Las Vegas II: Kurt Johnson final report

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 1, 2009 -- When race day for the 9th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals dawned over Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Kurt Johnson knew that a difficult task lay in front of him, and that defeating No. 1 qualifier and Pro Stock...

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 1, 2009 -- When race day for the 9th annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals dawned over Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, Kurt Johnson knew that a difficult task lay in front of him, and that defeating No. 1 qualifier and Pro Stock points leader Mike Edwards would be no easy feat. But despite diligent preparation on the ACDelco Chevrolet, Johnson came up short in his round-one matchup to the ART Pontiac driver, and Edwards took the win with a 6.655 e.t. at 207.21 mph to Johnson's 6.728-second run at 204.85 mph. Edwards' margin of victory was .025 of a second.

"We were dead tied at halftrack," Johnson said. "He just put a couple of hundredths on me on the back half. He went 207 (mph), and we went 204 (mph), but we finally made a good, smooth run. We changed some components, and learned some stuff that we're going to try and apply testing here tomorrow."

With one race remaining on the 2009 docket, Johnson will return to "The Strip" on Monday for a rigorous test session with the ACDelco Chevrolet. Weather and time permitting, the team is planning on making between seven and nine runs on the track. Johnson is hoping that the session will provide valuable information that will place the ACDelco Chevrolet in the winner's circle in two weeks in Pomona, Calif.

"Between nine a.m. and five p.m. tomorrow, if were really thrashing at it, have a good setup and nothing goes wrong, we can usually run every 45 minutes," Johnson said. "We can probably make seven or eight runs. A lot of it lately is looking at your notes and looking at the run, and there is so much to look at now with all the computer stuff on these cars, that it takes time. Really, if you can make all the runs and look at the information later, sometimes that works the best, too. Bottom line, we'll try and go as fast as we can tomorrow."

The Pro Stock category was won by Larry Morgan, in a Dodge, who defeated Rickie Jones in the finals. In Funny Car, Robert Hight defeated Jack Beckman in the championship round, and in Top Fuel, Spencer Massey defeated Larry Dixon.

The next stop on the tour is the 45th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals on Nov. 12 -- 15 at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. It is the last race on the 24-event NHRA Full Throttle tour.

"We have one shot to keep our winning streak going at Pomona and we're going to get after it," Johnson said. "The NHRA Finals at Pomona is what it's all about. It's been a disappointing year, but it's hills and valleys. We've had wins and we've had losses, and that's why we keep on digging as hard as we can."

-credit: jjr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Larry Dixon , Kurt Johnson , Larry Morgan , Robert Hight , Rickie Jones , Mike Edwards , Spencer Massey