Bristol: GM Racing final summary

Line Defeats Teammate Anderson in All-Pontiac GTO Pro Stock Final at Bristol No. 1 Qualifier Dominates in Claiming First Win of the Season BRISTOL, Tenn., April 30, 2006 - Teammates Jason Line and Greg Anderson qualified their Summit Racing ...

Line Defeats Teammate Anderson in All-Pontiac GTO Pro Stock Final at Bristol

No. 1 Qualifier Dominates in Claiming First Win of the Season

BRISTOL, Tenn., April 30, 2006 - Teammates Jason Line and Greg Anderson qualified their Summit Racing Pontiac GTOs No. 1 and No. 2 on the Pro Stock starting grid for today's 6th annual O'Reilly Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals at Bristol Dragway, and after four rounds of eliminations, that's where they stayed. Line defeated the three-time defending champ with an elapsed time of 6.716 seconds at 205.35 mph to Anderson's 6.752 e.t. at 204.70 mph. It was the first win of the season for the 2004 Rookie of the Year and the ninth of his career.

"Today was awesome," said Line. "We've kind of struggled all year on race day. We've qualified well but just haven't run well on race day. Today was definitely the exception. I would say we finally got it together, and it was really cool to race Greg in the final. That was the best part about it - especially beating him because not many people get to say they do that. He's tough in the final. I feel less pressure [against Anderson]. It's actually fun. You don't have to think about it because at that point the team has won, so whatever happens, happens. He's gotten the best of me more than I have him, so it's cool to beat him. I like this place no matter what. This is where I got my license and I've just always liked this place, so to win here is really cool."

Line was totally dominating throughout the weekend with Anderson about the only one able to come close to his performance numbers. The likable Minnesota native was No. 1 qualifier, turned in low e.t. of the meet (a track-record 6.708 seconds), top speed (a track-record 205.35 mph), and had the lowest elapsed time in each of his four rounds of eliminations. He defeated Ron Krisher in Round 1, Richie Stevens Jr. in Round 2, and Larry Morgan in the semifinals to reach the 16th money round of his young career. Line also became the sixth different Pro Stock winner through the season's first six races and moved into second-place in points, 51 points in arrears to Anderson.

"We don't like [the parity], but I was happy to be No. 6. From now on we can stop with that and either Greg or myself can just hog the rest of them. It's tough, it's really tough. Everybody's fast right now."

Anderson seemed to be just a slight step behind his teammate all weekend after qualifying No. 2 to Line's No. 1 qualifying effort. Anderson has now qualified No. 1 or No. 2 at all six races this season (four No. 1s) and reached three final rounds including a win at the season-opening race at Pomona. He defeated Dave Northrop in Round 1, Dave Howard in Round 2, and Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Chevy Cobalt in the semifinals to face Line.

"It's all good," said Anderson. "You dream of days like that, and we've been fortunate to have a few. It seems like it's been awhile since we've had either car in the final, and then to get both of them in the final here at the O'Reilly Thunder Valley Nationals, it just feels great. We needed a get-well weekend. I don't mean to sound like I'm whining, but it's been awhile since we've been able to go rounds and make a final round. Everybody else has gained on us and they're doing a heck of a job. The class is absolutely brutal right now. To make a final round with just one of the team cars is just a yeoman's job right now, let alone two. I can't tell you how proud I am of this entire KB Racing team. We've worked so hard the last couple three weeks, and we've just had a couple of small kinks to iron out in this program. The only way we know to work them out is to work hard, and just work night and day. We just try and learn as much as we can, and that's what we've done. We've used every minute in the last couple weeks to test the racecars and to build engines, and it looks like it paid off for us. Like I said, from the guys back at the shop to the guys at the racetrack, they've done a fantastic job. Jason and I are the lucky guys that get to drive the car. They're the ones doing all of the work, making this great horsepower, making these great cars for us.

"It's just a fantastic day. I love this place and I love coming here. It's a beautiful facility and it's just fun racing here. Now we've got some confidence going into Atlanta. I love Atlanta, also, and I always run well there. It's a Summit-sponsored race, so this is a good time to hit our stride. Hopefully we'll keep it going, keep that ball rolling and maybe try and do this again down there, but it feels great today to finally get both cars in the final and have a good day at the office."

In Funny Car, two Chevy Monte Carlos won their first-round match-ups but neither could advance to the semifinals. Tommy Johnson Jr. lost to Gary Scelzi's Dodge in the second round after defeating Tony Pedregon in Round 1. Johnson had a 4.823 e.t. at 318.32 mph to Scelzi's 4.778 at 323.35 mph, and he remains third in the Funny Car points standings. Phil Burkart Jr. was the other Chevy driver to make into the second round. The driver of the CSK Chevy Monte Carlo defeated Robert Hight in the first round before losing to Whit Bazemore. Bazemore's Dodge ran a 4.853 e.t. at 304.46 mph to best Burkart's 5.527 at 207.21. In the final Ron Capps in a Dodge got a hole-shot win over John Force in a Ford with an elapsed time of 4.793 seconds at 319.52 mph to Force's quicker 4.788 e.t. at 310.13 mph.

In Top Fuel, special acknowledgement goes to GMC-sponsored driver Cory McClenathan and his Carrier Boyz Racing team for delivering an unbelievable, off-the-charts effort in even fielding a car for the first round of today's eliminations. In Friday night's second round of qualifying McClenathan had a spectacular, fiery accident that destroyed his FRAM Boost Top Fuel dragster. The dragster's top chassis frame rail broke behind McClenathan and sent him on the potentially serious ride near the finish line. The car folded up in a V-shape and flew through the air before crashing. Although he was airlifted to Bristol Regional Medical Center for examination, miraculously he was unhurt and at the track the next day preparing to race on Sunday.

"You go from one standpoint where you're on all four (wheels) and looking at the front of the car to where you're looking straight down at the front of the car," said McClenathan in describing the accident. "At that point you realize you are in trouble. You are just along for the ride."

Less than 30 minutes after the crash, the wheels were in motion to transport the team's new chassis here from Indianapolis. After an all-night drive from Indy, a new chassis arrived at Bristol Dragway by mid-morning on Saturday and amazingly the Carrier Boyz Racing team turned it around into a ready-to-race, 300-mph dragster in 24 hours. Unfortunately, McClenathan lost a close run with eventual finalist Rod Fuller in the first round, but to be able to even answer the bell for today's eliminations was a great feat in itself for the team.

"All of us at Carrier Boyz Racing appreciate the support of the fans . . . especially when I walked out for driver introductions," said the popular McClenathan. "That was the most important one. The cheers and good wishes from the fans and the racing community were awesome. The doctors and the medical staff here at the track and BRMC were terrific, as were the Safety Safari guys. We trust them with our lives and they always come through. Our crew did a fantastic job getting our new car ready. Brad Hadman builds good race cars and we think this new one will be a great car. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this team."

In the Sportsman classes, Jeff Strickland from Red Bay, Ala., drove his '95 Camaro to the Super Stock title, and Randy Wilkes from Zanesville, Ohio, was a winner in Stock Eliminator in his '01 Firebird.

The next stop on the 23-race NHRA POWERade circuit is the 26th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Southern Nationals presented by Pontiac at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Ga., on May 4-7.

-gm racing-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Richie Stevens Jr. , Kurt Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Jason Line , Dave Northrop , Robert Hight , Dave Howard , Randy Wilkes , Jeff Strickland , Tommy Johnson Jr.