Kurt Johnson Claims Second Consecutive Pro Stock No. 1 Now Looks for First Win of Season in his Chevy Cobalt MADISON, Ill., June 25, 2005 - Since introducing his new ACDelco Chevy Cobalt to the Pro Stock class at Bristol (Tenn.) earlier this ...
Kurt Johnson Claims Second Consecutive Pro Stock No. 1
Now Looks for First Win of Season in his Chevy Cobalt
MADISON, Ill., June 25, 2005 - Since introducing his new ACDelco Chevy Cobalt to the Pro Stock class at Bristol (Tenn.) earlier this spring, Kurt Johnson has made three semifinal round appearances, recorded one runner-up finish (Columbus), and now has posted consecutive No. 1 qualifiers after grabbing the top spot today after final qualifying for this weekend's 9th annual Sears Craftsman NHRA Nationals at Gateway International Raceway. Johnson matched his No. 1 qualifying effort last week at Englishtown (N.J.) with an elapsed time of 6.750 seconds at 204.14 mph. He narrowly edged Greg Anderson's 6.756 e.t at 204.01 mph in the Summit Racing Pontiac.
"We did a little experimenting in the early evening session, trying a completely new clutch," Johnson said. "We really didn't know what to expect, and it ran a 6.79, giving us some good information. We put our normal setup back in for the last run, and it went 6.76. The bottom line is that we got the money and the points for being No. 1, and that's what it's all about. We're pretty pleased. Our ACDelco Cobalt is going down the racetrack, and has been pretty good on parts, so with a little good luck, we should be in good shape for tomorrow.
It was Johnson's second No. 1 qualifier here at Gateway International Raceway and 25th of his career. This was also the third time in his 13-year NHRA career that K.J. was the No. 1 qualifier at consecutive national events. A pair of Pontiacs were third and fourth on the grid as Warren Johnson had a 6.757 e.t at 203.89 mph, and Anderson's teammate Jason Line had a time of 6.771 seconds at 203.16 mph. A pair of Chevy Cobalts rounded out GM Racing's top-10 qualifiers with Dave Connolly in sixth and Ron Krisher in eighth.
"We know the conditions we're going to be running in the first round tomorrow afternoon," Kurt continued, "and since we've only had one run under those conditions, we'll have to see what happens. Fortunately, we've been working on our car since Englishtown trying to improve our setup, and the car has responded. We know we're making good power, and when you have horsepower under the hood, you had better make good runs and the driver has to be on his game, because it's all hills and valleys out here. You have to take advantage of it when you can, which is what we are looking to do here in St. Louis tomorrow night."
In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon was the highest qualified Chevy Monte Carlo with an elapsed time of 4.834 seconds at 317.79 mph to take the fourth spot on the qualifying grid. Del Worsham had his Chevy Monte Carlo in seventh with a 4.855 e.t. at 313.07 mph. Springfield, Ill., native Tim Wilkerson, Tommy Johnson Jr., and Tony Bartone were eighth, ninth and tenth, respectively, all in Chevy Monte Carlos. Gary Scelzi took the top spot in a Dodge with a 4.797 and 325.14 mph.
"First of all, I really didn't know what to expect on that last run," Worsham said. "The conditions change so much here at this time of night, but they never really get good. The humidity stays high, but the temperature does give you a bit of a break once the sun goes down. When you head up there, you take an educated guess as to what the air and the track will give you, and you go for that. We knew we could step up, but I really didn't know how far. On top of that, these numbers are probably irrelevant anyway. We've been here the last two days at 4:30 to 5:00, and it's pretty brutal. First round is at 4:30, so we'll probably run around 5:15 or so, and if it's like it's been the last two days there will be serious driving issues going on. Getting from A-to-B will be the key, and that won't be easy. Guys who can pedal, and pedal, and pedal again might be the ones moving on to Round 2."