O’Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals
Anderson grabs Pontiac's fourth win of season
Houston, Sunday: Greg Anderson has made it look easy in driving his Pontiac Grand Am to four NHRA Pro Stock wins in the season's first five races, but he insists it's anything but easy. His latest triumph and 20th career win came in today's O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park where he beat his fellow KB Racing teammate Jason Line who was making his first final-round appearance.
"This class is absolutely the toughest class out here," said Anderson. "We've got a great team here, everybody knows that, but it kind of showed this weekend that there are some teams making gains. The Jeg's team ran real well just look at the speed numbers today. They outran me in speed a couple of runs, and Warren (Johnson) outran me on speed too, and that shows power. But so far my team has done a better job with the racecar and getting the E.T. out of it. If we can maintain it we'll be in good shape, but it shows guys are making power gains. The bottom line is the best thing for this class is to keep going faster and faster."
Anderson defeated Mark Whisnant in Round 1, Larry Morgan in Round 2, and Jeg Coughlin in the semifinals before facing off with Line. In the all-Pontiac Grand Am final, Anderson clocked a 6.738 seconds at 205.57 mph to Line's 9.466 e.t. at 98.16 seconds. Line, a former head dyno operator for Joe Gibbs' NASCAR Nextel Cup team, appeared to get out of line and slowed as he was making his first-ever final-round appearance. He beat Steve Johns in Round 1, Dave Connolly in Round 2 and Mike Edwards in Round 3 before facing the defending POWERade Pro Stock champ.
"He was out on me off of the tree and was ahead of me at the 60-foot mark," said Anderson, "but then it went left pretty hard on him and we don't know why. That was a different lane than he had been running, but we definitely didn't do anything on purpose. We wanted to have a good race, and it would've been a great race. I would've been just as happy to have him up here right now."
Anderson No. 1 again
Houston, Saturday: Even though Greg Anderson put his Pontiac Grand Am atop the Pro Stock qualifying ladder for the 10th consecutive NHRA race dating back to last September, don't think it ever gets old for the defending POWERade Pro Stock champion. He drove his Vegas General Construction Pontiac to a Pro Stock track record for both e.t. and speed, clocking a 6.693-second No. 1 qualifying run for tomorrow's O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. Anderson also claimed the track's top speed in Pro Stock at 205.72 mph.
"I'm having a blast, an absolute blast," said Anderson. "I keep thinking that I'm going to wake up and it's all going to be over, but right now everybody on the team's at the top of their game. There are a lot of guys out there with power, but they show it sporadically. You've got to do it every run, every racetrack you go to, and that's what we've been able to do and what I'm most proud of. It's obviously not going to continue forever, but we're going to ride this wave for as long as we can."
Anderson's 6.693-second pass in the Friday night qualifying session tied for the third-quickest run in Pro Stock history, matching that same e.t. he ran last year at Englishtown. In fact, the Charlotte resident set the Pro Stock mark at Englishtown last year at 6.670 seconds and now owns the top seven Pro Stock passes in NHRA history.
"We thought coming into Houston that if the temperature was in the 50s or 60s like it was in Englishtown last year, a national record was a real possibility," said Anderson. "But that was not our main concern. Four consistent runs on Sunday are what we're after and what we've been able to do here lately, and hopefully that continues."
Anderson's teammate, Jason Line, will start Sunday eliminations from the No. 2 qualifying position in his Pontiac Grand Am. Line impressively ran his best time of the weekend in the heat of Saturday's final qualifying session, clocking a top time of 6.723 seconds at 205.16 mph.
"I think the car is great," said Line. "Those two runs today were really good. We had kind have been struggling a little with it, and that was a big improvement. I think they hit on what we had been missing, plus the driver's getting a little bit better each time, so hopefully I'm not holding it back any more. I'm more confident going into tomorrow than I have been in the past, so I'm excited."
Anderson seeks first Houston win
Houston, pre race: The KB Racing team and Greg Anderson have something to prove at the upcoming O'Reilly Spring Nationals in Houston. "Last year we qualified number three and lost in the first round to Jim Yates. Without a doubt, there's definitely room for improvement," said Anderson.
"In the past we've struggled with applying power and getting down the track. Pro Stock cars in particular seem to thrive on a smooth racing surface where we can lay down the power without the bumps and track imperfections that upset these racecars."
A newly completed track resurfacing could make the difference this year and Anderson is convinced that with Houston being a zero altitude track, all it will take is some cooperative weather and fans could very well see an assault on the existing NHRA Pro Stock National Records. The current marks of 6.670 and 207.18 mph were established last season by Anderson and KB Racing in Englishtown, N.J., where uncharacteristically cold weather made for ideal race conditions.
"If the Houston weather stays on the cool side, say the low to mid 70s, we may have a shot at breaking the existing record, added Anderson. "With this year's Englishtown event being moved to the middle of June, the summer heat will probably nix any legitimate opportunity at the national record the rest of this season."
Following their Pro Stock win in Las Vegas the team returned to their Mooresville headquarters to begin assembling new GM DRCE powerplants for this weekends Houston event.
"We spent a considerable amount of time on the dyno this week," explained Anderson. "Engine testing went well; we're still concentrating on getting Jason's car at the same performance level as mine. We're satisfied we have equivalent power in both cars. The dyno numbers are within three to four horsepower of one another, which is negligible on the race track."
While reigning POWERade Champion Anderson is currently on a record-setting pace, he still believes there is room for improvement with both cars.
"Obviously our goal is to win at every event; we nearly had an all-KB Racing final at Las Vegas, but Kurt Johnson's Chevy Cavalier put a hold on that aspiration. The focus of our efforts will be on Jason's car this week. Jason has struggled to get consistent reaction times so we devoted time to clutch linkage and clutch adjustment modifications to improve his car in that area.
"We're on a roll; I can't thank the team enough, from Ken and Kenny Black to everyone in this racing organization. Our success is all about teamwork; everyone has contributed to our team's success. I'm looking forward to racing on the new Lone Star State quarter-mile."
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