CONCORD, N.C., Sept. 20, 2009 -- It wasn't a win this weekend for Kurt Johnson at the Second annual Carolinas Nationals, but it was definitely an on-track performance by the ACDelco Chevrolet that has the team looking ahead to the series' next...
CONCORD, N.C., Sept. 20, 2009 -- It wasn't a win this weekend for Kurt Johnson at the Second annual Carolinas Nationals, but it was definitely an on-track performance by the ACDelco Chevrolet that has the team looking ahead to the series' next event in Dallas.
Johnson started race day from the No. 3 position which was his best qualifying effort since early May in St. Louis. He defeated Ryan Ondrejko in round one with a 6.629 e.t. to a 7.705-second run, but came up short against Greg Stanfield in round two. Johnson is encouraged, though, by the team's prospects heading into the NHRA Fall Nationals.
"We're pretty pumped up that we have a more consistent race car, one that can put the number up on the scoreboard and go rounds," Johnson said. "We definitely don't have the fastest horse out there right now but it's good enough to qualify in the top half. We were No. 3 here, and that's a huge improvement over the last 16 races."
"The car's good, except for the fact that when you let the clutch out it's not moving. You go out there and think you're going double-oh-something, like we did at Reading where we were averaging 020s and .030s, and we come here and average .058 out of six runs. We have to get the car to move better off the starting line and maintain our performance.
"When we tested in Atlanta we tested some components that were as quick as we had here. The reaction time was a little bit better, but we decided to stick with what we thought was a little bit quicker in Atlanta. We could have made a change coming into today, but we did what we thought we needed to do. We know what the problem is, so all we have to do is fix what's broken. The rest of the package seems to be there."
With a strong qualifying run during all four session of time trials, and today's round win, Johnson moves up to seventh in the points standings with five contests remaining on the docket.
Today's race winner in Pro Stock was Mike Edwards who moved to first place in the standings. Robert Hight was the winner in Funny Car and the Top Fuel category was captured by Cory McClenathan.
"It makes it a lot easier when you don't have to make major changes on the race car," Johnson said. "All you have to do is make sure it goes straight, and get the gearing and the clutch right. We're pretty fired up about going to Texas."
The next stop on the tour is the O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis, Tex., on Sept. 24 -- 27. It is the second race on the six-event NHRA Countdown to 1 for the 2009 Full Throttle Championship.