Charlotte: Justin Humphreys final report

Justin Humphreys surprise Pro Stock winner in inaugural race at zMax Dragway CONCORD, N.C., Sept. 14, 2008 -- It wasn't the way Justin Humphreys envisioned his first NHRA Pro Stock victory would unfold, but he wasn't about to give up the ...

Justin Humphreys surprise Pro Stock winner in inaugural race at zMax Dragway

CONCORD, N.C., Sept. 14, 2008 -- It wasn't the way Justin Humphreys envisioned his first NHRA Pro Stock victory would unfold, but he wasn't about to give up the opportunity.

In an unusual conclusion to the inaugural Carolina Nationals at zMax Dragway, Humphreys' title-winning run took 19.849 seconds and topped out at 42.40 mph while his opponent -- and new teammate -- Kurt Johnson sat in his car at the starting line because his motor wouldn't start.

This also happened to be the first race Humphreys was using an engine supplied by Warren and Kurt Johnson.

As the two cars moved into position for their match, Humphreys' car started but Johnson's did not. The crew push-started it but Johnson had to shut it off because push-starts are not allowed. And Johnson's motor refused to start.

"I wanted Kurt to be in the other lane," said Humphreys. "It's definitely not as exciting when you make a solo run, but I was excited and happy to be in the winner's circle -- a Wally (the nickname of the winning trophy for NHRA founder Wally Parks) is a Wally and win is a win.'

"I did the burn out as far as I could and backed up a slow as I could, trying to give Kurt enough time to start the car," Humphreys continued. "And when I let out the clutch, the car shook real hard and I had to shut it off."

Humphreys, meanwhile, had no gimmes en route to the title round. He needed a .010-second reaction time in the first round to get a holeshot win over Rob Mansfield (6.754 at 206.07 to 6.722 at 207.11) and he left first and stayed in front to defeat Jim Yates (6.714, 206.20 to 6.728, 205.88) in the quarterfinals.

The semifinal-round against Coughlin was a tough won, which Humphreys won by 13-thousandths of a second, 6.707 to 6.708.

This was Humphreys' second final round in 42 NHRA races. He was runner-up to Jeg Coughlin by six-thousandths of a second at Pomona, Calif., last November. He was a Sport Compact and Nopi champion before moving into Pro Stock.

This was the first time in more than three months that Humphreys drove his Pontiac. He spent 10 races in a Dodge after his original engine supplier left, and he joined the Johnsons 10 days ago.

"We've had an up-and-down season, but working with Warren and Kurt has been awesome," Humphreys concluded. "It felt good being back in my Pontiac, too."

Humphreys will be in the RaceRedi Pontiac Friday for the beginning of the O'Reilly Super Start Batteries Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis.

-credit: rrm

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Justin Humphreys