Baytown: GM Racing Saturday summary

Pontiac Remains Perfect in Pro Stock No. 1 Qualifiers for 2006 Jason Line Claims Top Spot for the First Time This Season BAYTOWN, Texas, April 1, 2006 - For the 13th time in their careers, Pontiac teammates Greg Anderson and Jason Line have ...

Pontiac Remains Perfect in Pro Stock No. 1 Qualifiers for 2006
Jason Line Claims Top Spot for the First Time This Season

BAYTOWN, Texas, April 1, 2006 - For the 13th time in their careers, Pontiac teammates Greg Anderson and Jason Line have qualified No. 1 and No. 2 for an NHRA Pro Stock field, and it's usually the three-time defending Pro Stock champ Anderson that finds himself on point. But it will be Line in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO on top of the 16-car Pro Stock grid for tomorrow's eliminations at the 19th annual O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park. The 2004 Rookie of the Year had a track-record elapsed time of 6.686 seconds at 206.29 mph to claim his first No. 1 qualifier of the year and the fifth of his young career. Anderson had been the No. 1 qualifier at each of the season's first three races but today had to settle for No. 2. He drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to an elapsed time of 6.692 seconds at 206.39 mph, and the KB Racing team is now 4 for 4 in No. 1 qualifiers this season.

"The car's getting better, but we're still getting a handle on it," said Line. "We started running an RJ chassis for the first time at the beginning of the year and it's getting better all the time. I really like it, it's a nice car and drives great. In the past we've always had Bickel or Haas cars, and they're all good cars, it's just that this one takes a little bit different setup than the other ones, and we're finally getting a handle on it. It's running great so far this weekend.

"I'm glad we got Greg's car up there. The track was tricky (last night), but my car made a really good run and the crew did a really good job. It was 100% humidity last night and traditionally our team doesn't run well in those kind of conditions, so we're pretty happy. I don't know, we've never been able to get a handle on that. When it's been humid we've really struggled, so it's kind of nice to run good when it is humid."

Joining Line and Anderson as Pontiac qualifiers are Mike Edwards in fourth for the second consecutive race (with a track-record speed of 206.45 mph), Jim Yates (10th), Warren Johnson (11th) and Greg Stanfield (15th).

"We kind of started off slow, especially with my car," said Anderson, "but we've been inching up on it on every run. You know, sometimes you just get greedy and wish you could make it up all in one run, but sometimes you have to grit it out. As long as you keep heading in the right direction, which obviously we are, then you need to keep your head up and things should be fine.

"Tomorrow will be a different day and obviously there's a lot of tough cars out there. Just like we saw the last race, if you don't bring your "A" game, if you don't make your best run, if you don't have your best reaction time, you're going to lose. We know the job's going to be tough tomorrow, but at least we've got confidence with our two cars (Nos.) 1 and 2, we know we're making good runs, and we know we can even make better runs. We need to do that tomorrow, we need to get up on that wheel and drive, and hopefully we can put both Summit Pontiacs in the final."

Erica Enders in her Slammers Chevy Cobalt led Team Chevy with her third top-five qualifying effort in the season's first four races as the Houston native qualified third with an elapsed time of 6.698 seconds at 206.13 mph. Other Chevy qualifiers include Kurt Johnson in the ACDelco Chevy in fifth, Rickie Smith (8th), Ron Krisher (9th), Dave Connolly (12th) and Barry Grant (16th).

"We're really excited," said Enders. "We struggled a little bit in qualifying at Gainesville last race, but we sorted our problems out during testing after Gatornationals. To come here to my hometown, go into the fourth qualifying session and run a .69 and move up to third, we're just really, really excited. And we have a couple of Slammers guys here too. Some of the humidity burned off this afternoon and let us run a little bit faster than we did last night, and we couldn't be happier."

In Funny Car, Del Worsham leads a contingent of Chevy Monte Carlos with fifth-place qualifying effort. Worsham had a 4.777 e.t. at 327.82 mph. John Force was No. 1 qualifier in a Ford with an track-record elapsed time of 4.751 seconds at a track-record speed of 323.62 mph. Other Chevy qualifiers included Tommy Johnson Jr. in sixth, Phil Burkart Jr. (7th), Tony Pedregon (8th), Cruz Pedregon (10th), Gary Densham (11th), Mike Ashley (12th) and Tony Bartone (14th).

"Give me that number in a Texas Hold 'em game, or even on a slot machine, and we'll be doing really well," Worsham said. "Las Vegas is next week, though, so all I care about is how that 777 stacked up against the rest of the class."

GMC-affiliated Top Fuel driver Cory McClenathan saved his best for last as he captured his 30th career No. 1 qualifier in the fourth and final qualifying session today. He powered his Fram BOOST Top Fueler to an elapsed time of 4.531 seconds at 329.42 mph.

"That was awesome," said an elated McClenathan before crediting crew chief Wes Cerny, assistant crew chief Tony Shortall and the crew for their efforts, "and I'm real happy for the Carrier Boyz, Mark and Andy.

"Actually, when they told me at the other end (finish line), I thought they were lying because it was April Fool's Day. I said, 'show me proof,' and they did. I was suprised, and then again, I wasn't. Wes has been creeping up on the tune-up all season, doing a great job just getting the car down the racetrack at the last couple of races. We've been waiting for this thing to come around, and I'm not really a patient person."

-gm racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Tony Bartone , Del Worsham , John Force , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Gary Densham , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Greg Stanfield , Phil Burkart , Barry Grant , Jason Line , Rickie Smith , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.