Denver: GM Racing Saturday summary

MORRISON, Colo., July 20, 2002 - Time trails for the 23rd annual Mile-High Nationals were completed today at Bandimere Speedway. Ron Krisher captured his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season in the Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier with a track-record...

MORRISON, Colo., July 20, 2002 - Time trails for the 23rd annual Mile-High Nationals were completed today at Bandimere Speedway. Ron Krisher captured his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season in the Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier with a track-record elapsed time of 7.257 seconds at 189.76 mph. Krisher also had the quickest e.t. of the final session with an impressive 7.306 seconds. Kurt Johnson had his best qualifying effort of the season driving the ACDelco Chevy Cavalier to a 7.265 e.t. at a track-record top speed of 189.87 mph. Bruce Allen had the quickest Pontiac SC/T Grand Am qualifying in the No. 3 position with a run of 7.279 seconds at 189.02 mph. V Gaines was fifth in a Cavalier, Mike Edwards was sixth in a Cavalier, Warren Johnson was seventh in an SC/T Grand Am and George Marnell was eighth in an SC/T Grand Am. Points leader Jim Yates saw a 47 consecutive race qualifying streak come to an end when he failed to make the race. The Splitfire Pontiac Grand Am driver finished in the No. 18 position with an e.t. of 7.330 seconds at 187.83 mph, just .003 shy of the 7.327-second bump needed to make the 16-car qualifying field.

Ron Krisher (Eagle One Chevrolet Cavalier) "Last night would have been as fast as today if we hadn't stumbled at 60-feet - we even had a little bit better speed. We were afraid to make too many moves this morning because we did run so well last night. We made a small change, but I can't tell whether it helped us or not. We've had good speed on all three runs and if we'd used a smaller clutch like a lot of teams are using then we would've run 190 (mph). We know that using that little clutch from the other day, just from breaking a new motor in, is worth about four-tenths of a mile an hour and that would've gotten us where we wanted to go. We have a lot of data on this clutch. We tested most of the time with it up here, we only put the small clutch in at the end, so we don't have any data to run race day with it. We're going to be satisfied with what we have and from a performance standpoint I think we're ready to go. We've had good lights the last couple of races but we haven't gotten down the track. Hopefully, by bringing in Mike Elliott we can solve that problem - race day and hot race tracks. We haven't been that unsuccessful in qualifying the car, but on race day we've slipped up a little bit, and that's from not being able to read the track the way we'd like to read it. We put new clutch linkage in the car last week, and last night the switch on the clutch pedal slipped over the top of the stop on the clutch and put it on the high side rather than where we wanted to leave. When I let the clutch out it came back, the tires were spinning like heck and then I went to the windshield because it knocked it back down on the way back by it. From there on we were really fast. We were afraid this morning something would happen to the race track or the air would be really terrible. We knew we could get to No. 1 but we were worried about the conditions this morning. We have the horsepower, and we ran well testing up here, so we knew we had a pretty good handle on it." No. 1 qualifier - 7.257ET(track record)/189.76 MPH

Kurt Johnson (ACDelco Chevrolet Cavalier) - "We're pretty pleased actually. It would have been nice to run 190 mph out there because we've been tickling it here and there with the carburetors. To be in the show, that's the biggest thing right now, especially after the last few races and what we've been through with electrical problems and glitches. You see just how humbling this sport can be. We didn't come here and test and we kind of questioned whether or not we made the right decision. Looking at our notes from the last two times we raced here, we won and were runner-up, so why test. We put everything back to where it was last year, and granted, a few things changed here and there, and that threw us off on the first run. We got closer the second run and pretty well nailed it with this morning's run. Ever since we got off the plane they've called for cooler weather on Sunday but I imagine it will be sunny and hot here again tomorrow. This weekend showed us that we're back on the right track and it also instills a little confidence. This is our best qualifying position of the year, and after struggling like we have been, it really blows your mind - you start questioning yourself. You know you have the power, you just don't have the setup right. There's bad luck too and you can't control that. But this has been good for us." No. 2 qualifier - 7.265ET/189.87(track record)

