Kurt Johnson will start fifth in Bristol. For a sport consisting of racing in a straight line, the second day of qualifying for the Mac Tools NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals certainly provided its share of twists and turns. It seemed the good...
Kurt Johnson will start fifth in Bristol.
For a sport consisting of racing in a straight line, the second day of qualifying for the Mac Tools NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals certainly provided its share of twists and turns. It seemed the good fortune which had allowed Bristol Dragway to skirt the forecasted storms would continue, as dark clouds moved away just prior to Saturday's first session, allowing matters to proceed on schedule.
However, the straight-liners' luck ran out in the mid-afternoon, as heavy showers delayed the final round for nearly four hours. This allowed the Pro Stock contingent to enjoy a second night session, much to the enjoyment of the fans, who witnessed some of the best times of the weekend.
Current NHRA points leader Kurt Johnson had entered the final time trial in the fifth position, based on his previous best elapsed time of 6.909 seconds from earlier in the day. However, when he pulled his ACDelco Cavalier to the line, he found himself in the thirteenth position, which would have resulted in the loss of lane choice for tomorrow's crucial first round of eliminations.
Fortunately, K.J. responded to the challenge by posting a 6.887-second time with a top speed of 200.23 mph, which placed him in the fifth position for Sunday.
"The track wasn't really all that different from last night. The air was only about 500 feet better, so we didn't make any wholesale changes from what we ran last night. As the last session progressed, the numbers that were being posted surprised me, and I started moving backwards to where I worried about being bumped out. Fortunately, our ACDelco Chevrolet was able to run that 6.88 and put ourselves back in the top half.
"The engine we tried today has a slightly different fuel curve in it, and we think it should have run better than it did on that last pass. Dad ran a 6.86, and we're usually within a hundredth. We'll put our old reliable engine that we've been using back in for tomorrow, and save this new one for another day."