Memphis: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ Targets Title Defense and Continued Progress in Memphis ACDelco Cobalt Crew set sights on back-to-back MMP wins Sugar Hill, Ga., September 10, 2007 -- The second stage of the 2007 NHRA POWERade Championship fight continues this weekend...

KJ Targets Title Defense and Continued Progress in Memphis
ACDelco Cobalt Crew set sights on back-to-back MMP wins

Sugar Hill, Ga., September 10, 2007 -- The second stage of the 2007 NHRA POWERade Championship fight continues this weekend with the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals in Memphis, TN, and the eight racers still in contention are working non-stop to find any edge that will boost their chances of advancing to the Final Four. With only three races remaining before the next cut down, every pass takes on added significance with very little room allowed for error.

However, coming off a strong showing in Indianapolis that saw them battle through various challenges to score a semifinal finish and move up to fourth in the standings, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt racing team see little reason for change. Therefore, they arrive in the Volunteer State ready to continue their march to the front by keeping to the formula that has powered their recent surge in the standings.

"We're going to go to Memphis and do our normal deal," stated Johnson. "After all, our ACDelco Cobalt has been running well so there is no reason to change. We'll be cool, calm and collected, looking to make good runs every time and do what we need to get the win light come on in our lane four times on Sunday.

"Things don't change simply because we're in the Countdown to Four. After all, as close as the competition is in Pro Stock, you have to always be on your game, taking whatever advantage you can get. For example, lane choice has played a significant role of late, so we have to make sure to get it and hold on to it.

"We're not going to waste time worrying about things we can't control. We ran well in qualifying in Indy, but tore up some stuff on Monday. Even so, we came out of there with a third-place finish, which, all things considered, was an exceptional performance by the entire ACDelco crew. Fortunately, we knew what needed to be fixed, and addressed it as soon as we got back to the shop. For the first session on Friday, we'll just look to pick things up from the fourth qualifying session in Indy (where he set top speed of the race and qualified fifth)."

One aspect in Johnson's favor is the site of this weekend's race, Memphis Motorsports Park. With a win and runner-up finish in his last two outings there, the Millington quarter-mile has quickly become one of the second-generation racer's favorite stops on the NHRA circuit. Although the atmospheric conditions will be significantly different due to this year's schedule change, armed with extensive tuning notes from years past, he looks forward to the cooler temperatures and another solid showing.

"I like racing in Memphis," said Johnson. "It's a nice town with great music and great barbecue. The track is decent, although there have been issues with the right hand lane from time to time. Of course, we'll have to wait and see what Mother Nature has done to it in a year's time. After all, it's the same track for everyone, and we'd certainly like to make it two in a row for this ACDelco Cobalt.

"We're also looking forward to running in the cooler temperatures. Certainly, the improved conditions will require a little adaptation from the previous years' set-ups, but that really isn't a concern. If the forecast holds, the most important part is that it would be a great weekend for the fans to come out and watch us race. The way I see it, Memphis was home to Elvis Presley, a great entertainer who was the King of Rock n' Roll. This weekend, we're going to try to put on a great show and once again be the kings of the Memphis quarter-mile."

-credit: j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson