Mark Christopher Auto Center Chevrolet Cobalt
K.J. looks to make his points in Reading
Reading, prerace: As the 2005 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing season enters its final five races, the attention has shifted to the championship races in the four professional categories. ACDelco Cobalt pilot Kurt Johnson, who has put on a tremendous surge during the mid to late summer races, finds himself in the thick of the Pro Stock title fight, sitting in the second position entering this weekend’s Toyo Tires Nationals.
However, with the number of remaining races dwindling, Johnson knows he must maximize every points scoring opportunity as he looks to close in on the top spot, and this real car guy arrives in Pennsylvania with a very basic game plan.
“We’re going to Reading looking to win the race,” stated Johnson. “We’ve been working on a few things since Indianapolis, made a few runs on a questionable track in Atlanta, and, depending on the weather, will try to get in one more day of testing before heading up to Maple Grove. In any case, we’ll be ready for the first qualifying session on Friday.
“I’ve spent some time going over my notes, seeing where we need to be with the tune-up in our ACDelco Cobalt. With the season winding down, those POWERade points are everything. We need to be spot on in every aspect of the team, so we can start scoring more points than everyone else again.
Fortunately, this weekend the tightly-knit ACDelco crew will be racing at a track where they have done well in the past. In only 10 previous starts, K.J. has already amassed three wins at Maple Grove Raceway, which is second behind his father Warren Johnson for the most by a Pro Stock competitor. Entering this crucial stretch of three races on consecutive weekends, the team is determined to get off to a good start by scoring their fourth win of 2005.
“Reading is just as good as any track for us to get on another hot streak,” said Johnson. “We’ve won there three times, but not since 2000, so I’d say our ACDelco Cobalt is due. It’s a really decent surface for our Pro Stock cars to run on. The only time we have a problem is when there’s dew on the track, but with the times we’re scheduled to run this weekend, it shouldn’t be an issue. In addition, you can hear the echo of the race cars in the trees, making Maple Grove a pretty cool place to race.
“But no matter where we are racing, we have to get our program back on track, which I’m confident we’ll do this weekend. These next three races will play a significant role in deciding this year’s championship. Basically, we need to close the gap and take the fight all the way to the end of the year. After all, we only need to lead by one point after Pomona, and we’re looking to start moving in that direction this weekend.”
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