Kurt Johnson Advances to Bristol Semi-finals Racers returning to Bristol Dragway on Monday for the rain-delayed final eliminations of the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals encountered conditions completely unlike what they faced during...
Kurt Johnson Advances to Bristol Semi-finals
Racers returning to Bristol Dragway on Monday for the rain-delayed final eliminations of the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals encountered conditions completely unlike what they faced during qualifying, as temperatures had plummeted from the low 70's on Saturday to the mid 50's on race day. In addition, the rain which had caused the postponement on Sunday had also washed the rubber off the race track, requiring a completely different set-up.
Starting from the third position, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cavalier Racing team quickly showed they were ready to defend their 2003 win, bettering their qualifying effort by five hundredths of a second with a 6.794-second, 201.82 mph pass to defeat Mark Pawuk in the first round.
K.J. was equally impressive in the second round, as he posted a 6.801-second effort to eliminate Jim Yates. This set the stage for a semi-final encounter against Jason Line, who would have the significant advantage of picking his lane against Johnson. Once again, Johnson responded with his best reaction time of the day, as well as the second-quickest pass of the day in the less-preferred right hand lane at 6.822 seconds. However, it was not enough to hold off his opponent, who posted a 6.773-second effort to narrowly edge Johnson at the line.
"I was a little frustrated after only having one good run in qualifying, so we completely changed our ACDelco Cavalier for eliminations, taking it back to the way we had it set up in Phoenix. Fortunately, we made some decent gains, going 6.79, 6.80 and 6.82, so overall I'm pretty pleased.
"The loss of lane choice was certainly a factor in the semis. It seemed like this was a one-lane track in Pro Stock today. Looking at the track, there's only about three feet that needs attention, but it really affects these cars. But, knowing this racetrack, I'm confident they'll have it straightened out for next year.
"We went rounds, but unfortunately we lost a little ground in the points. Even so, it could have been worse, but we'll go back to the shop and get to work. We have some parts coming in that should help us pick up our performance, which is what it's all about."