Seattle: Kurt Johnson preview

ACDelco Cobalt Racer returning to site of first NHRA Pro Stock victory KJ Hopes to Repeat History at Pacific Raceways Sugar Hill, Ga., July 18, 2007 -- In 1993, Kurt Johnson arrived at Seattle International Raceway as a rookie NHRA racer.

ACDelco Cobalt Racer returning to site of first NHRA Pro Stock victory
KJ Hopes to Repeat History at Pacific Raceways

Sugar Hill, Ga., July 18, 2007 -- In 1993, Kurt Johnson arrived at Seattle International Raceway as a rookie NHRA racer. Although he had impressed his fellow Pro Stock competitors by reaching three final rounds in his first eleven races, he had yet to complete the picture with his first national event win. All that changed on the weekend of August 8, as he charged from the third starting position at the Kent quarter-mile, defeating veterans Joe Lepone, Steve Schmidt and his father, Warren Johnson in the earlier rounds before defeating Mark Pawuk in the final round to earn his first "Wally".

Fourteen years later, as the POWERade Drag Racing Series returns to the recently renamed Pacific Raceways for this weekend's Schuck's Auto Supply Nationals, the second-generation racer is one of the acknowledged stars of the sport, with a total of 36 national event wins to his credit, and his red, white and blue ACDelco Cobalt a consistent contender every time out. Even so, Johnson enters this event with motivation quite similar to that of his first race in the Pacific Northwest, as he is determined to return to the winner's circle for the first time since the Phoenix event earlier this year.

"This ACDelco Cobalt crew really needs and wants to win," said Johnson. "After all, these first and second-round exits are getting old. We've gotten our act together in qualifying, starting in the top half in six of the last seven races, so we should be going to the semis and finals on a more consistent basis, putting ourselves in position to win. We have a race car that we believe is capable of winning right now, so as long as we get everything going in the right direction, which we should turn things around this weekend in Seattle."

Naturally, Johnson's outlook is bolstered by his prior history of success at Pacific Raceways. With a total of three wins in five final round appearances, he is second behind his Hall of Fame father, Warren Johnson among active Pro Stock racers. In addition, with his most recent victory in the Evergreen State coming only two years ago, he is well versed on what it takes to tame the most recent version of this tricky track. Therefore, there is an air of cautious optimism in the blue crew's camp coming into the weekend.

"Pacific Raceways is a good place to race, especially since they've ground the track," said Johnson. "It's now a smooth and consistent surface. I've won there three times, including my first in '93, and this ACDelco Cobalt crew has qualified second three of the last four years, winning in '05, so we have a pretty good notebook on what set-ups to use. Hopefully we can put that information to work and get back to the winner's circle. It's time to get healthy."

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Steve Schmidt