Kragen O’Reilly NHRA Winternationals
WJ overcomes obstacles to qualify fifth
As a result, Johnson would be the third car in his lane when action resumed, running on a racing surface almost completely devoid of traction-providing rubber. As if this were not enough, with a total of only 14 runs on this particular chassis entering the event, there was still some degree of uncertainty as to how it would perform under the unusual atmospheric conditions.
Fortunately, any concerns were quickly erased, as The Professor rocketed down the quarter-mile in 6.629-seconds with a top speed of 208.62 mph, fifth-best for the round When the rains returned later in the day and curtailed any further attempts, WJ earned a Top Five starting spot for the 18th time in 29 Winternationals starts.
“Our goal for today was to get our K&N Filters GXP in the field as solidly as we could while being conservatively aggressive and we did just that. Having the session interrupted by rain actually worked in our favor, because the track was way too cold, and it picked up about twenty degrees of temperature by the time we ran. Although we felt the track would be pretty good, we also knew it would be relatively green, so we went short on gear and didn’t give it enough rpm’s at the starting line to make sure we didn’t blow the tires off.
“Naturally, if we knew the track would hold what it did, we would definitely have got ten more aggressive. However, we preferred to be a little more conservative, making sure we didn’t find ourselves on the outside looking in. We can work on fine tuning it tomorrow.
“Despite the second storm that canceled the second session this afternoon, there should be some rubber on the track from the fuel cars for the first round, which should help us, because it was turning the tires pretty good at the top end. A lot will also depend on the ambient temperature, as well as the amount of sunshine on the racetrack. We’ll just evaluate what we have to deal with, and make whatever adjustments we feel are necessary.”
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