Bruce Allen (Speedco Pontiac SC/T Grand Am) - "After a poor first run yesterday afternoon all we were trying to do last night was make a competent second run. Then, we were pretty close this morning to what we thought we'd run. We thought it would be a good session especially since we were in the left lane. We basically adjusted on what we could pick out last night and hoped the conditions were just as good. The Speedco Pontiac Grand Am made a real nice run. The car went a little bit right and the clutch was a little bit soft. Sometimes that's deceiving, the clutch being soft, because that's all the track can take. You think you can run a little faster if you're a little more aggressive, but there's a fine line there and if it spins up or shakes, then you're slower. We were trying to improve enough that if the conditions improved we'd pick up, and if they didn't, we didn't lose anything either. We knew there were two or three really good cars behind us that could bump us back, but we got exactly what we hoped for. The good qualifying session this morning made all the difference. Another hour later and you wouldn't have seen the kind of times that were run. Without this morning's round it would have been another one qualifying session race. This way you have a little bit of cushion." No. 3 qualifier - 7.279ET/189.02MPH

Warren Johnson (GM Performance Parts Pontiac SC/T Grand Am) - "I can't say we're overly enthusiastic about the weekend so far, but we're in the show, and really, out of all the cars out there, we're probably the most consistent. The top half of the field, when you look at the spread, it's not that much. We're in a good position. Testing gave us an idea on where we needed to be on the tune up of the engine. It doesn't necessarily give you a tune up for the racetrack because when you test prior to a national event, the only thing that's the same is where the bumps are. We don't have the oil downs from the fuel cars, we don't have the debris all over the track from the supercharged cars, and the NHRA treats their track differently than the local operators. That's not saying one way is better than the other, it's just different and you have to make some changes to accommodate that. All you're really doing, at this altitude, is getting your engine tune up relatively close, and figuring out where you need to be on gear splits so you don't hit any bumps. Fortunately this track doesn't have too many bumps. And when you test versus what you race under or what you qualify under, we've seen two or three thousand foot relative altitude changes. It hasn't been that drastic here, but it gives you an opening of understanding for your tune up, although it doesn't give you a final answer."

You've been running here this weekend without any data. "When we tested here we didn't have any data. We had to do it by the old 'seat of the pants' method. Strange enough, we ran quicker on every run. At least it hasn't failed us yet. It's not difficult, it's just a little more inconvenient, but when you have two people on the starting line watching the car, giving you their input - we video it so we can all look at it and make an assessment from that. Plus what I feel in the car and finally, the deciding factor is the time card. You can probably get as close that way but you don't get there as fast. It hasn't made a significant difference on our performance this weekend - maybe a hundredth of a second. But then again, a hundredth or two in Pro Stock is a lifetime." No. 7 qualifier - 7.289ET/189.55MPH

Mike Edwards (Young Life Chevrolet Cavalier) - "We're really pretty pumped up. We didn't come up here to test like some of the other teams. We had a new car we were working on at home and never got around to getting that stuff together in time. We came up here kind of blind and to qualify No. 6, I'm tickled with it. We're hanging in there. Kurt (Johnson) and I were kind of razzing each other at the starting line that maybe we should stay home more often. I have a lot of experience up here so I've got a pretty good idea of what it takes." No. 6 qualifier - 7.288ET/189.15MPH

George Marnell (Marnell Racing Pontiac SC/T Grand Am) - "I think we keep improving each time. We came out with a decent pass and that put us at the back of the pack for the Friday night run which helped us quite a bit. We picked up on Friday night and then this morning we made an a really nice run, especially since it was in the right lane. This Grand Am went right down through there. If we could've done that last night, we'd been higher, but I'm by no means unhappy with where we are. We're making good solid runs and I believe we can run with anybody right now. We came up here with our notes from last year. We ran pretty good last year so we put the same setup in the car and it ran just fine. Reher-Morrison is making good power for us and that's helping our whole program come together." No. 8 qualifier - 7.291ET/188.33MPH


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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Ron Krisher , Bruce Allen , George Marnell , Mike Edwards