Denver: Kurt Johnson final report

KJ Scores a Strong Semifinal Finish in Denver After qualifying his ACDelco Cobalt in the fifth position for Sunday's final eliminations of the Mile-High Nationals in Denver, CO, Pro Stock contender Kurt Johnson knew he would need a ...

KJ Scores a Strong Semifinal Finish in Denver

After qualifying his ACDelco Cobalt in the fifth position for Sunday's final eliminations of the Mile-High Nationals in Denver, CO, Pro Stock contender Kurt Johnson knew he would need a virtually error-free performance in order to overcome his relative unfamiliarity with the new racing surface at Bandimere Speedway and score his third national event win of the year. Things got off to a good start in the first round, as rookie Rickie Jones' red-light start gave him the automatic round win.

This set the stage for a second-round encounter with former champion Jason Line. Racing without lane choice, Johnson used a nearly-perfect .004 reaction time to gain the advantage by five hundredths of a second and never looked back, using a strong 7.046-second, 195.56 mph pass to advance to the semifinals for the seventh time this season.

The final obstacle between Johnson and his 71st career final round was No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson. Once again, KJ was first off the line, with his .015 reaction time giving him the edge by nearly two hundredths of a second. Unfortunately, his 7.052-second, 195.36 mph pass came up three thousandths of a second shy, as his rival used a 7.031-second run to gain the narrow victory.

"We knew our race against Greg would be close, and it came down to three thousandths of a second at the stripe. Unfortunately, he picked it up from the second round, while we ran about the same, and it cost us. You're disappointed any time you don't win, and knowing that was a race we could have won doesn't make it any easier.

"Still, the ACDelco Cobalt crew did a great job today, and I felt I did a good job of driving. We gained points on most of our competitors, and inched closer to locking ourselves in the Countdown to One. The bottom line is that we just didn't have enough data on this new surface. I enjoy the challenge of racing at Bandimere, but it's time to get back to racing in conditions we're a little more familiar with. We're definitely looking forward to Seattle."

-credit: j2r

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Greg Anderson , Jason Line , Rickie Jones