Gruninger makes semifinals in Topeka TOPEKA, Kan. - Danny Gruninger, one of NHRA Competition Eliminator's young guns, opened his 2006 season with a semifinal finish during this past weekend's Division 5 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at ...
Gruninger makes semifinals in Topeka
TOPEKA, Kan. - Danny Gruninger, one of NHRA Competition Eliminator's young guns, opened his 2006 season with a semifinal finish during this past weekend's Division 5 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at Heartland Park in Topeka, Kan. Gruninger was forced to lift in his semifinal bout with eventual winner Michael Johnson when his B/Altered Cavalier made a hard move towards the centerline.
Gruninger, 20, from Morrison, Colo., struggled in the rain-shortened qualifying, but made the field in the 23rd position with a pass of 7.274 seconds which put him .426 under the B/A index. In round one, Gruninger used a great .005 reaction time (.000 is perfect) to score a holeshot win over heavy-hitter Doug Engels with a 7.218. In round two, he defeated Shaun Vincent with a 7.203 and then defeated Division 5 Comp legend Tom Schmidt in the quarterfinals when Schmidt fouled-out.
In his semifinal bout with Johnson, the No. 1 qualifier who had received an eleven-hundredths index hit in the previous round, Gruninger held a .016 to .023 starting line advantage, but gave Johnson the easy win when his mount made a hard move to the centerline.
"We just had a hard time getting a hold of the track all weekend," said Gruninger. "We're still happy we went rounds at our first race of the year. We just had a hard time getting a handle on the right clutch combination for the slick track. We thought we had a good shot against Johnson in the semi's because he had used up a lot of index in the round before. It just got out there and moved hard towards the centerline, and it just wasn't worth risking getting any looser to not lift."
The next race for the Gruninger Motorsports team will be in the same setting of Heartland Park Topeka for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals on Memorial Day Weekend. There Gruninger and team hope to apply the data collected from the weekend and continue to refine their new car.
"We didn't run quite as well as we would have liked," stated Gruninger. "But we did get some good data in sea level conditions, which we didn't have before. We just need to keep working on the tune-up and making laps down the track. We have some good horsepower from Taylor Lastor at TRE Racing Engines and I got a great crew of Mike Musso, Cale Crispe and my dad (Mark). We also want to make a good showing for Randy with Visual Effects who has been helping us this year."