ACDelco's Kurt Johnson Ready to Bounce Back at Firebird International Raceway PHOENIX, Feb. 17, 2009 -- After putting aside the cold, rain-soaked weekend of the recently completed NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., Kurt Johnson's ACDelco...
ACDelco's Kurt Johnson Ready to Bounce Back at Firebird International Raceway
PHOENIX, Feb. 17, 2009 -- After putting aside the cold, rain-soaked weekend of the recently completed NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif., Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Chevrolet team is ready to go racing again, and the Lucas Oil Slick Mist NHRA Nationals at Firebird International Raceway on Feb. 20 -- 22 may be just the place for the 17-season Pro Stock veteran to make a move forward in the NHRA Full Throttle points chase.
Johnson has recorded three of his 39 career victories at FIR, tying him with his dad Warren Johnson for the most victories at this event among active Pro Stock drivers.
"We've won races there like we have in Seattle, or Brainerd or St. Louis," Johnson said. "It has a pretty decent starting line and the Fuel Cars test there so it should have some rubber in the middle of the racetrack. It should be good, but I've also seen it where the wind blows and the dust comes off the desert and it can be like riding on marbles out there. If they can keep the track clean and we get a little sunshine, it should be a pretty decent race track."
All of Johnson's wins at Firebird have come during the last 10 race seasons. He captured his first victory there in 1999 when he defeated Troy Coughlin in the final round, and in 2004 he secured his second victory at FIR with a final-round win over Dave Connolly. Johnson's final-round win over Jason Line in 2007 was his lone victory that year, and it enabled Johnson to extend a streak in which he has won at least one race every year since 1995 (the longest current streak in NHRA Pro Stock, and among professional NHRA drivers, second only to John Force's 22 straight years with at least one victory).
With the inclement weather that plagued this year's Winternationals, Johnson is hoping for an event run right on schedule and where he has the opportunity to take the ACDelco Chevrolet on four good qualifying runs down the racetrack. With his team raring to go to make that happen, this race weekend can't come fast enough for the ACDelco crew.
"We've had good luck at Phoenix," Johnson said. "Our biggest thing now is that with the dismal start in Pomona, we have so much pent-up energy that this will be like putting two races into one. Over the long run we feel that we have a car that's going to be fast. Looking at the success we had over the winter, we feel we gained a little bit and that we can put the ACDelco Chevrolet down the boulevard and run pretty fast. We didn't have the chance to show our full potential at Pomona.
"We didn't really tear up too much and we didn't wear out any parts in Pomona, but we didn't win and that's what we're after. You know somewhere during the first 18 races there are going to be some first-round losses, for some reason. You don't want any, but it's going to happen to everybody. We were ready to run 6.50s in Pomona and with the right gearing and the right calls we'll be ready to go at Phoenix."