KJ Steps Up on Saturday, Starts Fifth in Brainerd After struggling to match his 1,400-horsepower hot rod to the tricky Brainerd racing surface on Friday, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt crew knew they would need to pick up the pace...
KJ Steps Up on Saturday, Starts Fifth in Brainerd
After struggling to match his 1,400-horsepower hot rod to the tricky Brainerd racing surface on Friday, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt crew knew they would need to pick up the pace during Saturday's final qualifying sessions in order to guarantee their spot in Sunday's final eliminations of the Lucas Oil Nationals.
Wasting little time, he took full advantage of the improved atmospheric conditions in the morning session to record the second quickest time of the round at 6.758 seconds, which, combined with his 203.77 mph top speed, was enough to earn the Virginia, MN native the fifth starting spot at Brainerd International Raceway.
"Our goal coming into Brainerd was to do whatever we needed to lock ourselves into the Countdown, so this morning's run was huge. The last thing we wanted was to go into Reading off a DNQ, so we're certainly pleased to get our ACDelco Cobalt a spot in the top half of the field. That took a huge load off our shoulders.
"After making two bad runs on Friday, we did pretty good today, but there's always room for improvement. Our car is really fast to the 300 foot mark, but some reason seems to fall off a bit after that. We just came from Sonoma where the engine was running well and it was fine on the dyno back at the shop, so we don't think it's an engine problem. However, it's just not running as well as it should in the back half, so tonight we'll work on straightening that out.
"Ironically enough, coming into this race, we had some concerns with our performance in the first 300 feet, and we fixed that. Now we just have to figure out the rest of the run. Fortunately, our time was good enough to earn lane choice for the first round, which is vital in this category. Throughout the weekend, the left lane has been between one and two hundredths quicker, so it will be nice to choose our lane in the morning. We're pleased to have run as well as we did today, but that's only the start. We're looking to have a long day tomorrow."