Kurt Johnson and the ACDelco Cobalt Racing team had a productive day on Sunday at the O’Reilly Summer Nationals with their semifinal finish catapulting them into the POWERade Championship points lead, 20 points ahead of Jeg Coughlin Jr. Ironically, the last time Johnson had been atop the Pro Stock standings was exactly five years ago to the day, following his 27th national event win in Chicago.
Starting from the third position, Johnson defeated archrival Greg Anderson and V. Gaines in the early rounds before squaring off against veteran Ron Krisher in the semifinals. Racing in the less-preferred left hand lane, which saw four of the last seven Pro Stock competitors on that side forced to shut off early, Johnson made his best run of the day, crossing the finish line in 6.755-seconds with a top speed of 204.54 mph. Even so, Krisher was able to gain the narrow victory with a 6.750-second, 203.83 mph pass.
Rookie Pro Stock driver Rickie Jones got a great light (0.009 reaction time) at the NHRA Topeka race and held on for the holeshot win over veteran Warren Johnson. Johnson’s quicker and faster 6.741/205.44 couldn’t make up the difference and Jones’s 6.772.202.82 got him to the finish line 0.509 seconds (that’s 21 inches) ahead of the Professor. Jones was eliminated in the next round by eventual Pro Stock winner Ron Krisher.
Less than 24 hours after his Pro Stock Pontiac crashed hard into one of Heartland Park Topeka’s concrete guard walls, Kenny Koretsky was in his Nitro Fish/Indicom Electric Pontiac pit area, patiently answering the most asked question of passing fans and fellow drivers – “How are you feeling.”
“I’m still sore in my lower back, left leg and elbow,” he commented. “I’ll know more after I get home (to Richboro, Pa.) and get checked out by my doctor. I am thankful I as wearing the HANS device because that definitely prevented injuries to my neck and head. I really got a jolt when I hit.”
The car was already loaded into the transporter and is now on its way to builder Jerry Bickel’s shop near St. Louis.
“I don’t think I’ll be ready to go again next weekend at Chicago (Route 66 Nationals, June 6-8), and neither will the car.”
Koretsky’s crash came in his third qualifying run Saturday. The car moved to the center line before making a sudden left-hand turn into the wall. It bounced off, turned on its side and flopped on its top, sliding across and smacking the right guard wall before stopping, still on its top, with Koretsky hanging upside down.
Top Fuel -- Hillary Will, 4.744 seconds, 304.53 mph, def. Larry Dixon, 4.960 seconds, 281.42 mph.
Funny Car -- John Force, Ford Mustang, 4.996, 299.66, def. Tim Wilkerson, Chevy Impala, 6.183, 152.61.
Pro Stock -- Ron Krisher, Chevy Cobalt, 6.758, 204.70, def. Larry Morgan, Dodge Stratus, 12.144, 62.96.
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Mark Niver, 5.490, 263.41, def. Chris Demke, 5.447, 264.49.
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Steve Harker, Chevy Monte Carlo, 5.644, 256.65, def. Sean O'Bannon, Monte Carlo, 5.691, 255.73.
Competition Eliminator -- David Rampy, Bantam Roadster, 7.317, 179.37, def. Dan Fletcher, Chevy Cobalt, 8.202, 162.47.
Super Stock -- Jeff Town, Buick Regal, 10.926, 114.75, def. Peter Biondo, Chevy Cobalt, 8.944, 147.33.
Super Comp -- Tim Ekart, Dragster, 8.866, 171.90, def. Tommy Phillips, Dragster, 8.861, 169.57.
Super Gas -- Tommy Phillips, Chevy Corvette, No Time, No Speed, def. Bill Mitchell, Corvette, broke.