Las Vegas: GM Racing Saturday notes

Pontiac's Ken Koretsky Captures First Career No. 1 Qualifying Award - Nitrofish GXP Leads Pro Stock Field Into Sunday Eliminator LAS VEGAS, April 12, 2008 - Pontiac's Kenny Koretsky captured his first career Pro Stock pole today at the ...

Pontiac's Ken Koretsky Captures First Career No. 1 Qualifying Award - Nitrofish GXP Leads Pro Stock Field Into Sunday Eliminator

LAS VEGAS, April 12, 2008 - Pontiac's Kenny Koretsky captured his first career Pro Stock pole today at the NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The 50-year-old Richboro, Pa. resident drove the Nitrofish/Indicom GXP to a 6.724 e.t. at 204.05 mph during Friday time trials, and today his time withstood the onslaught of a number of strong runs from a long list of Pro Stock competitors, including Koretsky. It is the third time this season that a Pontiac GXP has been No. 1 qualifier in Pro Stock.

"There's no question that this is a terrific boost to our program," said Koretsky, whose Pontiac put up the fourth quickest time of Saturday's morning qualifying session. "This Bickel-built GXP is fast. We dodged a lot of bullets - a lot of good runs from Jason (Line) and Greg (Anderson), and Kurt (Johnson) and Allen Johnson. It's a tough field out here but we knew coming into this morning that it would be close. This is something we've worked toward for a long time and to top it off with a win tomorrow would be a tremendous accomplishment."

Prior to this weekend, Koretsky's best qualifying effort was No. 3, a feat he accomplished seven times, and most recently, at last July's Mile-High Nationals in Denver.

"This is a tough class, and it's the best of the best out there right now," Koretsky said. "The motor programs are at another level and the racecars are at another level, and most of these guys do this full time, and we don't, although it feels like it sometimes.

"The guys were on the radio trying to keep me from getting too excited. But when you see Kurt Johnson next to you, and Greg Anderson in front of you and Jason Line next to you, and Ron Krisher with a Cagnazzi motor and Jeg Coughlin, it's hard not to get excited. It was all about timing this weekend. We made the right runs at the right times and tonight we're No. 1. It's a thrill to be here and we'll see what we can do tomorrow."

During Saturday morning qualifying, a number of good cars took their shot at knocking Koretsky off the pole, including Jason Line, whose Summit Racing Pontiac GXP missed by one-thousandth of a second (6.725 seconds) after running the quickest e.t. of the day, and Kurt Johnson, whose ACDelco Chevy Cobalt was off the lead pace by just two-thousandths of a second (6.726 seconds). Koretsky himself put up the fourth quickest time of the morning session.

"Both Summit Racing Pontiacs continue to perform better with each run," Line said following round three of qualifying. "I'm still working on hitting my shift points just right - I'm either too early or too late. This is a great time to be here, though, at our sponsor's event and it makes it more fun when both cars are running fast. Greg (Anderson) was able to get into the field in the first round today, and with two cars safely qualified, we've got a good shot of putting one of the Summit Racing GXPs in the winner's circle tomorrow."

"This ACDelco Chevy Cobalt has actually been pretty flawless lately," said Kurt Johnson, whose Chevrolet ran the quickest time in the final qualifying session. "Except for that final round at Houston, it's made some really good runs here - 6.72, 6.73, 6.73 and 6.73 - so it's a matter of letting the clutch out on time. I feel comfortable that we can do that and hopefully tomorrow will be a good day."

Ron Krisher will start raceday from the No. 4 position in the Valvoline Chevrolet after running 6.726 seconds, and Warren Johnson's GM Performance Parts will start from the No. 6 spot with a 6.728 e.t at 206.07 mph - which, so far, is the fastest speed of the meet.

"We were actually on a pretty good run in that last session," said Warren Johnson, whose car slowed at halftrack after breaking a slider in the transmission. "You never want to see something like that but it's better to do it now than in the first round on Sunday. I felt we captured something down low, performance wise, which is something we've been missing all weekend. I'm sure the GM Performance Parts Pontiac will be fine tomorrow."

Greg Stanfield is qualified in the No. 8 position in a Pontiac GXP and Greg Anderson's Pontiac is qualified in the No. 9 spot.

"I think I have a car that's ready to race," Anderson said. "We'll forget yesterday because today we acted like a race team. We had a lot of pressure but we made two pretty nice runs in the Summit Racing Pontiac GXP - that last run was a little slower but it felt real good. We were in about a hundredth or two hundredths of the quickest cars and it was right there near the top. We got a shot tomorrow."

Jeg Coughlin is qualified No. 10 in a Chevy Cobalt, Justin Humphreys is No. 11 in a Pontiac GXP and Jim Yates is No. 13 in a Pontiac GXP.

"It's always a relief to qualify for these events," Coughlin said. "You have to remember that these are the best drivers in the world and every spot on the elimination ladder is hard to earn. It's a tribute to this team that we've been a part of so many races in a row.

"Having said that, I believe everyone in this pit would tell you we could have and should have run better. We've had little weird things happening but these things happen to all of us so the difference between the teams that are successful and the others is the ability to overcome the problems you inevitably will face on any given weekend."

Tim Wilkerson will start raceday from the No. 2 qualifying spot in the Levi Ray & Shoup Chevy Impala SS after running 4.850 seconds at 318.24 mph. Wilkerson fell short of the pole and No. 1 qualifier Robert Hight (who ran 4.849 seconds) by one thousandth of a second. It is the first time this season that a Chevy Impala SS has not started raceday from the lead qualifying position.

"That criminal Jimmy Prock (crew chief for Robert Hight) stole $4000 right out of my pocket for a thousandth of a second," Wilkerson said jokingly after smoking the tires in his final qualifying attempt. "But you know, No. 1 qualifier hasn't been a lucky spot for us this year so maybe tomorrow we can go some rounds, win the race and make up for that little bit of money we lost here a while ago.

"We're doing the best we can do. We really tried hard there, as you can see. I haven't smoked the tires in 35 runs - that's the first time we've done that in long time. I was swinging hard. Maybe we can meet Robert in the final round tomorrow and get some of that back."

-credit: gm racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Greg Stanfield , Kenny Koretsky , Tim Wilkerson , Allen Johnson , Jason Line , Robert Hight , Justin Humphreys