Topeka: Kurt Johnson race report

Kurt Johnson powers to runner-up finish in Topeka Kurt Johnson's stellar 2003 NHRA season continued today with his runner-up finish in the final eliminations of the O'Reilly Summer Nationals in Topeka, KS. Starting from the second position, ...

Kurt Johnson powers to runner-up finish in Topeka

Kurt Johnson's stellar 2003 NHRA season continued today with his runner-up finish in the final eliminations of the O'Reilly Summer Nationals in Topeka, KS. Starting from the second position, Johnson's ACDelco Cavalier was consistently among the top performers on race day, with each run among the quickest and fastest in that particular round.

After defeating J.R. Carr, Jim Yates and Mike Edwards in the earlier rounds, Johnson was matched against No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson in the final round, with Anderson having the added advantage of choosing his lane. Although this was Johnson's fifth championship round of the season, it was the first of his career at Heartland Park Topeka.

Running in the less-preferred left lane for the first time during eliminations, Johnson knew he would need every possible advantage to gain his fourth win of the season. Responding to the challenge, K.J. recorded the quickest reaction time of the day in all professional categories at .009, leaving the starting line two hundredths of a second ahead of his opponent.

However, shortly after launching, Johnson's car headed towards the outside wall, forcing him to steer it back to the right. This minor course correction was enough to slow Johnson to a 6.845-second elapsed time, and allowed Anderson, who posted the quickest time of the weekend to narrowly edge Johnson.

"We hadn't been in the left lane all day, and it threw us a little curve in the final - I guess it just couldn't handle the power of our ACDelco Cavalier. The starting line was not nearly as good as it was on the right side, and when I left the line, the car hooked violently to the left and cost me about three hundredths.

"We had figured that we could run within a hundredth of Greg, and that if I left on him by a hundredth, we would win. Well, I left on him by two hundredths, but we didn't make a straight run, and it cost us.

"It's still a good day. As tough as the competition is in Pro Stock, you have to be pleased when you win three rounds of eliminations and leave with the second most amount of points.

"The ACDelco crew is doing a great job. We had struggled with the car in qualifying even though we placed second, so we changed some things around last night, and the car is now back to running like it was in Houston and Bristol. We may have fallen a little short today, but we're still pleased."

Next event: Sixth Annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals Route 66 Raceway, Joliet, IL May 29 - June 1

-j2r-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Greg Anderson , J.R. Carr , Mike Edwards