Kurt Johnson Sweeps His Way to the Win in St. Louis ACDelco Team Scores Historic First Win for New Cobalt at Sears Craftsman Nationals Sugar Hill, Ga., June 26, 2005 -- Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team recorded their first win...
Kurt Johnson Sweeps His Way to the Win in St. Louis
ACDelco Team Scores Historic First Win for New Cobalt at Sears Craftsman Nationals
Sugar Hill, Ga., June 26, 2005 -- Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team recorded their first win of the 2005 POWERade Drag Racing season in impressive fashion, sweeping their way to the winner's circle at today's Sears Craftsman Nationals. Starting from the No. 1 position, Johnson posted the quickest elapsed time in each of the four elimination rounds, culminating with a 6.729-second, 205.19 mph blast in the final round over a red-lighting Greg Anderson. This was the 29th NHRA national event win of Johnson's illustrious career, second at Gateway International Raceway, and first for the new Chevrolet Cobalt.
"We had a strong car all weekend, and our ACDelco Cobalt made a great run in the final," said Johnson. "Even though the outcome had already been determined by Greg's red light, it was gratifying to be able to run as well as we did under the conditions. I didn't know he had red lit until I put it in third gear and I looked up and saw the win light on my side. They're a tough team, and we knew we needed to run well in order to beat them.
"We had made some changes before the final, and obviously they were the right ones. I wasn't expecting to go as quick as that 6.72, but we'll certainly take it. It's been a while since we've won, and it certainly feels great any time you make it to the winner's circle, but I would still have to classify this as one of our better wins, especially since we got the first one for the Cobalt."
After taking the pole with a 6.750-second, 204.14 mph run, Johnson quickly established himself as the car to beat on race day, overcoming the high heat and humidity to post a 6.748-second, 204.76 mph pass in his first-round defeat of Kenny Koretsky. In the next round, he elevated his performance even further, covering the quarter-mile in 6.738 seconds to edge Allen Johnson. In the semifinals, Johnson was the beneficiary of a red-light start by Jason Line, and posted a 6.754-second elapsed time to gain lane choice for the final.
The last obstacle between Johnson and a potentially historic win was defending Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson, who entered the contest with a perfect championship-round record against the second-generation racer. However, the race was over before it even began, as Anderson left the starting line almost four hundredths of a second early, handing the automatic win to Johnson, who punctuated his winning performance with the quickest and fastest pass of the weekend, completing the sweep (i.e., Kurt was the No. 1 qualifier, won the race, and set low elapsed time and top speed of the event).
"I'm sure some people will say this win was expected since we had the dominant car all weekend, but you still have to make everything add up," stated Johnson. "For example, we've had a car capable of winning the race on several occasions this year, but for one reason or another, just didn't get the job done. Today, it all fell in place. We had a fast race car, a little bit of luck went our way, and I drove well enough to get the trophy.
"This ACDelco Cobalt is really coming around. We made some changes in testing Tuesday, and I think they really paid off. However, all that mattered was that we turned on the win light four times today.
"We are fortunate to have the support of some great sponsors like ACDelco and Chevrolet, who allows us to do what we need to win, which is work hard, spending long hours on the dyno and at the shop, making sure we put the absolute best car we can on the racetrack. This win is for them, as well as my crew and everyone back at the shop in Sugar Hill, who has put in the long hours to help make this happen. It may only be one win, but we're going to enjoy this for just a little while before getting back to working on the getting the next one."