"Family Feud" Ends KJ's Day in Brainerd Quaterfinals Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt crew had a quandary heading into Sunday's final eliminations of the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, MN. Although they had qualified fifth with a...
"Family Feud" Ends KJ's Day in Brainerd Quaterfinals
Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt crew had a quandary heading into Sunday's final eliminations of the Lucas Oil Nationals in Brainerd, MN. Although they had qualified fifth with a solid 6.758-second elapsed time, there was some concern about the health of their power plant due to the difference in top speed between their car and teammate (and father) Warren Johnson's GM Performance Parts entry.
Further complicating their decision were the horsepower-friendly cooler temperatures at Brainerd International Raceway on Sunday. However, having found a set-up that seemed well-suited to the challenging surface, they opted to use the same combination for race day that they had in qualifying with adjustments to compensate for the improved atmospheric conditions.
In the first round, things went as planned, as Kurt combined a strong .027 reaction time with a solid 6.714-second, 205.47 mph pass to eliminate V. Gaines, who posted an equally strong 6.715-second time in the losing effort. This set the stage for a second-round match-up with his father, six-time champion Warren Johnson, who held the advantage of lane choice based on his 6.691-second time in his first round victory.
Although he was able to gain the edge on his father at the starting line, the incremental numbers showed a performance difference that quickly dissipated Kurt's lead, and, with his engine continuing its downward spiral, he opted to shut it off early to prevent any further damage, putting a premature end to his day.
"We were somewhat concerned about our performance in qualifying, because our top speed was off what Dad was running. However, we weren't 100% sure the motor was the problem, so after our ACDelco Cobalt made a couple good runs on Saturday to qualify fifth, we decided to stay with a proven package going into eliminations.
"We were able to win in the first round, but, looking at the data, it wasn't a great run, and once again, our top speed wasn't what we wanted it to be. To be honest, we wanted to change engines before the second round, but simply didn't have the time. We tried to make a few adjustments to compensate, but it obviously wasn't happy during the run, so I clicked it early to make sure we didn't hurt it.
"If we had to lose, it's a little easier knowing that it was to Dad and the GM Performance Parts crew. We're not happy leaving without the trophy, but we still helped ourselves in the standings for the Countdown, coming close to clinching a spot. We have a short week ahead with a lot of work to do, but I guarantee we'll be ready for Reading."