The crashing thunder of rock power chords and deep bass crescendos of 1,300 horsepower combined to create a medley of high-performance music together at the official unveiling of Kurt Johnson's ACDelco NHRA Pro Stock Cavalier Z24 on August 14. Featuring artwork by renowned motorsports artist Sam Bass, Johnson's Cavalier sports a visual theme inspired by the rock group KISS.
Johnson was joined by KISS band members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley at the car's unveiling as part of Employee Enthusiasm Day at General Motors Service and Parts Operations headquarters in Grand Blanc, MI. The car will prove that it's more than just a pretty, rock'n'roll painted face when it squares off at the Strip at the ACDelco NHRA POWERade Las Vegas Nationals on October 23-26. Simmons and Stanley will serve as Grand Marshals of the race for the second consecutive year.
This will be Johnson's second tour of duty as the pilot for the KISS Drag Racing Army, having carried their colors during the final two races of the 2002 Pro Stock campaign. With a win in Las Vegas and a No. 1 qualifying position in Pomona, Johnson intends to repeat his success with images inspired by "The Greatest Rock N' Roll Show on Earth" emblazoned on his Cavalier.
"We had a blast with the KISS crew last year, and I know Gene and Paul got a kick out of our sport," Johnson said. "Our goal is to have them once again join us in the winner's circle in Las Vegas."
ACDelco General Manager Scott Mackie explained the linkage between KISS and ACDelco. "There is a natural bond between the people who love racing and those who love rock and roll," Mackie said. "We're ready to build upon the tremendous response we received from last year's promotion, and we're thrilled to welcome KISS back to the ACDelco team."
This marks the second year that Sam Bass will pen the KISS-themed ACDelco ride. Bass, of Charlotte, NC, is well known for his dramatic paint schemes in both the NHRA and NASCAR circuits, including those of current ACDelco drivers Kurt Johnson and Ron Hornaday. A devoted member of the KISS Army, Bass relished the opportunity to design a racecar featuring the band.
"I have been a KISS fan since their debut album," Bass recalls. "When I saw them for the first time in 1976 I was absolutely blown away by their makeup, music and phenomenal stage show. I never could have imagined I would have this incredible opportunity to work with KISS and ACDelco and design their race car. To me this has been the ultimate rock 'n' roll fantasy."