KJ Drops a Heartbreaker in Brainerd After qualifying 13th for Sunday's final eliminations of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, ACDelco Cavalier pilot Kurt Johnson faced an uphill battle in his pursuit of a third national event win in Minnesota. In...
KJ Drops a Heartbreaker in Brainerd
After qualifying 13th for Sunday's final eliminations of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, ACDelco Cavalier pilot Kurt Johnson faced an uphill battle in his pursuit of a third national event win in Minnesota. In the first round, Johnson scored the only upset in the Pro Stock category by defeating No. 4 qualifier Kenny Koretsky with a 6.831-second, 201.79 mph run.
However, facing veteran Bruce Allen in the quarter-finals without lane choice, Johnson knew improvement would be necessary in order to advance to the semi-finals for the eighth time in 2004, and elected to change motors between rounds.
Working feverishly, they accomplished the exchange with time to spare, and Johnson improved to post a solid 6.798-second, 202.82 mph. Unfortunately, it was not enough to overcome his opponent's slight starting line advantage, who used a 6.805-second pass to gain the win by a mere three thousandths of a second.
"Qualifying in the back half really puts you at a disadvantage, and after that 6.83 in the first round, we decided to swap motors, because it just didn't feel right. Knowing we had a strong, reliable piece under the bench, we made the change, and I can't say enough about my ACDelco crew. They're a bunch of real car guys that never give up.
"When I let the clutch out, I thought I had a great light, and even worried about going red. However, we've got the clutch set to where it will spin the tires properly in low gear and make better overall runs. Unfortunately, that makes it hard to cut a good light. Even so, I had my best light of the weekend and came up three thousandths short. Basically, it was an All American drag race that we happened not to win.
"Although we're never happy when we lose, we're still pleased to have made a competitive run, running within a hundredth of the fastest cars, which is where we should be. We have a few things lined up that we think will give us a little horsepower, which has us fairly optimistic of making a return to our winning ways from the beginning of the season."