Texan Arthur Kohn became the latest winner in the School of Automotive Machinists and Technology NHRA Factory Stock Showdown by driving to a final round victory over defending series champion David Barton. Kohn, appearing in his first final round, used an almost-perfect .008 reaction time and an 8.087, 168.56 to top Barton’s quicker 8.036, 167.84. It was Kohn’s first NHRA national event victory.
“To be honest, I don’t even know where to start,” said Kohn. “This year, we started working with Greg [Stanfield] and Stephen Bell and we formed a team to go after this [Factory Stock] deal as a group. Having multiple cars allows us to get data and learn quicker. I knew we had a good deal going but I didn’t think it would come together this quickly. I got my first COPO Camaro in 2016 but I quickly learned I’m not a good sportsman racer. I like this class because it’s a Pro Tree and it’s heads-up racing.
“In the final, I knew I had to be A-plus to beat David,” said Kohn, who operates an Industrial Ventilation company in his hometown of Richmond, Texas. “That’s why I’m glad we’re on the Pro Tree. I’m actually a bit speechless. Our cars both spun the tires in the final but I got out in front and managed to stay there. It was actually a great race.”
Kohn qualified solidly at the first Factory Stock event of the season in Gainesville, but his shot at a win ended when he wounded an engine in the second round. Kohn was able to watch as his teammates, Bell and Aaron Stanfield met in the final round with Bell claiming his first win. This weekend at zMax Dragway, Kohn qualified No. 9 in the quick field with an 8.113, 167.93 and then powered his way past low qualifier Leah Pritchett, Joseph Welch, and Kevin Skinner to reach the final. Kohn used an 8.113, 170.51 to beat Pritchett, but spun the tires in the other two rounds.
“It’s tricky with these cars,” Kohn said. “They have a small tire and you have to manage the power. We didn’t always do that but we got the win.”
After a less than stellar showing at the season-opening event in Gainesville, Barton made a solid recovery even though he lost the final. Driving a COPO Camaro owned by Gary Wolkwitz, Barton qualified No. 2 with an 8.061, 169.23 behind Pritchett’s career-best 8.045. In the second round, Barton established himself as the favorite with an 8.019, the quickest pass to date in NHRA Factory Stock competition. Barton also ran an 8.048 in his semifinal win over Randy Taylor’s COPO Camaro.
The next event in the seven-race SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Stock Showdown will take place at the Fitzgerald’s USA NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway in Bristol, Tenn. June 15-17.