ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals
Koretsky looking for treats, not tricks
Las Vegas, prerace: Many years past his trick-or-treating days, Ken Koretsky would nonetheless like to experience a happy Halloween in this city that doles out its own brand of tricks and treats to visitors on a minute-by-minute basis, 24 hours a day.
Koretsky's version won't come in any casino. His will come from the asphalt at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the fourth annual ACDelco Nationals, Oct. 29-31. And a good showing by the Richboro, Pa., driver and his Nitro Fish Wear Pro Stock Dodge team could mean he'll need to wear a costume of sorts on Nov. 15, when NHRA honors the top 10 POWERade Series finishers.
Koretsky is ninth in points going into this penultimate event and knows all he needs to do is win a couple rounds here and again at the Auto Club Finals to secure a top 10 berth. Should all of that happen, Koretsky will happily dress in a tuxedo for the awards ceremony.
"We're looking forward to the last two races," said Koretsky, who came within nine-thousandths of as second of advancing to his second final round in three races at Reading, Pa., Oct. 10. "Our car is running very well. Larry Morgan continues to give us a motor that is capable of not only winning, but qualifying No. 1. That horsepower and my crew chief Eddie Guarnaccia's tuning of the race car make us a contender to win the last two races."
His third 6.9-second run in two races - a career best (at the time) 6.697 seconds - put Koretsky into the first-day qualifying lead at Reading and it stood up for No. 3 going into eliminations.
Runner-up at the U.S. Nationals (Sept. 6 at Indianapolis), Koretsky marched into the semifinals and ran his quickest and fastest quarter-mile. The 6.679-second, 206.39-mph effort, however, came in a losing cause against Jason Line in the semis. Line had a quicker starting line reaction time that prevented Koretsky from getting to the title round. Line, the eventual race winner, had a .026 reaction time to Koretsky's .045.
"We know we have all the ingredients to get a win," added Koretsky, "but we just haven't been able to put it all together yet. Eddie's confident with the way the car's running. We lost on a hole shot at Reading, but we left knowing the car is running with the leaders. I'll be reading at Vegas."
Koretsky has 852 points, three more than 10th-place Smith. But 11th place Warren Johnson is 60 points (three rounds at 20 points per) behind with those eight rounds of competition left on the 2004 docket.
A veteran of Pro Stock competition, Koretsky isn't taking anything for granted, although he's confident. He needs to do his job on race day and he'll collect his Halloween treat - a guaranteed top 10 finish.
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