A Game KJ Advances to Reading Quarterfinals After qualifying tenth, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team faced a tall order entering Sunday's final eliminations of the Toyo Tires Nationals in Reading, PA. After going off the top end...
A Game KJ Advances to Reading Quarterfinals
After qualifying tenth, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team faced a tall order entering Sunday's final eliminations of the Toyo Tires Nationals in Reading, PA. After going off the top end of the track during his second qualifying attempt on Friday, the team worked furiously to repair their car. Although they were able to patch it back together well enough to post a competitive 6.652-second, 207.37 mph pass on Saturday, they knew they would need a near-perfect effort on race day in order to score their fourth win of the season.
Things went according to plan in the first round, as KJ used the second quickest reaction time of the round at .023, giving him the edge by two hundredths of a second at the start, and combined it with a solid 6.667-second, 206.76 mph pass to upset No. 7 qualifier Richie Stevens, who slowed to a 12.762-second time in the losing effort.
However, his assignment did not get any easier in the quarterfinals, as he would take on rival Greg Anderson, who had reset the national elapsed time record in the first round. Faced with a potential performance disadvantage and racing in a less-than-perfect race car without the benefit of lane choice, Johnson knew he would need every advantage he could get in order to advance to the semifinals. Unfortunately, he pushed the starting line "Christmas Tree" a little too hard, with the resultant red light awarding the automatic win to his opponent.
Despite the initial disappointment, Johnson quickly acknowledged that, in light of Friday's events, the results could have been worse, and pointed to the tremendous effort by his crew under the difficult circumstances.
"I went in, staged and went down on the stop, but we had so much clutch in it that it pushed me back a bit, making it hard to release it (the clutch pedal) the right way. The bottom line is that I ended up turning on the red light. I had been hoping to get a perfect start and maybe throw him off his game a bit, but it didn't happen.
"Unfortunately, our ACDelco Cobalt also didn't run right today. Although we didn't think that there was a lot of junk in the engine after our excursion on Friday, we didn't want to run the chance of damaging it, so we parked it and put our second bullet in, which apparently hurt us. I guess it just wasn't our weekend.
"Although things could have been better, they also could have been a lot worse. This ACDelco crew did a great job under some very trying conditions, bouncing back to put a competitive car together. We'll take today's results and move on, rebuild and get ready for Richmond next week."