Memphis: Kurt Johnson preview

Surging Kurt Johnson Maintains Status Quo Heading into Memphis ACDelco Cobalt Crew Ready to Add Memphis Motorsports Park to Winner's List Sugar Hill, Ga., August 17, 2005 -- Over the last eight weeks, Kurt Johnson and his ACDelco Cobalt...

Surging Kurt Johnson Maintains Status Quo Heading into Memphis
ACDelco Cobalt Crew Ready to Add Memphis Motorsports Park to Winner's List

Sugar Hill, Ga., August 17, 2005 -- Over the last eight weeks, Kurt Johnson and his ACDelco Cobalt Racing team have mounted a charge in the NHRA's Pro Stock division. They have advanced to the final round in four of the five races contested, winning three, and pulled themselves within 55 points of the lead in POWERade championship standings.

It has been a team effort, as the driver has performed well behind the wheel, while the team had made the right calls to extract the maximum performance from their machine. Therefore, entering this weekend's O'Reilly Midsouth Nationals in Memphis, TN, Johnson sees little reason to make any major changes in how his team approaches the race.

"On one hand, you could say our ACDelco Cobalt has been in the right place at the right time," stated Johnson. "However, it takes a lot of effort to put yourself in that right place, and this team has worked very hard to make sure we've qualified well and made good, consistent runs to take advantage of every opportunity presented.

"Between myself, Kevin Horst and Joe Cottle, we're working very well together, with everyone on the same page, pulling in the right direction. It feels good. Everything is clicking, so we'll keep doing what we're doing, avoiding making any major changes that might upset this roll that we're on. We'll continue to approach every race one run at a time, doing whatever we need to adapt to what the track will give us. It certainly has worked so far."

Further fueling Johnson's motivation heading into this event is the fact that Memphis Motorsports Park is one of the few facilities on the NHRA tour where he has yet to reach the winner's circle, with just one final round appearance in 1998. However, armed with an extremely fast race car and a crew whose confidence has been bolstered by their recent success, the second-generation racer believes it is time he added a Volunteer state win to his list of many successes.

"Memphis has been one of those tracks that for one reason or another, has simply eluded us," stated Johnson. "We've always qualified fairly well there, and were the runner-up in 1998, but we really haven't experienced the same level of success that we have at other tracks around the country.

"It's not's a bad track, and has a really good starting line, so we'll have to take advantage of the first 330 feet. I've always enjoyed racing there, and who knows, maybe we've finally exhausted all our bad luck in Memphis.

"In any case, I believe we are in a better position to win there than we have been in some time, so hopefully, this ACDelco Cobalt crew can put it all together this weekend, giving us a good reason to enjoy some of that great Tennessee barbecue on Sunday night with a Wally as the centerpiece."

Notes on Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entering the O'Reilly Midsouth Nationals:

* KJ Hopes to Rock in Memphis: This will be Kurt's 13th appearance at Memphis Motorsports Park, where he has one final round appearance in 1998, and an 11-10 elimination round record in his 10 previous starts. In addition, Kurt has one No. 1 qualifying performance in Tennessee in 1997, and only three starts outside the top half of the field, with an average starting position of 7.0.

* One year ago: Kurt qualified ninth with an elapsed time of 6.807 seconds and a top speed of 201.61 mph, but fell in the opening round.

* Career Best Elapsed Time: 6.665 sec., Seattle, WA 7/23/05

* Career best top speed: 207.15 mph, Seattle, WA 7/23/05

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson