Denver: GM Racing Saturday notes

Koretsky Leads Team Chevy in Pro Stock Qualifying at Denver Fan-Favorite Keeps Momentum Going at Mile-High Nationals after Runner-Up MORRISON, Colo., July 14, 2007 - Building on the momentum from last week's final-round appearance in the Pro ...

Koretsky Leads Team Chevy in Pro Stock Qualifying at Denver
Fan-Favorite Keeps Momentum Going at Mile-High Nationals after Runner-Up

MORRISON, Colo., July 14, 2007 - Building on the momentum from last week's final-round appearance in the Pro Stock finals at Bristol, Kenny Koretsky set the pace for Team Chevy after four rounds of qualifying for the 28th annual Mile-High NHRA Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. Koretsky drove his Indicom Electric/Nitro Fish Chevy Cobalt to the No. 3 qualifying position with an elapsed time of 7.047 seconds at 195.03 mph, his best qualifying effort of the season. Kurt Johnson in the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt was next in line in the fourth position with an elapsed time of 7.053 seconds at 195.42 mph. Allen Johnson and Richie Stevens have their Dodges qualified first and second, respectively, to lead the 16-car field into eliminations.

"This is a lot of fun," Koretsky said. "I've got to thank all the guys, and Steve Schmidt building the motors, and Greg Hill. We wouldn't be able to do it without them. It looks like they've got the tune-up back and they got this Chevy Cobalt right. (Chassis builder) RJ (Race Cars) did some work to it, and we re-did some of the work they did. It looks like we're on our game. We're pretty confident going into race day tomorrow. We sat out that last session because we don't have a lot of parts - we're waiting for the new motors to come next week."

Koretsky is coming off an incredible driving performance last week at Bristol where he had holeshot wins over points leader Greg Anderson and fellow Chevy driver Dave Connolly with near-perfect reaction times of .001 and .006, respectively. In only his second career final-round appearance, the popular "Captain Chaos' lost to the No. 2 driver in points, Jeg Coughlin.

"That was really incredible," Koretsky said. "from all the NHRA officials (congratulating us) to all the fans. The most exciting part was when (ESPN announcers) Paul Page and Mike Dunn in the booth for ESPN started getting excited for us. Everybody wants to see a new winner every once in awhile. Obviously we're due here and we want to win one shortly."

Solidly in the field after Friday's two qualifying runs, Kurt Johnson used Saturday as a "test session" to see what would and wouldn't work on his ACDelco Chevy Cobalt and held on to the fourth qualifying position.

"Looking at the atmospheric conditions, we knew we weren't going to pick up today and were pretty sure we wouldn't get bumped out of the fourth spot" Johnson said, "so we elected to try a few different things today. As a result, we were able to break in some tires and learn a few things that will help us not only tomorrow, but in the long run as well. It was something we really needed, making it into a productive day. Having accomplished what we wanted, we'll put our ACDelco Cobalt back to where it was on Friday and get ready to race. It's a combination we know works well on the mountain, and we're looking to get about four round wins out of it tomorrow."

Defending event champion Dave Connolly drove his Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt hopes to duplicate last year's winning effort after qualifying in the fifth position. The Ohio native joins his Victor Cagnazzi Racing teammate Coughlin in the top half of the field and will face "The Professor" Warren Johnson in the first round.

"Overall, we're definitely pleased with the way the car's been performing," Connolly said. "Week in and week out we've got top four cars, and that makes it nice coming to all of the races knowing you have a shot at winning. Even coming up here, we didn't get any time to test or do anything like that and we came out here and qualified both cars in the top half. We tried some things on different runs, like this morning we tried something that didn't really work out well, but when you're limited on your testing schedule, I guess you have to try and use qualifying once you're safely in the show. We'll just kind of look over the notes, see how everything pans out and we'll just try and make the best call for tomorrow and see what we can do out there."

Last week's winner Coughlin in the JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt had four qualifying runs of 7.058, 7.060, 7.071, and 7.075, showing solid consistency which always bode wells for elimination rounds on Sunday. He settled for the sixth qualifying position and faces Larry Morgan in the first round.

"We've definitely been real consistent," Coughlin said. "We made two real good runs down the left (lane), and I think we were quickest of the cars that ran in the right for both sessions. We just didn't run real well last night and ended up sixth for the session. There's a little bit difference in the lanes - maybe a hundredth, some guys are saying even a hundredth and a half. We've got lane choice first round which doesn't hurt, of course, but I'm happy with our consistency and I think we've got a good race car going into Sunday. I just need to get up on the wheel and get out there and race like we know how to."

Ron Krisher in his Valvoline Chevy Cobalt has renewed enthusiasm and performance after entering into an engine-lease program with Victor Cagnazzi Racing. The Pro Stock veteran qualified seventh but showed his car's potential by posting the second-quickest time in today's third qualifying session and the third-quickest pass in qualifying session No. 4.

"Nobody feels better about it than we do," Krisher said. "It's taken a lot of work from a lot of people. We're not smarter than we were before, you just have a lot more room to figure when to race in than what you had before. We made a big change on that last run just to see what it would do, and obviously it was the right direction. We could probably go further if we had another run. I feel real good for tomorrow. Everything's going our way right now and we need to see if we can keep it going."

KB Racing teammates Greg Anderson (points leader) and Jason Line (defending Pro Stock champ) have struggled at the high-altitude of "Thunder Mountain" and will start ninth and 10th, respectively, for tomorrow's eliminations. This was the first time since Phoenix 2005 that both Summit Racing Pontiacs qualified in the bottom half of the 16-car Pro Stock field.

"We're heading in the right direction, that's the positive," Anderson said. "We certainly floundered the first three rounds, but it looks like we finally went the right way so hopefully that will give us enough information to improve on it for tomorrow and be a player. If we don't, we're probably going to be in trouble.

"That's definitely a little bit of a confidence builder - we were down a little bit and that will give us some confidence for tomorrow. At least maybe it should show us what direction we need to go, and maybe we can tune her up a little tomorrow and give everybody a race."

Del Worsham came into Denver looking to close the gap of 55 points that stood between his Checker, Schuck's, Kragen Chevy Impala SS and a spot in the coveted eight in Funny Car points to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, and he's off to a good start after qualifying fifth on the Funny Car ladder for tomorrow's eliminations. The California native drove to his best qualifying effort of the season with an elapsed time of 4.893 seconds at 314.46 mph on a cooler track after today's brief rain delay, and nearly matched it on Friday's night session when he ran a 4.897 e.t. at 318.09 mph.

"You don't get to say this too often in the Funny Car class, but it ran almost exactly what we were trying to run," Worsham said after his Friday night run. "As a matter of fact, my dad told one of the CSK guys, right before the run, that we would run between 4.88 and 4.91, so there you have it. It was really a nice pass, at a very critical time for us. We don't have much cushion, in terms of picking up the points chase to get in the top eight, and the Friday night runs are going to be huge from here on out.

"What we've had, for quite a few races now, is a really fast race car. We've just been working hard at finding the limits with it, and I know we've made some mistakes, but the problems we've had haven't been performance related at all. I'm just really glad we were able to come out here (Friday night) and do that. It gives the guys a lift, and it gives the driver a lift too."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Mike Dunn , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Del Worsham , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Allen Johnson , Jason Line , Steve Schmidt , Dave Connolly