Koretsky's First Run in Nitro Fish Apparel Dodge Stratus Brings Smile, No. 7 Position in Rain-delayed NHRA Winternationals POMONA, Calif., February 26, 2004 - The 2004 NHRA POWERade Series is only one day old and Kenny Koretsky already believes...
Koretsky's First Run in Nitro Fish Apparel Dodge Stratus Brings Smile, No. 7 Position in Rain-delayed NHRA Winternationals
POMONA, Calif., February 26, 2004 - The 2004 NHRA POWERade Series is only one day old and Kenny Koretsky already believes this could be the start of something big.
Koretsky, a businessman/racer from Richboro, Pa., was in seventh position when a winter rain storm turned Southern California soggy last weekend, putting a damper on the opening weekend's K&N Filters Winternationals at Pomona Raceway after one qualifying session and forcing a one-week postponement.
Confident feelings haven't always been Koretsky's companions this early in many of his previous seasons. But there he is, 13 places ahead of two-time Pro Stock Jeg Coughlin Jr.; 21 in front of Kurt Johnson, the 2004 runner-up; and light years ahead of where he usually found himself when the Winternationals launched previous drag racing campaigns.
"We aren't surprised to be No. 7 after our first run," Koretsky said after the 6.799-second effort at 203.12 mph. It's part of the confidence he has driving his Nitro Fish Apparel Dodge Stratus RT Pro Stock entry with Larry Morgan supplying the engines.
"I knew it would run pretty good," he continued. "Larry's motors always make good horsepower, and Eddie Guarnaccia Jr., my crew chief, prepares the car and does the clutch, so I knew we'd be in good shape."
Had he not experienced tire shake that necessitated a quicker shift into second gear, Koretsky believes he'd be sitting up a few notches higher on the 16-car ladder. "When you pull it out of low gear early, it knocks the breath out of the engine," explained Koretsky. "We slowed down. We might've been able to run as good as Larry, who is second (6.765 seconds at 204.05 mph)."
Koretsky virtually assured himself a position in the starting 16 with his first lap, and now he'll concentrate on improving it. He wasn't that confident 12 months ago.
"I drove a Dodge Neon for the first 11 races last year and didn't qualify once," Koretsky said. "But this is a different program. Larry and Bob Glidden (winner of 10 NHRA Pro Stock season championships) are responsible for the engine development. Everything just came together on the team. We all like working with each other. We are having some fun and running good. And we have the manufacturers' support with Mopar, Dodge and the aerodynamicists."
Koretsky has relatively cautious aspirations. "My goal is to finish in the top 10," he said. "I've never been in the top 10, and I'd like to see both Larry and myself be there."
It'll take 23 races and nine more months to see if Koretsky and Morgan reach their goals. For a guy who's raced Pro Stock cars on a semi-regular basis since 1983, Koretsky is eagerly anticipating the ride ahead.
"I'm a businessman first - because, obviously, it takes a lot of money to do this - but I'm a racer at heart. This is what I do," he remarked. "I'm excited because this has the potential to be my best year in racing."
Koretsky has done one thing in drag racing no one else has - he qualified his Top Fuel dragster and his Pro Stock racecar in the same race at Phoenix in 1990. He won the first round in both cars. NHRA later passed a rule that one driver could not qualify more than one car at an event.
Koretsky, 45, is president and CEO of KPK Development, a real estate investment company.