Seattle: Kurt Johnson preview

KJ & Seattle Have a History Together ACDelco Cobalt crew preps for successful defense of 2005 Pacific Raceways win Sugar Hill, Ga., July 18, 2006 -- This weekend, the POWERade Drag Racing Series will be making its annual visit to the Pacific...

KJ & Seattle Have a History Together

ACDelco Cobalt crew preps for successful defense of 2005 Pacific Raceways win

Sugar Hill, Ga., July 18, 2006 -- This weekend, the POWERade Drag Racing Series will be making its annual visit to the Pacific Northwest with the running of the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals in Kent, WA. For most racers it is simply the second stop on the traditional "Western Swing", a demanding three consecutive weekends of racing, where teams travel from Denver to Seattle to Sonoma to kick off the second half of the season.

However, every trip to Pacific Raceways elicits additional special memories for Pro Stock standout Kurt Johnson, for it was at this track in 1993 that he earned his first NHRA national event win as a promising rookie. Thirteen years later, as he returns for this year's edition, the ACDelco Cobalt racer arrives not only as an established star in this highly competitive division, but also as the defending champion, having won this event a year ago. Despite his elevated status, his desire to win remains just as strong.

"The entire ACDelco Cobalt crew is pretty excited to go back to Seattle," said Johnson. "Every driver in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock can tell you where they won their first race and what that track means to them. For me, that means Pacific Raceways. As the site of my first win, any categorization of Seattle includes either the number one or the letter A because it's at the top. We've also done well there since then, with a total of three wins in twelve tries, so we're batting just about .250, which is pretty good in drag racing.

"Overall, it's not a bad track. It's nice and wide, and it goes downhill. It's also located in a beautiful part of the country, where things seems a little more relaxed. We're hoping that will be a key -- keeping our focus while staying relaxed, and picking up our fourth Seattle winner's trophy."

Despite his impressive record in previous Seattle outings, Johnson knows that, with the level of competition in the Pro Stock elevated higher than ever, in order to successfully defend his title he will need to extract maximum from both himself and his race car. After a less-than-satisfactory result in Denver one week ago, the entire ACDelco crew is determined to bounce back with a strong showing in the Evergreen State.

"We expected to do much better than we did in Denver, but things just didn't work out," explained Johnson. "We had a car we felt was capable of winning the race, but we got bit in the first round, which was the first time that happened since Houston in April. It left a sour taste in our mouth, but we're not going to waste time worrying about it.

"The atmospheric conditions in Kent will be completely different from last week, so we'll have to make the right changes in the gearing and the rest of the set-up to take advantage of the better air. We'll look at our notes from last year and re-carburetor, re-gear and regroup, get ourselves in the show and see if we can put it together. It will certainly feel better to go fast, but the key is to get win lights, which is what this ACDelco Cobalt Racing team is looking for -- wins."

-j2r

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson