Warren Johnson Grabs Fifth No. 1 Qualifier of Season Connolly Also King Demon Crown Winner at Chicago JOLIET, Ill., June 11, 2005 - Pontiac driver Warren Johnson kept his batting average for qualifying in 2005 at .500 as he posted his fifth...
Warren Johnson Grabs Fifth No. 1 Qualifier of Season
Connolly Also King Demon Crown Winner at Chicago
JOLIET, Ill., June 11, 2005 - Pontiac driver Warren Johnson kept his batting average for qualifying in 2005 at .500 as he posted his fifth No. 1 Pro Stock qualifying position through 10 races in today's final qualifying session for the 8th annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway. On his fourth and final qualifying attempt Johnson drove his GM Performance Parts Pontiac to a 6.762 e.t. at 204.08 mph to unseat his son Kurt from the top spot. Dave Connolly also put Chevy Cobalt in the winner's circle for the first time when he won the $50,000 King Demon Crown, a non-points special event for the top eight Pro Stock qualifiers over the past year.
"We felt like we could run relatively close to what we ran this morning based on the fact that was a new engine," said Johnson. "We made some tune-up adjustments, but we didn't expect it to pick up that much. I guess we don't know as much about this as we thought we did. We're just trying as hard as we can.
"It was a dismal year last year, but we learned a lot that applied to this year. We spent the year developing the DRCE 3 engine (GM's third generation Drag Racing Competition Engine) and it's starting to pay off now. Obviously we didn't forget how to race last year, we just really didn't get the power level as quickly as we thought we could, and it just cost us a year is all it did. This year's results are from hard work by our whole team. We realized the potential, but extracting that potential out of a new engine just took time. There's been 20 years of development on the DRCE 1, and the "2" was an offshoot of that, so to come out with an engine as good as that right away, that's a pretty tall order. There are a lot of bright individuals working on this stuff, and they all incrementally find power, and it was up to us to get to that level as quickly as we could and then hopefully surpass that. We feel like we're just turning the corner right now."
Kurt Johnson in a Chevy Cobalt and Greg Anderson in a Pontiac had identical elapsed times of 6.769 seconds, but Johnson grabbed the No. 2 spot with a quicker speed of 204.08 mph to Anderson's 202.85. Other Pontiac qualifiers included Jason Line in fourth, Jim Yates (14th), Mike Edwards (15th) and Bruce Allen rounding out the 16-car field in 16th.
King Demon Crown winner Connolly starts fifth in a Chevy Cobalt, and he'll be looking to add to today's $50,000 winnings with a $25,000 "double-up" bonus from NHRA for winning tomorrow's eliminations. He defeated Jason Line in the King Demon Crown finals after Line fouled at the start.
"With what this team's been through the last couple of weeks, to come out here and perform like they did at Topeka (Connolly was runner-up to Anderson) and to then come out here and win the King Demon Crown - what a great team. Fred (Simmonds) said something about a first Cobalt win in Topeka, but I forgot about it. Extra thanks to GM for all of the help that they give us."
Other Chevrolet qualifiers include Ron Krisher in sixth, Rickie Smith (10th) and Greg Stanfield (13th).
In Funny Car, Illinois native Tim Wilkerson pleased his fans with a strong fourth-place qualifying effort in his Chevy Monte Carlo with an elapsed time of 4.775 seconds at 322.96 mph. Tony Pedregon and Del Worsham are right behind in their Monte Carlos in fifth and sixth, respectively. Robert Hight is the No. 1 qualifier with a 4.726 e.t. at 328.86 mph.
Tony Schumacher was No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel with an elapsed time of 4.508 seconds at 329.58 mph. Cory McClenathan is qualified fourth at 4.527 seconds and 324.67 mph, and Larry Dixon is qualified sixth at 4.533 and 327.43 mph.
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