SEATTLE; August 1, 1999 - Kurt Johnson woke from his self-described "nightmare" and found himself standing in the winner's circle at the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals. Johnson decisively broke an eight-race victory drought by...
SEATTLE; August 1, 1999 - Kurt Johnson woke from his self-described "nightmare" and found himself standing in the winner's circle at the Prolong Super Lubricants Northwest Nationals. Johnson decisively broke an eight-race victory drought by scoring his third win of the season and the 15th of his career at Seattle International Raceway. K.J. enjoyed the race of his dreams, utterly dominating the Pro Stock division in the 13th round of the 22-race NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.
"It's been so long since we won - four months ago in Houston," Kurt recalled. "We set the national record in Virginia, and then we started to shake the tires at every race we went to. It was the biggest nightmare of my life. I knew the problem wasn't the car; it was the people working on it. We just had to get our act together and tune it right."
Johnson was unstoppable at SIR, the site of his first Pro Stock victory as a rookie racer in 1993. His ACDelco Camaro ran the quickest elapsed time of the event, set the SIR track record at 6.876 seconds, and topped 200 mph six times - twice in qualifying and in all four rounds of eliminations. Kurt's final-round victory over Jim Yates, 6.923/200.44 to 6.962/198.00, denied Yates the $50,000 Winston "No Bull" bonus.
Warren and Kurt qualified first and second respectively in Seattle, the seventh time this season that the Johnsons have topped the qualifying list. K.J. was never seriously challenged on race day; he defeated Tony Gillig with the quickest run of the race, then turned back Allen Johnson and Troy Coughlin to advance to the final round for the fourth time in 1999. He was first off the starting line in the decisive match with Yates, and increased his lead with a quicker e.t.
"This track has always been a driver's track," Kurt declared after his fourth final-round in Seattle in seven starts. "You let the clutch out and know the car is going to go down the racetrack."
As much as Kurt would like to run every race at SIR, the NHRA tour will move on to its final stop on the three-race "Western Swing" at Sears Point Raceway on August 6-8.
KURT JOHNSON RACE RESULTS: Qualifying: Kurt Johnson qualified No. 2 at 6.909/200.14 mph. Eliminations: First Round: Kurt Johnson (6.876/200.95) defeated Tony Gillig (7.774/133.70) Second Round: Kurt Johnson (6.902/200.62) defeated Allen Johnson (6.948/198.44) Semi-Final: Kurt Johnson (6.930/200.08) defeated Troy Coughlin (8.787/109.88) Final Round: Kurt Johnson (6.923/200.44) defeated Jim Yates (6.962/198.00)
Low ET: Kurt Johnson, 6.876 seconds (track record) Top Speed: Warren Johnson, 201.10 mph (track record)
POINTS RACE: (After 13 of 22 events) Driver Wins Points 1. Warren Johnson 5 1066 2. Kurt Johnson 3 924 3. Jim Yates 1 793 4. Jeg Coughlin 2 731 5. Richie Stevens 1 663
NEXT RACE: Autolite Nationals, August 6-8, Sonoma, Calif. TV: ESPN2, Aug. 8, 8:00-9:00 p.m. - check local listings.