KJ is Too Good in the Pomona Semifinals After qualifying third for the Auto Club of Southern California Finals, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team looked to end the 2005 NHRA season with back-to-back national event wins. Things...
KJ is Too Good in the Pomona Semifinals
After qualifying third for the Auto Club of Southern California Finals, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team looked to end the 2005 NHRA season with back-to-back national event wins. Things went according to plan in the early rounds, as Johnson posted elimination round victories over veterans Larry Morgan and Rickie Smith, advancing to the semi-finals for the 14th time this season.
The final obstacle between Johnson and his eighth final round appearance of 2005 was another seasoned pro, Tom Martino, who had already scored impressive holeshot wins over Erica Enders and Richie Stevens. With the two cars evenly matched and facing an opponent who had posted single-digit reaction times in the first two rounds, Johnson knew he would need to be first off the starting line in order to reach the championship round.
Unfortunately, Johnson left eleven thousandths of a second too early, with the resultant red-light handing the automatic win to his rival, putting a premature end to his day. Despite the initial disappointment, the second-generation driver took some solace in that he had completed another successful season, with his four wins and 44 elimination round wins helping him score the fourth championship runner-up finish of his career.
"I wasn't going to be late," joked Johnson afterward. "Obviously, we saw that he (Martino) had gone .00's in the first two rounds, but we also knew we were just as capable of that type of reaction time, having been in the teens and twenties in qualifying and the first round. Therefore, we did our normal routine for the semi-finals.
"However, everything we did to our ACDelco Cobalt worked to help my reaction time. I changed glasses, we revved the motor up, put in a new transmission and put some clutch in it. All of this compounded the fact that we were going to have a better reaction time. We just ended up eleven thousandths too good.
"I hate to trade losses for wins, but I would gladly take the loss here for that win we had in Vegas two weeks ago. We had hoped to leave here with five wins for the year, but that didn't really work out. However, we can't be disappointed with the four we did win, as well as finishing second in the POWERade points. The way we see it, we were better than everyone else except for one, which is not bad. But this year is now behind us. We're ready to go back to the shop get working on improving that finish by one spot in 2006."