Reading: Kurt Johnson Saturday summary

A Yeoman Effort by KJ & Crew Yields a 10th Starting Spot in Reading After going off the top end of the track during the first day of qualifying for the Toyo Tires Nationals in Reading, PA, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team knew...

A Yeoman Effort by KJ & Crew Yields a 10th Starting Spot in Reading

After going off the top end of the track during the first day of qualifying for the Toyo Tires Nationals in Reading, PA, Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team knew they had their work cut out for them if they were to compete in Sunday's final eliminations. Although reasonably assured their 6.649-second, 207.66 mph pass from Friday would stay among the top sixteen, extensive repairs would be needed to return their car to race condition. Since this included a total reassembly of the carbon-fiber nosepiece and other miscellaneous areas, they would naturally want to complete them in time to verify their status during one of their final two attempts on Saturday.

Fortunately, the Sugar Hill-based team received welcome help from their teammates on Warren Johnson's GM Performance Parts crew, as well as numerous friends from the area, who worked tirelessly on Friday night and Saturday morning to complete the repairs. In addition, there were additional offers of assistance from their fellow competitors.

Their hard work was rewarded in what proved to be the final qualifying session on Saturday afternoon, when the familiar red, white and blue Bow Tie took to the track, bearing significant scars and a healthy amount of blue duct tape. Even so, it rocketed straight down the Maple Grove Raceway quarter-mile in 6.652-seconds with a top speed of 207.37 mph, which was an impressive eighth quickest among the 21 cars making an attempt.

Although their previous effort from Friday remained their run of record, and earned Johnson the tenth starting spot, the second-generation racer was clearly pleased to have a competitive piece to race with on Sunday. In addition, he was quick to acknowledge the tremendous effort by all involved.

"It's been an action-packed 24 hours, that's for sure. I definitely could not have gotten this ACDelco Cobalt fixed without some help, and a lot of people jumped in. If somebody wasn't swinging a hammer, they were using a screwdriver or welding or doing fiberglass work. We probably had 15 or 20 people who made this happen.

"I want to thank Greg Eck and everyone at the Paintin Place, including Paul, Tim and Shorty, for the tremendous job they did in putting the nose back together. I'd also like to acknowledge the effort by my dad (six-time champion Warren) and the entire GM Performance Parts crew -- the damage to the rocker panel area was one of our biggest concerns, and they jumped in and helped get that straightened out.

"I'd also like to thank all of our competitors for their offers of assistance, including Lisa Edwards (wife of driver Mike Edwards), who brought us a pot of chili to tide us over. Finally, I want to thank my ACDelco crew, Kevin (Horst) and Justin (Belfance) -- they just rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

"You don't know how useful the parachutes are until they don't work. Fortunately, they, along with everything else worked great on this last run. To be honest, we had hoped to go a little quicker. Looking at the data, it was good in the first 330 feet but fell off in the back half. Fortunately, I'm pretty sure I know what caused that to happen, and know what to do to fix it. We're excited going in to tomorrow. We're ready to come out swinging."

-credit: j2r

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson