A Long Friday Finds KJ Fifth in Memphis The first day of qualifying for the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals was marred by an unexpected downpour which soaked Memphis Motorsports Park just before the first professional qualifying session. This ...
A Long Friday Finds KJ Fifth in Memphis
The first day of qualifying for the O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals was marred by an unexpected downpour which soaked Memphis Motorsports Park just before the first professional qualifying session. This delayed the start of time trials by almost five hours, which forced NHRA officials to limit the number of Friday attempts to only one. Although the delay allowed temperatures, which had skyrocketed to over 100 degrees in the afternoon, to drop into the 80's, racers still had to deal with horsepower-robbing humidity as well as a totally green racetrack, putting crew chiefs to the test.
Even though this is only the second race for Kurt Johnson and his ACDelco Racing team with their new Cobalt, they were able to make the most of the single attempt. Running in the less-preferred right hand lane, Johnson's car pulled to the extreme left from the start, forcing him to display his considerable driving skills in order to save the run. His efforts were rewarded with a 6.784-second, 203.03 mph, which slotted Johnson in the fifth position heading into Saturday's final attempts.
"Tonight was just a roll of the dice for all of us. We had made numerous changes to the suspension and carburetion before coming here and decided to leave the car as is, simply because we didn't know what the track would give us.
"I'm really quite pleased with how our ACDelco Cobalt responded. It didn't make a straight run, and was out of the groove the entire run, which seemed almost fitting considering we were in the bad lane. Even so, we ended up fifth and gathered some valuable tuning information, so we're not totally unhappy.
"For tomorrow, our focus will be on picking up on the four cars ahead of us. We'll make a few changes to help it go straight, and if it does that, we should have a player for Sunday."