Kurt Johnson's Columbus Run Ends in the Quarterfinals Kurt Johnson knew he faced a tough task entering Sunday's final eliminations of the Pontiac Excitement Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. After qualifying ninth, Johnson's pursuit of a second ...
Kurt Johnson's Columbus Run Ends in the Quarterfinals
Kurt Johnson knew he faced a tough task entering Sunday's final eliminations of the Pontiac Excitement Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. After qualifying ninth, Johnson's pursuit of a second consecutive NHRA national event win would start without lane choice against veteran driver Darrell Alderman. Further complicating Johnson's assignment were the partly sunny skies and increased temperatures at National Trail Raceway, which created a completely new set of tuning conditions from those encountered in qualifying.
As expected, Johnson and ACDelco crew rose to the challenge, combining a stellar .024 reaction time with a solid 6.908-second, 199.58 mph run to easily eclipse his opponent and extend his record of first-round success to seventeen races. Johnson's reward for this accomplishment was a second round meeting with No. 1 qualifier, and primary championship rival Greg Anderson.
Once again, Johnson flashed his starting line prowess, using a nearly perfect .011 reaction time to leave the starting line two hundredths of a second ahead of his adversary. However, K.J. soon found himself fighting to maintain control, costing valuable time. Although he was able to muster a representative 6.943-second, 199.40 mph pass, Anderson's quicker 6.919-second effort allowed him to edge Johnson by a mere two thousandths of a second.
"We made several changes before the second round, all of which were in the right direction, but it got right out of the groove and just spun the tires all the way down the race track. We just couldn't get it hooked up. It's ironic, because when we first got here, we couldn't spin the tires, and now we can't stop it from doing it.
"It just wasn't our ACDelco Cavalier's day. There are four or five ways to pick up two thousandths of a second. I did my job, getting off the starting line first, but spinning the tires got us, and he had me by four or five hundredths at the eighth mile mark.
"Even so, we're glad to get out of here with a race car. There are a couple of our competitors who weren't so lucky. The track wasn't what it should have been this weekend - it really needs to be repaved.
"Nevertheless, we'll move on. We'll go back to the shop, try to find some more power and then head to St. Louis, and get after them there. It would have been nice to win and put some points on Greg, but there's a lot of racing left in this season, and a lot of stuff that's going to happen. We'll be fine."