Memphis: Kurt Johnson preview

MEMPHIS, Oct. 1, 2009 -- The 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals on Oct. 2 -- 4 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Memphis, Tenn., is the next stop for the NHRA Full Throttle Series tour, and the third of four contests held on consecutive ...

MEMPHIS, Oct. 1, 2009 -- The 22nd annual O'Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals on Oct. 2 -- 4 at Memphis Motorsports Park in Memphis, Tenn., is the next stop for the NHRA Full Throttle Series tour, and the third of four contests held on consecutive weekends. Kurt Johnson enters this weekend's race in eighth place in the Pro Stock points standings and is looking for his first victory at this venue since 2006.

"We're not worried about championships or anything like that," Johnson said. "Our focus is on round wins and race wins."

During the first two contests of the NHRA Countdown to 1, Johnson's team has rediscovered the consistency in their race car that had been lacking most of the season, and in these last pair of national events the ACDelco Chevrolet has qualified No. 3 at Charlotte and No. 6 at the series' last race in Dallas. Even with Johnson's early exit from eliminations last Sunday at the Texas Motorplex, the veteran pro Stock driver feels confident that his car's steady performance will continue at Memphis.

"We have the ACDelco Chevrolet back to where it used to be," Johnson said. "We can take four qualifying rounds, make only minor tweaks and adjustments and it's still going to go straight down the racetrack. That's something that was missing during the beginning of the year. We're also running good speed and our incremental numbers look good. We have a good race car with a good race team capable of winning and that's what we're planning to do in Memphis."

Johnson won the rain-soaked Mid-South Nationals in 2006 when he defeated Richie Stevens in round one on Sunday, and he then came back on Monday to beat Larry Morgan in round two, Allen Johnson in the semifinals and Jason Line in the finals on a holeshot.

"That was a good weekend for us," Johnson said. "Everyone on the crew stuck in there, made the right calls, and then I did my job in the finals. We need another race just like that one."

In addition to the '06 race win, the ACDelco driver was runner-up to Warren Johnson in 1998 and Greg Anderson in 2005. He has also been No. 1 qualifier twice at Memphis Motorsports Park (1997, 2005), and a victory on Sunday would mark his 40th career trip to the winner's circle.

"We're excited about the fact that we have a consistent race car -- one that can qualify toward the top of the page and go rounds," Johnson said. "It's not the fastest horse, but it's one we can ride all the way to the winner's circle and we just need to take advantage of it."

-credit: jjr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , Allen Johnson , Jason Line