Madison: Kurt Johnson preview

Kurt Johnson is Poised to Mount Another Charge in Madison Strong performance in last month has ACDelco crew focused on second 2004 win Sugar Hill, Ga., June 22, 2004 - As the 2004 POWERade Drag Racing season approaches its midpoint, Kurt Johnson...

Kurt Johnson is Poised to Mount Another Charge in Madison
Strong performance in last month has ACDelco crew focused on second 2004 win

Sugar Hill, Ga., June 22, 2004 - As the 2004 POWERade Drag Racing season approaches its midpoint, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Racing team find themselves in the midst of another championship battle. With one win in four final round appearances, Johnson is solidly in second place and fighting to stay within striking distance of the lead. Although some teams might feel added pressure being in such a situation, entering this weekend's Sears Craftsman Nationals in Madison, IL, Johnson and crew are taking it all in stride.

"Some people may find this surprising, but we're pretty kicked back heading into St. Louis," said Johnson. "Our ACDelco Cavalier is working really well and the entire team is on the same page, making good decisions at the racetrack. Our top priority, as it has been for the last few months, is to find more power, so we can put a few more wins on the board."

This weekend, the NHRA's four professional classes will face an unusual challenge, as the entire event at Gateway International Raceway will be run in the late afternoon and early evening, which should provide added comfort for the fans, a more consistent race track for the teams, as well as other benefits for the hard-working crews.

"The biggest difference in this being a night race is that we get to sleep in a little," joked Johnson. "In all seriousness, the track should be a little more consistent, and less subject to big temperature fluctuations. However, it is summertime, so it could still be warm when we run.

"Fortunately, we have gotten into such a groove with this race car that it doesn't seem to matter if the racing surface is 80 degrees or 130. No matter what the track or Mother Nature has thrown at us, we've been able to find the right combination to go from A to B on almost every run.

"With most of the race being held later in the day, the changes between rounds should be less than normal, but some adjustments will still have to be made. As we have become more familiar with this ACDelco Cavalier, that has become our strong point, and has us excited going into the weekend."

Another factor that has the Georgia driver enthused is his team's strong performance over the last few races. With two final round appearances in the last three events, Johnson has gained ground on the one person ahead of him in the standings, a trend he looks to continue this weekend in Illinois.

"We've been flirting with the winner's circle at the last few races, so we need to crank the control knob up a notch and see if we can complete the picture," stated Johnson. "This is one of our better racetracks, with a nice, smooth, surface, so we should be in business. We've won there in the past, and it would be great to end the first half on a high note.

"The gains we've made in the points race have really energized the entire ACDelco crew. We know we're still facing a substantial deficit, but we know if we can duplicate last week's effort, in a few races it could be a whole new ball game. Nobody's luck lasts forever, and we feel we have a little on reserve somewhere, while some our competitors are seriously overdrawn. It's about time the pendulum swings our way."

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson