Pomona II: Kurt Johnson preview

Kurt Chronicles: Pomona Edition Johnson ready to make front page news at NHRA finals. He has a fast race car in his transporter, a seven-year winning streak on the line, and a winning record at Pomona Raceway. What more could ACDelco Pro Stock...

Kurt Chronicles: Pomona Edition

Johnson ready to make front page news at NHRA finals.

He has a fast race car in his transporter, a seven-year winning streak on the line, and a winning record at Pomona Raceway. What more could ACDelco Pro Stock driver Kurt Johnson want for motivation at this weekend's season-ending NHRA Finals?

"We just have to take care of business," said Johnson, who qualified No. 1 and set the track speed and elapsed time records at the preceding event in Las Vegas on October 27. "Our game plan is to go out to Pomona and do what we've been doing."

Kurt's performance at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals earned a place on the front page of the official results sheet - a spot reserved for the finalists, the No. 1 qualifiers, and the drivers who run the quickest times and fastest speeds of the event. Savvy observers rely on the front page to determine who's hot and who's not. And right now, K.J. is very hot in Pro Stock.

"It feels good to have a fast race car again," said Johnson. "After we set the track records in Dallas and Las Vegas, I remembered the races where we struggled during the summer. A good e.t. is like a breath of fresh air. Now it's just a matter of putting the ACDelco Cavalier in the winner's circle."

Johnson has competed 20 times in NHRA national event competition at Pomona Raceway, scoring three victories in five final-round appearances. He won the NHRA Finals in 1997 over Tom Martino and in 2000 over Jeg Coughlin Jr. Johnson also won the 2001 Winternationals at Pomona Raceway, defeating Darrell Alderman in the final round.

K.J. is often reminded that 45 races have passed since that last victory at the Winternationals. He's also aware that he has won at least one race for seven consecutive seasons, and he knows that the NHRA Finals is his last chance to keep that streak going.

"It's tough out there on Sunday," he conceded. "Drivers have qualified 16th and won races this season. It's so important to make the right calls at the right time. The only way to control your fate is to maintain lane choice on Sunday and keep digging for those good reaction times."

Johnson's ACDelco Chevy will wear special KISS graphics that it debuted in Las Vegas, and K.J. will again don his red-hot flamed driver suit. The special edition ACDelco Cavalier salutes the legendary rock band's 30th anniversary.

"The 20 pounds of vinyl definitely didn't slow the car down in Las Vegas," Johnson laughed. "It was cool to meet Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley from KISS. I have to take my hat off to them because they were all business at the races. They signed autographs for hours and did media interviews all day long. They're real rock 'n' roll pros."

While many drivers are thinking about new cars for next season, Johnson is quite content with his current ride.

"Dad's trying to talk me into a new car, but I said 'No thanks,'" Kurt laughed. "I like this one. It's less than a year old. It's ready to win - and so am I."

-jc-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Darrell Alderman , Kurt Johnson , Tom Martino