Kurt Johnson Powers to a Runner-Up Finish in Houston After being the dominant car in qualifying and earning the No. 1 qualifying position at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, TX, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entered ...
Kurt Johnson Powers to a Runner-Up Finish in Houston
After being the dominant car in qualifying and earning the No. 1 qualifying position at the O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston, TX, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team entered Sunday's final eliminations at Houston Raceway Park determined to turn that performance into their first win of the 2008 season.
The red, white and blue crew got off to a good start, posting the quickest elapsed time in each of the first two rounds at 6.643 and 6.655 seconds to eliminate John Nobile and their teammate (and Kurt's father) Warren Johnson.
In the semifinals, Kurt was the beneficiary of V. Gaines red-light start, propelling him to the 68th final round of his career. However, difficulties with the clutch slowed him to a 6.695-second elapsed time, ceding lane choice to his opponent Greg Anderson for the final. This proved to be costly, as the left hand side of the track had been consistently slower throughout the weekend, with racers in that lane forced to shut off in three of the four runs just prior to the final.
Unfortunately, Kurt suffered a similar fate as severe tire shake at the hit of the throttle shot him drastically off to the right, forcing him to lift off the throttle in order to avoid crossing the center line, with the win going to his opponent. Although naturally disappointed by not being able to complete the weekend sweep, Johnson acknowledged it had still been a productive weekend.
"On one hand, I'm almost as disappointed today as I was in Gainesville, but know we actually had a good day. I just hate that we missed an opportunity when we ran so well. In actuality, we lost the race when we lost lane choice in the semifinals.
"We should have been able to go A to B in the final, but obviously several people had issues with that lane throughout the day before us. It just spun and shook and hooked to the right, and that was all she wrote. I felt I could have run a 6.65 or 6.66, which could have been enough to get around Greg if we had just been able to get off the starting line, which is one of several problem areas on this track, but it's hard to get traction when there are rocks sticking up. It was a problem last year that should have been addressed before this year.
"But we'll move on, happy in the knowledge that our ACDelco Cobalt ran well. We were the No. 1 qualifier and made a nice move in the points. I feel confident moving forward. I'm driving well, and had good lights today with the exception of the semis, when we burned the clutch out. We're headed to Vegas, where we've run well and Atlanta, another good track for us. We're going to keep working, nipping away at the points and doing everything we can to win."