Columbus: Kenny Koretsky preview

Kenny Koretsky climbs closer to place in Pro Stock Top 10 Nitro Fish wear Dodge Team continues to improve COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 7, 2004 - Kenny Koretsky had modest goals when he first strapped himself into the Nitro Fish Wear Dodge Stratus Pro ...

Kenny Koretsky climbs closer to place in Pro Stock Top 10
Nitro Fish wear Dodge Team continues to improve

COLUMBUS, Ohio, June 7, 2004 - Kenny Koretsky had modest goals when he first strapped himself into the Nitro Fish Wear Dodge Stratus Pro Stock race car this year:

1. Be competitive in NHRA's ultra-competitive category;
2. Qualify in the top half of the 16-car starting line-up;
3. Wins rounds and finish in the top 10.

With the halfway point in the 23-race 2004 POWERade Series three events away, Koretsky appears en route to accomplishing his goals.

He's not there yet, but if he continues to repeat the performances of his last three outings, all of his aspirations are attainable. Halfway through a six races in seven weeks portion of the schedule, Koretsky, crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia and their experienced crew find the car is beginning to run the good elapsed times necessary to place among the top eight qualifiers.

He's begun eliminations seventh, third (a career best) and fourth in the last three races, moved into the quarterfinals twice and climbed closer to the top 10.

Another grueling three straight events loom, beginning with the Pontiac Excitement Nationals, June 11-13, at nearby National Trail Raceway. Following are stops at Englishtown, N.J. - close to Koretsky's Richboro, Pa., hometown - and St. Louis. Each promises to be difficult in its own way, primarily because summer's heat and humidity combine to make the tracks hot, slippery and unpredictable.

Koretsky, however, is ready for them.

"We are pretty excited about going to Columbus," said Koretsky. "We have good momentum and it's the hometown race for Larry Morgan and Bob Glidden. They live in nearby Newark and are our teammates and engine builders. It's important that we go there and run well."

"Eddie and the crew have done a great job preparing our car. Larry and Bob are giving us motors that make good horsepower. This is the first time in my career that we have a good opportunity to win rounds, go to the semifinals and maybe even win a race The more laps I make, the more confident I become in the car. My lights (starting-line reaction times) have improved and we're getting close to the top 10."

Koretsky is 12th with 290 points. He trails No. 11 by eight points and is 14 points out of the elite 10. Rickie Smith is ninth at 327, all within reach considering each round win is worth 20 points.

Koretsky out-qualified Morgan at Topeka, Kan., two weeks ago. He was fourth (6.865 seconds at 200.20 mph) to Morgan's sixth (6.884 at 200.32).

Aiding and abetting Guarnaccia on the Nitro Fish Wear team are co-crew chiefs Joe Cunningham and Jerry Eckman and Denver Black, the team's transportation specialist.

"Jerry is a former Pro Stock driver and race winner who has become my driving coach," said Koretsky. "He's helped improve my driving and given me confidence at the starting line."

The driver showed he was a good pupil at Topeka, recording .024-second reaction time in his first-round win over Jim Yates. The time wound up being third-quickest in Pro Stock eliminations. His .043-second reaction in a quarterfinals loss to eventual runner-up Kurt Johnson was third-best of the round.

"We want to go out and qualify well at Columbus," concluded Koretsky. "We are also concentrating on taking it one round at a time on Sunday. We want to win one of these races."

He'll take the first steps toward reaching that goal when qualifying begins Friday with sessions at 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday's runs are at noon and 2:30 while Sunday's eliminations begin at 11 a.m.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Larry Morgan , Kenny Koretsky , Rickie Smith