Commerce: GM Racing Saturday summary

COMMERCE, Ga., May 3, 2003 - For the third consecutive year, Pontiac's Greg Anderson has captured the No. 1 qualifying position in Pro Stock at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals presented by Pontiac at Atlanta Dragway. Anderson's SC/T Grand Am...

COMMERCE, Ga., May 3, 2003 - For the third consecutive year, Pontiac's Greg Anderson has captured the No. 1 qualifying position in Pro Stock at the Summit Racing Equipment Nationals presented by Pontiac at Atlanta Dragway. Anderson's SC/T Grand Am rolled to a 6.821 elapsed time at 203.00 mph (track record) to take give the Charlotte, N.C. resident his second raceday pole of 2003.

"We made two good laps today with the Vegas General Construction Pontiac," said Anderson. "The last two races we thought we had a pole qualifying car, but we made slight errors during the fast sessions and fell a little bit short. We knew we could do it here if we put everything together and this morning we made a nice enough run to get the job done.

"Now it's time to get down to business and see if we can win a race tomorrow. This Pontiac is going to be fast. I'm so proud of the guys and the way the car runs - it's fast every time down the race track. I'm going to have great horse under me, and if I can do my job, I think we've got a good shot at winning the race."

Anderson has been runner-up the last two years at Atlanta Dragway. Heading into tomorrow's eliminator, he is second in the points standings behind first-place Kurt Johnson. Anderson scored victories earlier this year at Phoenix and Las Vegas.

"We still haven't made the perfect run yet this weekend," said Anderson. "We're still spinning and shaking the tires. There's room to improve, but you have to get it done - you have to fix it. This car has the potential to run another hundredth quicker yet and that's the edge we'll be focussing on for tomorrow.

"We have a pretty good book on Atlanta Dragway, but at the same time, I don't feel that's given us an advantage. Tomorrow we're expecting different conditions and that's just another factor we'll have to prepare for."

Current Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin has the quickest Chevy Cavalier going into tomorrow's race. Coughlin's Chevrolet took the No. 2 qualifying spot with a run of 6.822 seconds at 201.04 mph. The two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion won this event in 2000.

"This team's doing a good job navigating the race track," said Coughlin. "We've made some errors this season that we'd like to take back, but in drag racing, you can't hit the rewind button. As a group, we're determined not to make the same mistakes twice. We know how to race this Chevy Cavalier, we have all the right pieces and we're just going to let the numbers fall where they may."

Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Chevrolet is qualified in the No. 3 position. The hometown favorite and current points leader is hoping to capture his second career victory at this event, and his first here since 1996.

"We originally thought we had a shot for the No. 1 spot," said Johnson. "But when the sun came out, we felt it wouldn't be that good of a session, so we changed the carburetors, putting on a pair that had looked pretty promising on the dyno the other day. They helped us to the 60-foot mark where we had been struggling, but it was a little off downtrack. We'll look at our notes and see if we can't tune up our ACDelco Chevrolet Cavalier for tomorrow.

"You're always happy when you're the quickest car, as we were in that last session. We certainly have our work cut out for us, but this Chevy just keeps going down the race track. We think we'll be pretty good tomorrow."

Mike Edwards ended up in the No. 4 qualifying spot in an SC/T Grand Am, Taylor Lastor is fifth in a Cavalier, Warren Johnson is sixth in a Pontiac and Jim Yates fills out the top half of the field in the No. 8 position in an SC/T Grand Am.

"All year we've been looking for a little performance," said Yates. "This weekend, Bob (Ingles) took one of our engines and put it back to the way we ran it at Gainesville. Even though it didn't look good on the dyno, it looked real good going down the racetrack. We've learned a ton, and we probably need to move up a little farther, but right now, I'm happy to have this Pontiac Grand Am in the top half of the field, headed back to our old form."

Mark Pawuk ended up in the No. 9 spot, Bruce Allen was 10th and Mark Whisnant was 16th running 6.872 seconds. There are 12 GM cars in the field for Sunday - six Grand Ams and six Cavaliers. The qualifying margin was .051 of a second.

General Motors (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, designs, builds and markets cars and trucks worldwide, and has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM employs about 350,000 people around the world. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Bruce Allen , Mike Edwards