KING DEMON CROWN
Kurt Johnson is $50,000 richer after bagging the title of the 19th annual King Demon Crown, the yearly special event for the top-eight Pro Stock qualifiers from the previous 12 months. Johnson handily beat an out-of-shape Greg Anderson in the final round to claim his third King Demon Crown title.
After a side-by-side start, the two best drivers in the Pro Stock class appeared to be in the midst of a mirror-image race, but a few hundred feet into the run Anderson's car swerved wildly and he had to lift off the accelerator to maintain control. That was all K.J. needed and he streaked away for an easy 6.753-second win.
"Greg certainly has a good combination for this track," Johnson said. "He's running 6.68 and 6.70 out there and we had a 6.71 so I went into the final with some concern. I wasn't worried about it, but I was concerned.
"We weren't great in the finals. We had a 6.75. But Greg said one of his tires got out of the groove and it pushed him hard towards the wall. That was pretty much it for him and it allowed us to get the win.
"I really want to thank Barry Grant for putting this program on and supporting it like he has. He awarded us a really nice trophy about three feet high and the $50,000 top prize will help the bottom line at WJ Enterprises."
Johnson emerged from the bottom half of the grid and powered his ACDelco Chevrolet Cavalier past Jeg Coughlin Jr. and his father, Warren Johnson, before squaring off with Anderson, who set a new national elapsed time mark of 6.684 seconds in the semifinals of this event.
Starting from the No. 2 position, Anderson, a King Demon Crown rookie, blew by Allen Johnson and Jim Yates to get his Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am to the money round.
Anderson receives $10,000 consolation money for his runner-up effort. Yates and Warren Johnson each pocket $3,000 for making it to the semis, while first-round finishers Mark Whisnant, Coughlin, Allen Johnson, and Ron Krisher will cash $2,500 paychecks.
Barry Grant, owner of Demon Carburetors, provides a total prize pot of $145,000 for the King Demon Crown event. Aside from the $76,000 awarded on race day, Grant gives each of the 23 low qualifiers from the last year a $3,000 check for earning the No. 1 qualifying position at each of the 23 national events on the POWERade Drag Racing Series.
Additionally, if Kurt Johnson manages to win this weekend's 34th annual K&N Filters SuperNationals presented by Pep Boys, the NHRA will award him a $25,000 "Double-up" bonus.