Lane Choice Bites KJ in Atlanta In the highly competitive world of NHRA Pro Stock Racing, lane choice can often play a major role. In fact, competitors work throughout qualifying and eliminations to ensure they are able to choose their side...
Lane Choice Bites KJ in Atlanta
In the highly competitive world of NHRA Pro Stock Racing, lane choice can often play a major role. In fact, competitors work throughout qualifying and eliminations to ensure they are able to choose their side of the track on race day. Therefore, it was somewhat ironic that having lane choice actually worked against Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt crew during Sunday's final eliminations of the Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals in Atlanta, GA.
After qualifying second, Johnson looked to extend his string of advancing to at least the semifinals to three races. Things went according to plan in the first round, as he used a solid reaction time and a 6.719-second, 205.76 mph pass to defeat Ron Krisher, who ran a slightly quicker 6.715-second elapsed time in the losing effort.
This set the stage for a second-round encounter against veteran Larry Morgan. With the luxury of lane choice, Johnson opted for the preferred right hand side. When the lights turned green, KJ used a stellar .009 reaction time to gain the advantage by over two hundredths of a second, and seemed headed for the win. However, midway through the run, he found himself fighting to regain control of his race car, which had started to fishtail unexpectedly. Finally, he was forced to shut off prematurely, allowing his rival to overcome his lead and put a premature end to Johnson's day.
"With the exception of Friday night, the right lane had been better all weekend, so as the first pair in the second round, we chose that side. Unfortunately in cleaning up the left lane after an oil down by the last pair of Funny Cars, something apparently changed our lane completely.
"I had him by two hundredths on the tree, and thought we were on our way. I never expected to go out and have it start spinning violently in third gear. I put it in fourth to try to calm it down, but it was bouncing and out of control.
"Usually, I'm able to roll out of the throttle fairly easily, but this was so severe at such a high speed for so long that I had to get out of it completely to get it back underneath me. It was so out of shape that I couldn't even afford to take my hands off the wheel to hit the 'chutes, because I was trying to drive it. Winning that round wasn't worth crashing the race car.
"We felt as if we could have gained some points on the leaders today, but it just didn't happen. Fortunately, our ACDelco Cobalt is running well, so we'll test tomorrow and head to Columbus. We'll just keep whittling it down."