With Family on Hand, KJ Looks for a Vintage Performance in Sonoma ACDelco Cobalt crew aims to improve on last year's runner-up finish Sugar Hill, Ga., July 25, 2006 -- One of the toughest sections of the 2006 POWERade Drag Racing season will...
With Family on Hand, KJ Looks for a Vintage Performance in Sonoma ACDelco Cobalt crew aims to improve on last year's runner-up finish
Sugar Hill, Ga., July 25, 2006 -- One of the toughest sections of the 2006 POWERade Drag Racing season will come to an end this weekend as the NHRA puts the wraps on its traditional Western Swing. Having already visited Denver and Seattle, the straight-line set will head to the California wine country for the final stop on their three-races-in-three weeks tour, the NHRA California Nationals in Sonoma, CA.
With four days between the Seattle and Sonoma races, Kurt Johnson took advantage of the time to travel down the coast with his wife Kathy and their three children, daughter Erin and sons Conner and Jarrett. Climbing into the team's minivan, the Johnsons made the 800-mile trek in three days, stopping at various points of interest and simply enjoying the time together.
Although welcoming the brief respite from the pressure of competition, the second-generation racer also looks forward to returning to action at Infineon Raceway, where he hopes to capitalize on the performance his ACDelco Cobalt Racing team has shown of late, including five straight starts in the top half of the field.
"It was tremendous to travel with my family during the week, making the trip down the coast together," stated Johnson. "As hectic as our schedule can get during the season, we try to take advantage of any time we can spend together, and this was a perfect opportunity. However, they understand that my primary focus once we get to California will once again be on racing, and getting our ACDelco Cobalt back to the winner's circle.
"In the last few races, we've done a good job in qualifying, but with the exception of Chicago, haven't quite been able to put it together on race day. As strong as these fields have become in Pro Stock, every piece of the puzzle must be in place in order to win. From the driver and crew to the race car, we all have to do our jobs to the absolute best. That's our game plan for Sonoma -- now it's a matter of not so simple execution."
Located just north of San Francisco in the heart of the Napa Valley, Infineon Raceway is one of the crown jewels on the NHRA circuit, offering racers and fans tremendous scenery as well as the potential for record-setting performances. Having won there in 2000, and coming off a runner-up performance one year ago, Johnson knows what it takes to succeed in Sonoma, and looks to deliver another vintage performance this weekend.
"Personally, I think Infineon Raceway is a great place to wrap up the Western Swing," opined Johnson. "The changing weather conditions, where it can be cool in the morning, and scorching hot in the afternoon, challenge the tuners who must come up with a tune-up to adapt to whatever Mother Nature gives us, making for a great weekend of racing.
"Besides, it's one of Bruton Smith's tracks, so we know it is a superb facility that is also run properly, which can make a huge difference throughout the course of the weekend. We've won there in the past, and were the runners-up a year ago, making it the perfect place for the ACDelco Cobalt crew to put it all together and start closing the gap between ourselves and the top spot. If we do that, I know we'll have the perfect wine to toast our success."
Quick Notes on Kurt Johnson & the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entering
The California NHRA Nationals:
Kurt Has Been A Winner in the Wine Country: This will be KJ's 14th career appearance at Infineon Raceway, where he has one win (in 2000) in three final round appearances and a 20-12 elimination round record for a .625 win percentage.
KJ's Sonoma Qualifying Stats: In his 13 previous career starts at Infineon Raceway, Kurt has four No. 1 qualifying performances (including one year ago), 11 starts in the top half of the field, and an average starting position of 4.923.