Commerce: Kurt Johnson final summary

KJ Drives His Way to the Semifinals in Atlanta ACDelco Cobalt pilot Kurt Johnson used his considerable driving skills to power his way to a semi-final finish in Sunday's final eliminations of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals...

KJ Drives His Way to the Semifinals in Atlanta

ACDelco Cobalt pilot Kurt Johnson used his considerable driving skills to power his way to a semi-final finish in Sunday's final eliminations of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals in Atlanta, GA.

After trying numerous combinations throughout qualifying in an attempt to adapt his race car to the tricky Atlanta Dragway surface, Johnson, who qualified 12th, knew he would need to help his program in whatever way possible in order to challenge for the win. His efforts paid immediate dividends when he combined a lightning-quick .017-second reaction time with a 6.710-second, 206.35 mph pass to defeat noted leaver and No. 5 qualifier David Connolly on a hole shot in the first round, with Connolly recording a much quicker 6.664-second time in defeat.

It was a similar situation in the second round, as Johnson once again used a starting line advantage to eliminate Erica Enders. The final obstacle between KJ and his 67th career final round appearance was No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson. Running without the benefit of lane choice, KJ drilled Anderson at the starting line, holding a massive seven hundredths of a second advantage as he cleared the tree.

However, just as it seemed he would pull off his third consecutive hole shot victory and advance to the final, he found himself fighting to maintain control of his car, slowing to a 6.789-second clocking and allowing his opponent's 6.678-second time to overcome Johnson's lead and edge him at the line.

"We're pleased to have gone some rounds, but upset that the track bit us and that our car is just not running the way it has in the past. We're using different components that we did last year, and we're still trying to get a handle on what it takes to make this package perform consistently.

"This was the first we raced on a track this hot and ugly with this particular set-up, so it's all related. For example, we made three runs today and gathered some valuable information. Putting it simply, we know what to work on, but just ran out of runs.

"Sometimes, the driver has to overcome what the race car is going to do. You always give one thousand per cent, trying to bust that .15 or .25 light, but you never really know how you're going to perform. Fortunately, today I was able to drive well, and it helped.

"It's unfortunate that I was on my game, and the car wasn't. The bottom line is that our ACDelco Cobalt has got to perform better, so we can be consistent and go into eliminations with lane choice, giving us the best chance to go rounds and win races. We're happy to have made it to the semis, but we should have been in the finals, so we're going to get to work and fix this thing."

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Greg Anderson , David Connolly