Richmond: Kurt Johnson Saturday notes

Kurt Johnson charges to No. 2 starting spot at Virginia Motorsports Park RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 10, 2009 -- When a cold front moved through the area surrounding Virginia Motorsports Park this afternoon, Kurt Johnson knew his final qualifying...

Kurt Johnson charges to No. 2 starting spot at Virginia Motorsports Park

RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 10, 2009 -- When a cold front moved through the area surrounding Virginia Motorsports Park this afternoon, Kurt Johnson knew his final qualifying attempt for the NHRA Virginia Nationals would be fast. What he couldn't foresee was that the ACDelco Chevrolet would climb to the No. 2 starting spot with a 6.546-second run at 210.64 mph, and give Johnson a career-best time and speed, and the fifth quickest Pro Stock elapsed time in the history of the sport.

"This place is pretty special because it seems like as long as the weather cooperates, the track keeps getting better," Johnson said. "The big, big swing from Q3 to Q4, we were looking at improving another three or four hundredths -- but we picked up eight hundredths!

"The track is unbelievable and the air got decent -- it's like you can throw whatever you can at this place and it just sticks. To go out there and run a personal best -- best speed, best e.t., I'll remember this day for awhile."

Johnson entered the final qualifying session qualified in the No. 7 slot with a 6.628 second run, and fairly confident that it would be good enough to stay in the 16-car field. But when the cars running in front of Johnson's qualifying pair began to break into the 6.50s, the veteran competitor knew he would need a solid number just to stay in the show. His 6.546-second run was good enough for his best qualifying effort since late March when he was the No. 2 for the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals in Houston..

"We knew if we didn't make a good run we'd get bumped out," Johnson said. "We went to the staging lanes thinking the 6.62 would keep us in, so we actually experimented a little on that run with some components that we knew a little bit about, but we weren't completely sure. We weren't 100 percent positive that we were going to have a package that was going to go down through there perfectly. We thought it would be good enough to go better than a 6.62, but there was a little suspense in the air. It made it exciting."

Johnson expects Sunday's times to be just as quick as they were today.

"The adjusted altitude for that run tonight was around 1100 feet," Johnson said, "and tomorrow we're looking at an adjusted altitude of around 650 feet for the first eliminator session,. It's going to be just as fast tomorrow if not faster."

Johnson occupied the No. 1 slot until the final qualifying pair when Mike Edwards drove his Young Life Pontiac to a 6.531 e.t. at 211.26 mph. That means that the ACDelco driver will face No. 15 qualifier John Nobile in round one of eliminations on Sunday.

"This ACDelco Chevrolet is a race car that can win tomorrow," Johnson said.."That's our plan, to forget about everything else and turn on the win light four times."

-credit: jjr

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Mike Edwards