.com Nationals:
* KJ's Run in Las Vegas: This will be KJ's tenth appearance at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. In his nine previous starts, he has three final round appearances (two in the spring race), which came in consecutive races from 2003 -- 2004, and a 24-15 elimination round record for a .615 round win percentage.
* Kurt's Qualifying Stats at "The Strip": In his eight prior starts in Las Vegas, Kurt was the No. 1 qualifier at the 2002 fall race, has four starts in the top three and six in the top half of the field.
* One year ago: Kurt qualified second with an elapsed time of 6.857 seconds and advanced to his third straight final round at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
* Career Best Elapsed Time: 6.671 sec., Gainesville, FL, 3/20/05
* Career best top speed: 207.13 mph, Gainesville, FL, 3/20/05