Denver: GM Racing final report

Krisher Puts Chevy in Pro Stock Finals at Mile-High Nationals Valvoline Chevy Cobalt Driver Turns in his Best Performance of Season at Denver MORRISON, Colo., July 15, 2007 - Race No. 13 on the 23-race NHRA POWERade schedule proved to be a lucky...

Krisher Puts Chevy in Pro Stock Finals at Mile-High Nationals
Valvoline Chevy Cobalt Driver Turns in his Best Performance of Season at Denver

MORRISON, Colo., July 15, 2007 - Race No. 13 on the 23-race NHRA POWERade schedule proved to be a lucky one for Chevy Pro Stock driver Ron Krisher as he turned around a disappointing season by driving the Valvoline Chevy Cobalt to today's Pro Stock final round at the 28th annual Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Krisher looked like he had the car to beat in today's eliminations as he posted the quickest elapsed time in each of the first three rounds before a broken transmission in the finals relegated him runner-up to Allen Johnson. In the finals Johnson drove his Dodge to an elapsed time of 7.132 seconds at 192.47 mph as Krisher slowed to a 16.720 e.t. at 48.95 mph.

"We broke the transmission - it dead-headed," Krisher said. "It doesn't come out of first gear and just stays in first, and then it goes to the moon. It's a shame. We had a good 60-foot (time), a good light, everything we needed to win that (final) round. It's been a long time waiting. It's been one tremendously bad year and we've struggled."

Krisher started the 2007 season with 11 consecutive DNQs as the team struggled with horsepower but broke through last week at Bristol by qualifying 12th. His turnaround coincided with his decision to enter into an engine-lease program with Victor Cagnazzi Racing starting with the Norwalk race two weeks ago.

"At Norwalk we got a little bit lost on what to do with the motor because we really didn't understand it. We didn't have a handle on the tune-up on the motor, and we didn't have a handle on what to do. At Bristol we did a little better but had some problems with a shorted-out water pump in final qualifying. In this race it really started coming together and then somebody throws a roadblock out there. What are you going to do? I don't get upset and I don't get too excited. Everybody here did a good job today, and when something breaks, it breaks. That's just the way it is. Sure, I would've liked to have won that race, but Allen Johnson wanted to win that race too. It's that simple. We have good people, we got a lot of help today, and we've got a good race car. We'll still struggle a little bit at Seattle running back down at sea level trying to figure out what it is we're going to do, but we'll overcome it, I'll guarantee you we will."

Kenny Koretsky in the Indicom Electric/Nitro Fish Chevy Cobalt has now reached the semifinals in two consecutive races, backing up his runner-up finish last week at Bristol with a semifinal appearance in today's race. The self-proclaimed "Captain Chaos' qualified No. 3 for eliminations and defeated Max Naylor in Round 1 and Jeg Coughlin in Round 2 before losing to Krisher in the semis.

"The guys are doing a great job," Koretsky said. "They've got this Chevy Cobalt really hauling right now, and we're moving up in the points. That's what this is all about. If we can just go a couple of rounds at a time, we can get back in this Chase. That's what we're counting on.

I think (our strong performance) has been a combination of things. We have a new motor from Steve Schmidt. That was the motor we started the beginning of the year with, and we got that back and it looks like it's pretty good. The guys have a good handle on the chassis and a good handle on the clutch, and I'm driving my butt off. You know, I lost 25 pounds and I think that's helped a lot. I got a new seat and I feel comfortable in the car. And the more you drive these things, the better you get. I shifted it perfectly every run this weekend, so it's a happy thing to be up here in Denver and run this good. I think I've served notice that there's a new sheriff in town, but the problem is he's called 'Captain Chaos.'"

Warren Johnson in the GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO also gave his title hopes a shot in the arm with his first Pro Stock semifinal-round appearance since Atlanta in May. "The Professor" defeated Dave Connolly in Round 1 and his son and teammate Kurt Johnson on a holeshot in the second round before losing to event-winner Allen Johnson in the semifinal round. His strong Denver performance moves him to within two points of the eighth and final qualifying spot for the Countdown to the Championship with just four races left to qualify.

Points leader Greg Anderson struggled all weekend in the Summit Racing Pontiac GTO, qualifying No. 9 before losing a close second-round match-up with Allen Johnson by .009 seconds. He leaves Denver with an 84-point lead over Chevy driver Jeg Coughlin.

"We just started out behind the eight ball and it took us too long to gain on it," Anderson said. "The last three runs we made we got better with each run, we got closer to the setup and got closer to the leaders, but we just ran out of time. The driver didn't get it done either. I needed to steal us a couple of rounds and buy us a little more time, and I could've gotten that one (against Allen Johnson) if I had had a better light, so that's on me.

"We're also definitely paying the price for not testing here. It just took us too long to figure out what we wanted to do here. It took us until second or third round on Sunday to get a handle on it, and the driver didn't buy us another round, so we ran out of time, basically, and we're not going to win this race. It's disappointing. We're kind of kicking ourselves we didn't come out here and test, but that was our decision and we made it. We elected to stay in the shop and work on engines because of the tight schedule, and obviously it was a mistake."

In Top Fuel, Team Chevy's Larry Dixon in his Don Prudhomme Racing SkyTel dragster continued his recent hot streak by advancing to at least the semifinals for the fourth time in the last five races, including back-to-back wins at Chicago and Englishtown last month. The Avon, Ind., resident lost to eventual event-winner Rod Fuller in the Top Fuel semifinals, but his recent stretch of strong performances has moved him into second place in points behind Fuller.

David Rampy from Piedmont, Ala., showed why he's the winningest driver in Competition Eliminator with his third win in the last four races, driving his Chevy-powered '32 Bantam to his 66th career win in the class by defeating Will Hatcher. Other Sportsman class winners included Gary Stinnett from Emporia, Kan., in Stock Eliminator behind the wheel of his '69 Camaro, John Dexter from Centennial, Colo., driving a '68 Camaro to the Super Street crown, and Kevin Moore from nearby Littleton, Colo., winning Super Gas in his '34 Chevy.

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Don Prudhomme , Kenny Koretsky , Allen Johnson , David Rampy , Steve Schmidt , Rod Fuller , Max Naylor , Dave Connolly