Bristol: GM Racing Saturday summary

Connolly's Chevrolet Captures Bristol Pole Kurt Johnson's New Chevy Cobalt Named Best Engineered Car BRISTOL, Tenn., April 30, 2005 - In a starting field set by one round of time trials (due to incessant rain showers), Pro Stock points leader ...

Connolly's Chevrolet Captures Bristol Pole
Kurt Johnson's New Chevy Cobalt Named Best Engineered Car

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 30, 2005 - In a starting field set by one round of time trials (due to incessant rain showers), Pro Stock points leader Dave Connolly put together a sterling, pressure-packed run in his Chevrolet that was good enough to earn No. 1 qualifying honors for Sunday's O'Reilly Nationals at Bristol Dragway. It was the second career pole for the current points leader and the first time this season that Connolly's Chevrolet has entered Sunday eliminations from the lead qualifying position. Connolly is coming off a recent win two weeks ago in Las Vegas.

"We brought the same car straight from Vegas with the same motor," said Connolly. "We were hoping to run the new Cobalt this weekend, but with a very limited amount of time to test the car, only two full runs, we decided to stick with what has worked for us. Due to the rainout on Tuesday during testing we didn't get many runs to get the new Cobalt figured out. It wouldn't have taken much more though. The car shows a lot of promise down low, and with the way GM stepped up to the plate and made the Cobalt as good as it is, it's going to be an outstanding racecar. On Monday, we'll stick around here, test it and hopefully have it ready to go in Atlanta."

While a number of cars struggled to find their bearings down the tricky racing surface, Connolly's Chevrolet hooked up nicely and posted an elapsed time of 6.814 seconds at 201.25 mph.

"Terry (Adams) had a real good handle on the car going into this afternoon's run. This car seems to do whatever Terry programs it to do and he's been able to hit the setup right on target. We left a little on the table but I'm sure other teams did as well. Looking at the track earlier, due to all of the rain, there's only so much the NHRA can do. But they did a great job and had it pretty well prepared when it was our turn to run. The track actually started to come around, and since we were set up a little softer, when it got down to the last few pairs of car, we hiked the rpm up for the starting line and it worked out well for us.

"Grump (Bill Jenkins) is on top of his game right now. That's seven consecutive runs where we've been low e.t of the session. Right now I feel that this Chevrolet is one of the best racecars out here. Too bad we didn't get to see what the left lane does, but I'm sure Terry will check it out and make a good decision like he always does. All I have to do is let go with my left foot."

After an intense week of exhaustive work and testing preparing his new Chevy Cobalt for competition, Kurt Johnson will start raceday from the No. 3 position. Johnson's new ACDelco Chevrolet stopped the timers with an elapsed time of 6.837 seconds at 201.58 mph.

"We're extremely pleased with our new Chevy Cobalt," said Johnson. "It went right down through there, kept the front end on the ground and was as straight as a string. When they said we ran the 6.83, I was ecstatic, especially with the caliber of competition these days and bringing out the new car. We made 13 runs on it this week at Atlanta and it all paid off. We thought we were slow, and we weren't, so that shows you how much we know.

"With Houston and the Vegas race back-to-back, we really packed it in regarding the preparation of this new racecar. We didn't have anyone at the shop to do any wiring, or plumbing or anything like that because my two guys do it all. It was hectic, but we got her together. We didn't run it until Wednesday when we took it out to Atlanta. I had two motors to dyno, and on Thursday, dad actually drove it for two runs while I was back at the shop dynoing motors. Then I showed up at about noon on Thursday and made the last five runs on it. The Cobalt's been nice and straight. I've had to do some things to adjust to other new cars, but the faster they go the more comfortable they feel."

In addition to running the quickest e.t. by a Cobalt in time trials, Johnson's new Chevrolet was named the Best Engineered Car at this weekend's O'Reilly Nationals.

"That's best engineered body and chassis," said Johnson. "That says a lot about the design of the new Chevy Cobalt and the work done by GM Racing engineers during the last 18 months. It's only going to get faster the more time we have to work with it and it's a remarkable car to drive. A win tomorrow would make the car's debut even better."

Qualified in the No. 3 position, Warren Johnson had the quickest Pontiac in the field with a 6.834 second run at 201.58 mph. Johnson has been the No. 1 qualifier at the two meets preceding this event, and he's started second or better at four of the first six races on the schedule.

Although he failed to qualify for tomorrow's race, Dave Howard's Chevy Cobalt was named Best Appearing Car for this weekend's event.

"We were getting ready to load up and head to Joliet to test," said Howard. "Now we can take it a little slower and enjoy the evening. This is really great news. This new Cobalt is awesome, there's not a thing wrong with it. The weather just threw us a curve like it did a lot of other teams, but with a few more runs, it's going to be very fast."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Dave Howard