Pomona: Kurt Johnson preview

Kurt Johnson Begins His Quest for NHRA Gold in Pomona ACDelco Cobalt Racing team starts Championship Chase at Winternationals Sugar Hill, Ga., February 6, 2006 - This weekend, athletes from around the world will converge in Torino, Italy to...

Kurt Johnson Begins His Quest for NHRA Gold in Pomona
ACDelco Cobalt Racing team starts Championship Chase at Winternationals

Sugar Hill, Ga., February 6, 2006 - This weekend, athletes from around the world will converge in Torino, Italy to participate in the XX Winter Olympic Games. Over the next two weeks, they will compete in events ranging from downhill skiing to ice hockey, with each contestant looking to take home the ultimate symbol of amateur athletic achievement -- an Olympic gold medal.

At the same time, almost 6,500 miles away from the Italian Alps, Kurt Johnson and his ACDelco Cobalt Racing team will begin their pursuit of drag racing's greatest prize, the NHRA POWERade Championship. Unlike their Olympic counterparts 14-day contest, KJ & crew will compete at 23 races across the country over the next nine months, starting with the Carquest Auto Parts Winternationals this weekend in Pomona, CA, doing everything they can to end the season with more points than everyone else.

Four times in his stellar career, he has come close, finishing second as he did a year ago. Heading into his 14th year on the Pro Stock circuit, Johnson detailed what he needs to accomplish in order to ascend that final step, as well as assessing his chances for success.

"The entire ACDelco Cobalt crew is pretty excited heading into the 2006 season," said Johnson. "Naturally, our top priority is winning the POWERade championship, so it's important to get off to a good start and maintain that pace throughout the year. We always want to win the race, but first, we have to make sure that we consistently win rounds every time out.

"Last year, I said it would take six to eight wins to win the championship, and we won four. That was the difference. The same is true this year, and to do it, we'll need the whole package. It will take the car, crew, as well as the driver all doing their jobs at a consistently high level, as well as a little luck. We have everything in place, and it's up to us to bring it home."

Armed with a fast race car and a dedicated, hard-working crew, Johnson's odds for this weekend are improved even further by his past record at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Following a productive off-season, which included two impressive test sessions, he is confident of adding to his total of one win in two final round appearances at the Winternationals.

"We're starting the season with the same ACDelco Cobalt that we won and made it to the semis with in the last two races," stated Johnson. "We have a good notebook on it, so we're looking to pick up where we left off, qualifying in the top half and going deep into eliminations.

"We're also going back to Pomona, where we ran well in November. We have made some changes to the race car, which should help on that surface in particular, have a little more power in the engine compartment, as well as a great crew. We've hit all the bases in the off-season so things should be good. We're ready to race."

Quick Notes on Kurt Johnson & the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entering

The Carquest Auto Parts Winternationals:

Kurt Knows How to Win the Winternationals: This will be KJ's 14th Winternationals, where he has one win (in 2001) in two final round appearances, and a 22-12 elimination round record for a .647 win percentage.

KJ Overall at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona: This will be Kurt's 27th race at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, where he has four wins in seven final round appearances, and a 46-21 elimination round record for a .687 round-win percentage.

Auto Club Raceway at Pomona Record Holder: Kurt holds the track top speed record at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona at 207.62 mph, which he set in qualifying at the 2005 Auto Club of Southern California Finals last November.

One year ago: Kurt qualified second with an elapsed time of 6.706 seconds and a top speed of 206.35 mph, and advanced to the semi-finals.

-j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson