Gainesville: Kurt Johnson preview
Kurt Johnson Preps for "Perfect" Performance in Gainesville ACDelco Team Sets Sights on Second Gatornationals Title in Three Years Sugar Hill, Ga., March 14, 2005 - One thousandth of a second is an almost imperceptible amount of time, yet in the ...
Kurt Johnson Preps for "Perfect" Performance in Gainesville
ACDelco Team Sets Sights on Second Gatornationals Title in Three Years
Sugar Hill, Ga., March 14, 2005 - One thousandth of a second is an almost imperceptible amount of time, yet in the highly competitive world of NHRA Pro Stock racing, it looms extremely large. It can be the difference between winning and losing, between qualifying and going home early. With so little room for error, competitors must pay strict attention to every little detail.
For example, in the first two races of the 2005 POWERade Drag Racing season, Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Cavalier has consistently been one of the quickest and fastest cars in the category, qualifying second and establishing low elapsed time and top speed of the event en route to a third-place finish in Pomona, followed by a fourth-place qualifying effort in Phoenix. Even so, both he and his crew have spent the time leading up to this weekend's Mac Tools Gatornationals performing a detailed inspection of their race car.
"The fields for Pro Stock have never been tighter," detailed Johnson. "Elapsed times are dropping, speeds are rising, and almost everyone is stepping up their performance. To have any chance at winning, you have to play error-free ball.
"Therefore, we've spent the last two weeks going over our ACDelco Cavalier from nose to tail, taking it completely apart and putting it back together, checking every component to make sure it's perfect. We'd also like to get a few test runs in to complete our preparations, but that will all depend on Mother Nature. In any case, we should be in prime shape for the Gators."
As if the normal pressures of competition were not enough, the Gatornationals are the first major drag race of the year on the East Coast, and one of the best-attended by racers and fans alike. Having won this event two years ago, Johnson can attest that a win at Gainesville Raceway is one of the most cherished accomplishments in the sport, and both he and the ACDelco crew enter this year's edition prepared to double their win total at the Florida quarter-mile.
"I'm extremely confident going into Gainesville," said Johnson. "The car has been flawless, we're making good power, and I believe we have found a solution for our clutch problems, so we should be right on track.
"From what I've heard, the racing surface is better than it's ever been - flat, smooth and straight. I've been going there since 1976 when I went with my father (six-time Pro Stock champion Warren Johnson), which was my first visit to the state of Florida. As I learned then, it's always good when you can head south during the winter.
"One of the nice things about Gainesville Raceway is that it has stayed pretty much the same, and, as a result, has become one of my favorite places to race. We know the town, the back roads into the track and the good places to eat. To win the Gatornationals is very special, and every time I pull into the racetrack, it brings back a lot of good memories. We're looking to add to that list this weekend."
Notes on Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cavalier Racing team entering the Mac Tools Gatornationals:
* KJ in Gainesville: This will be KJ's 13th appearance at the Gatornationals. In his 12 previous starts, he has one win in 2003 in two final round appearances and an 18-11 elimination round record for a .621 win percentage. In addition, he has a 5.5 average starting position with ten starts in the top half of the field.
* One year ago: Kurt qualified seventh with an elapsed time of 6.798 seconds and advanced to the quarter-finals.
* Most recent Gatornationals win: 2003, when he qualified third and defeated Mike Edwards, Mark Whisnant, Greg Anderson and Jeg Coughlin en route to the 24th win of his career.
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