Dallas: GM Racing preview

ENNIS, Tex., Sept. 22, 2004 - The 18th annual O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals will be held Sept. 24 - 26 at the Texas Motorplex. Professional category time trials begin on Friday, Sept. 24, with two sessions of qualifying at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., two...

ENNIS, Tex., Sept. 22, 2004 - The 18th annual O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals will be held Sept. 24 - 26 at the Texas Motorplex. Professional category time trials begin on Friday, Sept. 24, with two sessions of qualifying at 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., two qualifying sessions slated for Saturday, Sept. 25, at 12 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and final eliminations scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 26, beginning at 11 a.m.

Pontiac Grand Am's 2004 Rookie of the Year Candidate - When looking at the outstanding performance statistics so far this year of Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock driver Jason Line, it should come as no surprise that the teammate of defending NHRA POWERade champion Greg Anderson is one of the leading candidates for 2004 NHRA Rookie of the Year. Already this season, the Minnesota native and 1993 NHRA Stock Eliminator national champion, has driven his Grand Am to the winner's circle three times, competed in five final rounds, earned low qualifying honors at the Route 66 Nationals in Chicago and has qualified in the top half of the field at every event with the exception of the CSK Nationals in Phoenix. Currently second in the Pro Stock standings with 1,279 points, Line has captured 32 round wins to go against 15 losses for a raceday slugging average of .681. He has also qualified fourth or better at 12 of the first 18 races contested and is one of only four Pro Stock drivers to have made the 16-car field for every eliminator in '04.

After 18 national events, Pontiac leads the NHRA Manufacturer's Cup standings with 3,380 points. Chevrolet is in second place with 2,880 points and Dodge is third with 1,000 points.

In addition to Jason Line, four Pro Stock drivers remain who have qualified for every race this season. They include Greg Anderson (Pontiac), Bruce Allen (Pontiac), Jason Line (Pontiac) and Larry Morgan. Anderson has the longest consecutive qualifying streak in Pro Stock at 42 races. Bruce Allen has qualified in 24 straight events and Jason Line in 18.

Greg Anderson's most recent win at the U.S. Nationals on Sept. 6 was the 16th Pro Stock victory this season for Pontiac and 141st all-time in NHRA competition.

Anderson continues to rewrite the NHRA record book. Anderson's third career win at Indianapolis (his 13th in 2004) tied John Force for most professional victories in a single season, and his 62 round-wins is on pace to surpass a record of 67 he set during last year's championship run. Including this weekend's O'Reilly Nationals in Texas, there are still five races left to be contested. Last week's race in Reading, Pa., was postponed until Oct. 8 - 10 because of rain.

Anderson has won a national event at every venue on the 23-event NHRA POWERade tour with the exception of Reading (Pa.) and Joliet (Ill.). He is also the defending champion at the Texas Motorplex defeating Jeg Coughlin Jr. in the Pro Stock finals.

GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson has earned low qualifying honors at the NHRA Fall Nationals eight times (1989, 1991-95, '98-99).

Warren Johnson's five career victories at the Texas Motorplex (including three at the Fall Nationals in 1989, 1998-99) are the most ever in the Pro Stock category. ACDelco Chevy Cavalier driver Kurt Johnson has won three times at the Texas Motorplex (1993, '95, '00) Jim Yates has won twice in a Pontiac (1996-97), and Greg Anderson (2003), Jeg Coughlin (2002) and Mike Edwards (1998) have one victory.

Warren Johnson has also posted six runner-up finishes at the Texas Motorplex (1986, '91, '93-94, '97 and 2000). Three current GM racers have posted a pair of runner-up finishes at the Texas Motorplex including Kurt Johnson (1996, '98), Jim Yates (1998-99) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (2000, '03). Mike Edwards was runner-up in 1999.

Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Chevy Cavalier set both ends of the Pro Stock track record at the Texas Motorplex in October 2002 with a run of 6.785 seconds at 204.03 mph.

Chevrolet-branded Funny Cars have compiled 69 all-time wins in NHRA competition and competed in 143 final rounds. Chevrolets have also raced to the final round at five of the last six national events.

Heading into the Lone Star State, eight Pro Stock competitors racing GM-branded cars occupy a spot in the POWERade top 10. Greg Anderson leads the championship battle in a Grand Am with 1915 points, Anderson teammate Jason Line is second in a Grand Am with 1279 points, Chevy Cavalier driver Dave Connolly is third with 1160 points and Kurt Johnson is fourth in the ACDelco Chevrolet with 1091 points. Jeg Coughlin is sixth in a Chevrolet with 901 points, Bruce Allen is seventh in a Pontiac with 831, Steve Johns is eighth in a Chevrolet with 785 and Warren Johnson is ninth in a Pontiac with 721. Rickie Smith is 11th in a Chevrolet with 675 points, Mike Edwards is 12th in a Pontiac with 658 points, Jim Yates is 13th in a Pontiac with 536 and Ron Krisher is 15th in a Chevrolet with 443.   

All Greg Anderson has to do this weekend to clinch his second consecutive NHRA POWERade championship is qualify fourth or better and win just one round of eliminations.

Five Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car drivers occupy a spot in the POWERade top 10. Del Worsham is in fourth place with 1107 points, Tim Wilkerson is seventh with 1039 points, Phil Burkart is eighth with 936 points, Tony Pedregon is ninth with 922 points and Cruz Pedregon is 10th with 913 points. Tommy Johnson Jr. is in 11th place with 707 points and teammate Ron Capps is 12th with 657 points. John Force leads the Funny Car standings with 1379 points.

The O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals is the 19th race on the 23-event NHRA POWERade tour. Qualifying highlights will be telecast on ESPN on Saturday, Sept. 25, beginning at 4 p.m. Final eliminations can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, Sept. 26, beginning at 11 p.m. (All times Eastern)

-gm racing-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Cruz Pedregon , Bruce Allen , Tim Wilkerson , Phil Burkart , Jason Line , Rickie Smith , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Steve J , Tommy Johnson Jr.