Kurt Johnson Races to Runner-Up Finish in Topeka Kurt Johnson combined his considerable driving skills with a strong performance by his ACDelco Cavalier to score a runner-up finish in Sunday's final eliminations of the O'Reilly Summer Nationals...
Kurt Johnson Races to Runner-Up Finish in Topeka
Kurt Johnson combined his considerable driving skills with a strong performance by his ACDelco Cavalier to score a runner-up finish in Sunday's final eliminations of the O'Reilly Summer Nationals in Topeka, KS. It was Johnson's third final round of the 2004 season, and 53rd of his Pro Stock career.
Starting from the fifth position, Johnson used consecutive 6.84-second passes to post wins over veterans Bruce Allen and Kenny Koretsky in the first two rounds, setting the stage for a semi-final match-up with No. 1 qualifier Steve Johns. Running in the less-preferred right-hand lane, Johnson used the best reaction time of the day in the Pro Stock category at .019 seconds to leave the starting line four hundredths of a second ahead of his opponent, and never looked back, using a 6.861-second run to defeat his opponent's quicker, but losing 6.827-second effort.
For the second time in as many years at Heartland Park Topeka, Johnson would face Greg Anderson in the championship round. Despite looking into the blinding late afternoon sun from the right lane, KJ once again left the line first, powering down the quarter-mile and maintaining the lead through the first 1,000 feet. However, Johnson's 6.845-second, 201.31 mph pass fell five thousandths of second shy of holding off his rival, who posted a 6.833-second effort to gain the extremely narrow victory.
"It was just one of those racing deals. We had made a few adjustments to the clutch linkage before the semis, and I had the .019 against Johns when it was cloudy. However, the sun came out for the final, which made it harder to see the tree. It felt good when I let the clutch out, but it could have been better.
"On top of that, we made another good run, but just after the eighth-mile, it started to spin the tires and head for the wall. That may not be why we lost, but it probably didn't help.
"But even though we didn't get the trophy, we're still pretty pleased with our performance this weekend. Our ACDelco Cavalier was an absolute sweetheart to drive. We've been working non-stop to find some speed, including in qualifying where we tried something that really helped us pick it up for the final, running a 1.00 flat in sixty foot in the heat of the day.
"We'll go back to the shop and work on getting even better. I guarantee this ACDelco Cavalier will be ready to thunder in Columbus."
Qualifying: 5th, 6.871 seconds, 200.56 mph
Pontiac Excitement Nationals, Columbus, Ohio, June 11-13.