Sonoma: Kurt Johnson preview

Kurt Johnson sets sights on Sonoma win ACDelco crew looks to uncork a winning performance in the Napa Valley SUGAR HILL, GA., July 30, 2003 - This weekend, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' West Coast Swing will come to a close at Infineon...

Kurt Johnson sets sights on Sonoma win
ACDelco crew looks to uncork a winning performance in the Napa Valley

SUGAR HILL, GA., July 30, 2003 - This weekend, the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series' West Coast Swing will come to a close at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA. With three races in as many weeks, this traditional test of both man and machine often plays a major role in deciding that year's champions.

However, through the first two legs of the 2003 edition, the three primary participants in the Pro Stock division have essentially held serve, with third place Warren Johnson and current points leader Greg Anderson each claiming a win. Sitting second, ACDelco Cavalier driver Kurt Johnson comes to the Bay Area prepared to make a move of his own, while keeping the title chase in its proper perspective.

"Although you're never happy unless you're in first place, this ACDelco team is far from concerned," stated Johnson. "There are nine races left in the season, and a lot can happen in that time. We have the necessary pieces - it's up to us to put them together."

"Greg (Anderson) has had things pretty smooth for virtually the entire year. Meanwhile, we've battled through a couple rough stretches, and still are just a little more than one race out of the points lead. We're overdue for some good luck, and I believe we're about to hit our stride."

After battling unique racing conditions over the last two weeks, the straight-liners will return to more normal circumstances in Sonoma. One year removed from a major renovation, Infineon Raceway is a state-of-the-art facility boasting modern grandstands and an outstanding racing surface, which should produce outstanding racing in all divisions.

"Infineon Raceway is the perfect spot to finish out the West Coast Swing," stated Johnson. "It is a great facility with a racing surface that allows us to apply all the horsepower we can make, although with the temperatures forecasted to be in the 90's this weekend, we may not be as fast as we usually are in Sonoma."

"However, our ACDelco Cavalier has shown that it is as good as any car in Pro Stock, and we have a proven hot weather set up that we'll use. It is shaping up to be a very good weekend, and if we do our jobs, we'll be toasting ourselves in the winner's circle with some outstanding wine from the Napa Valley."

Facts on Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Racing Team entering the NHRA Sonoma Nationals:

Kurt at Infineon:

This will be Kurt's eleventh appearance at Infineon Raceway, where he has scored one win (in 2000) in two final round appearances. In his ten previous starts, he has compiled a 15-9 elimination round record, for a .625 winning percentage.

KJ Starts Strong in Sonoma:

KJ has been the No.1 qualifier in Sonoma three times (1995, 1996 & 1999), and has qualified in the top half of the field in all his previous attempts, with an overall average of 3.8.

One year ago:

Kurt qualified seventh in Sonoma with an elapsed time of 6.813 seconds and a top speed of 202.39 mph, and advance to the quarterfinals.

Traveling in Elite Company:

Kurt's 27 national event victories tie him with Cory McClenethan for 15th on the all-time NHRA professional win list, and give him sole possession of fifth in the Pro Stock Career Victories, breaking a tie with legendary Pro Stock driver Lee Shepherd. Kurt's most recent win came at the Lucas Oil NHRA Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, IL.

POWERade Points standings:

After the fourteenth of 23 events, Kurt sits second in the 2003 POWERade Championship standings with 1127 points, 112 behind current leader Greg Anderson, and 184 ahead of his father, Warren Johnson, who is in third. Kurt finished sixth in 2002, his tenth consecutive Top 10 finish.

Winning percentage:

Kurt's .641 elimination round winning percentage (330-185) ranks 11th among all active NHRA professional drivers.

Career best elapsed time: 6.716 seconds, Englishtown, NJ, 2003

Career best top speed: 206.61 mph, Englishtown, NJ, 2003

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson