KJ Determined to Break the Phoenix Hex ACDelco Cobalt crew aims to successfully defend their CSK Nationals title Sugar Hill, Ga., February 20, 2008 -- Kurt Johnson knows the numbers all too well. In seven of the last ten races at Firebird ...
KJ Determined to Break the Phoenix Hex
ACDelco Cobalt crew aims to successfully defend their CSK Nationals title
Sugar Hill, Ga., February 20, 2008 -- Kurt Johnson knows the numbers all too well. In seven of the last ten races at Firebird Raceway, site of this weekend's Checker Schuck's Kragen NHRA Nationals, the winner in the Pro Stock category has been named Johnson. During that period Kurt and his father, six-time champion Warren, have each scored three victories, with close friend Allen Johnson logging a solitary win in 2005.
It is a remarkable streak of success that is only slightly tempered by the fact that in each of the last four years, the Arizona triumph was that Johnson's only trip to the winner's circle for the entire POWERade Drag Racing season. However, as Kurt and his ACDelco Cobalt Racing team arrive in the Grand Canyon state for the 2008 edition, they will pay little attention to trends or historical figures, realizing they have no real impact on this weekend's event. Instead, they will focus their attention on doing whatever is necessary to successfully defend their title from a year ago.
"We're not going to worry about any hexes at Firebird Raceway," said Johnson. "I've heard about the trend of the last few years, but I won here in 1999 and won two more races before the end of the season, while Dad won here in 1998 and 2001 and both times went on to win the championship.
"That sounds like this race is more of a launching point than a curse. Still, the bottom line is we're going to Phoenix to win. In fact, this ACDelco Cobalt crew is going to try and win them all -- I guess that's one way to break the supposed hex."
Bolstering the second-generation racer's optimism heading into the weekend is the combination of his previous Firebird Raceway accomplishments and his team and race car's strong showings in the season-opening race ten days ago. Tied at three with his famous father for the most wins by an active Pro Stock racer in Phoenix, Kurt heads into this race looking to gain the upper hand.
"We're looking forward to this weekend," said Johnson. "We're coming off a good performance by our ACDelco Cobalt in Pomona. Even though that was our first race with this particular chassis, we felt we were one of the three or four cars capable of winning. Unfortunately, the moons didn't line up in our favor but we're going to see if we can take care of business in Phoenix.
"We're going in with a strong car, and the confidence of returning to a track where we've won in the past. The racing surface has actually gotten a little better in the last few years. It will come down to track preparation on the first run. After that, the rubber seems to lay down fairly well, and the concrete is decent. We'll look at our notes from the past and see where we can make improvements, adapt to the conditions, and do what we can to put four win lights on the board. That's the kind of magic we're looking for."