INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 5, 2003 - After rain showers postponed last weekend's racing action, time trials for the 49th annual U.S. Nationals resumed today at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Chevrolet's Kurt Johnson jumped to the front of the Pro Stock ...
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 5, 2003 - After rain showers postponed last weekend's racing action, time trials for the 49th annual U.S. Nationals resumed today at Indianapolis Raceway Park. Chevrolet's Kurt Johnson jumped to the front of the Pro Stock qualifying field with a track-record elapsed time in the ACDelco Cavalier of 6.778 seconds at 203.77 mph.
"The weather was beautiful, the track was good to the 330 mark and that's all we needed to get our Chevy Cavalier to the front," said Johnson. "In the two rounds we had last weekend, we didn't make a clean run. We went down to Atlanta Dragway during the week to get the car figured out, and to be honest we couldn't find anything wrong. The biggest reason for our improvement tonight is that there is less water in the air right now, it's down about 50 percent from where it was last weekend even though the adjusted altitude is only about 100 feet better. The engine can't run on water, you can't efficiently push the body through water, and the reduction of the water droplets in the atmosphere is helping us run some big speed.
"I couldn't wait to get back here. You go all week long knowing you made bad runs, you're still No. 2, you're within thousandths of second of the lead position, now all you have to do is get in the car and do your job. We felt that as long as the wheels didn't fall off the truck coming up here, the ACDelco Chevy Cavalier should be able to run up front this weekend."
The 40 year-old Johnson is currently second in the Pro Stock standings and is looking for second low qualifier in 2003. Johnson was the No. 1 qualifier at the series' last event in Brainerd, Minn., and if he keep his Chevy Cavalier at the top of the qualifying pack through two additional qualifying sessions on Saturday, it will be his 23rd career raceday pole and his second No. 1 qualifying spot at the U.S. Nationals.
"Actually I was a little surprised that the run was as quick as it was" said Johnson. "It felt a little lazy going through the lights. I changed some stuff around in the motor figuring that tonight would be our test run. Tomorrow morning will be the key session as far as getting the pole. We tweaked a few things on the ACDelco Chevrolet, but maybe the lesson we learned tonight was don't mess with it - don't try and fix it if there's nothing wrong."
Jeg Coughlin's yellow and black Chevrolet is the second Cavalier in the leading tandem of qualified cars. Coughlin, who was sitting outside the 16-car field before tonight's session, jumped to the No. 2 spot with a run of 6.785 seconds at 204.63 mph.
"Compared to last week, being the No. 2 qualifier is definitely a nice position to be in tonight," said Coughlin. "That run didn't come without a lot of hard work. We took the time off to test this Chevrolet and we got some things ironed out. We got the car to run straight for the first 40 to 60 feet and we were able to carry that momentum to the finish line.
"It felt like a real nice number and we didn't leave too much on the table. We're pleased with that pass, we have a good baseline going into tomorrow and we'll continue to peck away at it to keep this Cavalier up at the front."
After being the No. 1 qualifier coming into to today's single session, Pontiac's Greg Anderson has the quickest and fastest Grand Am in the field in the No. 3 spot with a run of 6.786 seconds, and a track-record speed of 205.01 mph.
"We got outrun in the back half by Kurt (Johnson) and we have to fix that," said Anderson. "We're a little disappointed. The e.t. indicates our true performance and from 330 to the finish line Kurt put about .007 (thousandths) on us.
"We worked on motors all week, but that didn't seem to help us tonight because we seemed to have run slower compared to the rest of the pack. We have to regroup and see if we can get this Grand Am tuned back up for tomorrow."
Jim Yates is qualified in the No. 4 spot in a Pontiac Grand Am, Ron Krisher is sixth in a Chevrolet, Mike Edwards is seventh in a Pontiac and Jason Line is qualified eighth in a Chevy Cavalier. Warren Johnson is qualified in the No. 11 position, Troy Coughlin is 13th, George Marnell is 15th and Bruce Allen is on the bump with a 6.835 e.t. at 201.43 mph.
This is the quickest Pro Stock qualifying field in U.S. Nationals history and is separated by just .057 (thousandths) of a second.
The revised television schedule for this weekend's event includes qualifying highlights on ESPN2 on Saturday, Sept. 6, starting at 11 p.m. Early eliminations coverage can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, Sept. 7, beginning at 2 p.m. with final coverage telecast on ESPN2 at 11 p.m.