After Qualifying Sixth and Hitting the "Beach", KJ & Crew Face a Long Night Kurt Johnson's final qualifying pass for the 2007 POWERade Drag Racing season turned out to be quite eventful for more than one reason. Running in the right-and lane ...
After Qualifying Sixth and Hitting the "Beach", KJ & Crew Face a Long Night
Kurt Johnson's final qualifying pass for the 2007 POWERade Drag Racing season turned out to be quite eventful for more than one reason. Running in the right-and lane during the Saturday morning session, Johnson powered his Hulkamania/ACDelco Cobalt through the quarter-mile in 6.667-seconds with a top speed of 207.69 mph, securing the sixth starting spot for Sunday's final eliminations of the Auto Club Finals in Pomona, CA, his best qualifying performance since the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis.
However, as he cleared the finish line his parachutes failed, sending him into the sand trap at breakneck speed. Although Johnson emerged unhurt, the impact caused major damage to his race car, including destroying the carbon-fiber front end.
"The run was pretty boring until the very end," said Johnson afterward. "We had made some changes to our Hulkamania/ACDelco Cobalt and although it was a little bumpy down track in second, third and fourth gear, it was still a pretty good pass.
"However, things got pretty interesting once I crossed the finish line. I usually wait for the chutes to blossom to get on the brakes, but on this run they just stumbled around behind the car. I knew I was carrying a lot of speed, so I hit the brakes and tried the chutes again, but it just started bouncing. The next thing I knew, it was just like Maple Grove all over again. (note: Johnson had a nearly identical incident with this same car during qualifying at the 2006 Reading race.)
"At that point, I just let her go, trying to go in the sand as straight as I could. It started to turn on me once I was in there, but it finally came to a stop. I'm not sure if the Hulkster has ever wrestled in the sand before, but I can tell you that he has now!"
With the repair work starting the moment they returned to their pit area, the Johnson crew will use every resource at their disposal in order to make it to the starting line in time for tomorrow's first round.
"After getting back to the pits and looking the car over, I can tell you we have some work to do before tomorrow, but it's not as bad as it could be. The first thing we'll do is knock the motor out, since it swallowed a lot of sand, but we have plenty of bullets under the bench that will get the job done.
"Besides that, there are other parts and pieces that need to be repaired or replaced, and we'll take care of those, but the biggest challenge will be mounting a new front end. We don't have a spare nose, but we're going to try using the one from the ACDelco Cobalt show car. It certainly won't be easy, but between my guys and Dad's (six-time champion Warren Johnson) GM Performance Parts crew, we're pretty confident we can do it.
"We still have long way to go tonight, but I think we're going to be good tomorrow. We're going to use the motor that set top speed in Indy, and we'll be over in the left hand lane. If we can get all the parts to stay on, we should be fine."