KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, defending event champion, recovered from his crash at the Pomona season opener to take No. 1 qualifying position here with his 6.890-second pass at 200.38 mph, both track records. He had two good passes in the...
KURT JOHNSON, ACDELCO CAMARO Z28, defending event champion, recovered from his crash at the Pomona season opener to take No. 1 qualifying position here with his 6.890-second pass at 200.38 mph, both track records. He had two good passes in the right lane, a 6.927 and the 6.8. His record in the left lane is 0 for 2. In both laps his Camaro veered to the centerline, causing Kurt to shut it off and coast to the finish.
KURT: "I've got to give it to my guys. They spent 16 days on the road getting the Camaro fixed after Pomona. They drove it to Rick Jones' shop in Illinois and spent eight to 10 days there. We tested in Tucson before Pomona and in Tucson before we came here. The guys back in the shop worked overtime to get the motor back into the program. It made good power on the dyno but not on the race track. We struggled in Pomona with new Hoosier tires. So, to run .80s in the middle of the desert is pretty good."
ON MAKING THE REPAIRS AFTER THE CRASH: "It was just time-consuming getting the thing back on the jig, getting one side to look like the other, straightening it out. It was just a mess."
ON RUNNING GOODYEARS HERE INSTEAD OF HOOSIERS: We did some testing in Tucson and learned a bunch of stuff down there and we came here and ran Goodyears all weekend. We're in a learning process there. Hoosier is regrouping, building new molds, making new compounds. They're definitely wanting to do something to get back on top. They're dedicated."
ON THE LEFT LANE HERE: "We have had some problems here in the left lane. Our Camaro is really borderline right now as far as getting it down the left lane. We will have to make some changes overnight."
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO TO OVERCOME THE PROBLEMS IN THE LEFT LANE? "Keep lane choice all day tomorrow and stay in the right lane."
YOU WON HERE LAST YEAR AND YOU'RE NO. 1 TODAY; THIS TRACK HAS BEEN GOOD TO YOU: "Any place where you can win and qualify No. 1 is a good track. It's just a matter of getting adjusted and getting down the race track. That's the big thing. Last year we had our Rick Jones car and won the race. We have a Do n Ness car here and we're No. 1. It's taking the whole combination and adapting it to the race track =AD the gearing and combination and a lot of work back at the shop, being prepared when you get here. If you are not prepared when you get here you aren't going to do well."
RON CAPPS, COPENHAGEN CAMARO Z28, not only held on to his low qualifying position, he improved on it with his 4.858-second lap at 305.42 mph in the final qualifying session and final pairing. Tony Pedregon was in the favored right lane and was expected to better his 4.938-second elapsed time of earlier today, but he smoked the tires as Ron wowed the crowd with his outstanding pass. This is Ron's sixth career pole position and the second in three races.
CAPPS: "I got strapped in as usual with four cars in front of me. I watched (John) Force's run in front of me and he was in the same (left) lane. So I knew the track in the left lane was pretty good. Ace (crew chief Ed McCulloch) said by the time we run last pair it's not going to be anything like we are going to see tomorrow. We came here Friday night after Pomona and made two 4.99-second runs at night. So we knew what the Camaro had in it. Ace said we are not going to see the same conditions again. He said if it makes it past 300 feet you better hang on. I don't think the front tires ever touched down. I got my hands on the chute at 800 feet, th e tires just spun, it went sideways a couple of sashays. I was trying to kee p it straight and keep my hands on the chute. It was a heck of a ride."
WHA T DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO WIN TOMORROW? "I'm just leary. I want to just go rounds tomorrow. It's nice that it happened, to be No. 1, but going rounds is what is important. The guys are serious. That's what I like to see. There were a bunch of 4.90s tonight, everyone was trying to be No. 1. Ace said no big deal, we will be quicker anyway. To do it at night,, with the flames and all, it was special, way cool."
WERE YOU WORRIED ABOUT TONY PEDREGON IN THE NEXT LANE? "I figured if anybody is going to do it before we rolled up it would be him. In the heat of the day he ran a 4.93. I kne w when I stepped on the pedal it would be a good drag race. I heard him for about 100 feet, then I heard his engine kind of go away. At that point I was trying to get my car in the middle of the groove. That was quite an adventure. I pulled the chutes and I didn't see him next to me. I figured something happened to him."
WHIT BAZEMORE, KENDALL OIL/MATCO TOOLS CAMARO Z28, is No. 11 qualifier, 5.034/307.51.