GM Racing Dominates At Bandimere Speedway DENVER, July 18, 2004 - During the last two race seasons it doesn't seem like much has been able to stand in the way of Greg Anderson's rampaging Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock Car. The defending NHRA ...
GM Racing Dominates At Bandimere Speedway
DENVER, July 18, 2004 - During the last two race seasons it doesn't seem like much has been able to stand in the way of Greg Anderson's rampaging Pontiac Grand Am Pro Stock Car. The defending NHRA POWERade champion has powered his way to the winner's circle on multiple racetracks, in different climates and in various altitudes, but had yet to conquer the mile-high-plus conditions of competing at Bandimere Speedway - until today. Driving a new Jerry Haas-built Summit Racing Pontiac, the 43-year-old Anderson captured his 10th win of the season by edging out Larry Morgan in the final round of the 25th annual NHRA Mile-High Nationals.
"This has been a great weekend all around, and it was especially gratifying to give Pontiac another win here at the Mopar race," said Anderson. "The week we spent up here testing provided us with the preparation to get the job done, and that's what you have to do. You have to apply yourself 100 percent. We brought out a brand-new Grand Am, we liked what we saw, we brought it to this race painted in the new Summit Racing colors, and showed that we weren't as crazy as some people thought we were. We won nine races with the other car, but we were able to win with this one on its maiden voyage. I can't thank my guys enough for the job they do and the job they did getting this car race-ready. We push it pretty hard, 16 hours a day, seven days a week, and the payoff is when you can stand in the winner's circle after a long day, with your friends, family and sponsors."
Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am entered the Sunday eliminator as the raceday favorite after the defending NHRA POWERade champion charged to his 10th No. 1 qualifying position of the year, blistering the track-record elapsed time with a 7.159-second run. As has been the case in his previous victories this season, Anderson's GM DRCE-powered Pontiac was a model of consistency, and posted the quickest e.t. of each session running 7.205 seconds in round one against Mark Whisnant, 7.193 seconds in round two against Ron Krisher and 7.184 seconds against teammate Jason Line in the semifinals. In the championship heat against Larry Morgan, Anderson's new Pontiac Grand Am performed right on cue, launching first with a reaction time of .022 and crossing the finish line with a winning 7.194 second run at 191.22 mph. Morgan's Dodge followed the Pontiac across the stripe with a 7.199 e.t. at 192.06 mph. The margin of victory was .0234 of a second, or approximately seven feet.
"I have confidence through the roof in Rob (Downing) and Jeff (Perley), the rest of the crew and the job they are doing," said Anderson. "It doesn't take them much more than one crack at it to figure things out. They are on top of their game and I'm very fortunate to have them making the calls on the Summit Racing Pontiac Grand Am. This may be a new race car, but it is almost identical to the Pontiac I've been racing all year - just some fresh pipe. So we think we know the car pretty well. It's always pretty tricky out here, and when the sun came out it threw us a little bit of a curve. We missed a little first round, regrouped, made some changes and were fast the rest of the day.
"We're working hard but we need to find some more power if we want to continue to run as fast as we have been. It will take a little bit of time, but for now, the driver and the team are going to have to pull our weight and squeak these things out. That's what we did today."
Anderson's 26th career victory was also his 22nd win in the last 36 events dating back to the 2003 season-opening NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. He also improved his 2004 round win-loss record to an astounding 45-3 (93.8%). Averaging nearly 113 points per event, the Duluth, Minn., native and current resident of Charlotte, N.C. has stretched his lead in the Pro Stock standings to 456 points over second-place Kurt Johnson, with only 10 races left to be contested.
"We have a lot of things on our plate we're working on," said Anderson. "Hopefully by the time we get to Indy we'll be in better shape than we are now. If not, then the driver's just going to have to do a better job. It certainly helps that both Jason and myself are now in Jerry Haas-built Pontiacs. We can make a move with either car and we're going to learn something that will benefit both of us in the long run."
In Funny Car, Phil Burkart chose a nice way to complete the first leg of the western swing, picking up his second win of the year by defeating Cruz Pedregon in a final-round battle between Chevy Monte Carlos. The 36-year-old Burkart's Checker Schuck's Kragen Chevrolet entered today's event qualified in the No. 10 position, and defeated a formidable foursome of Monte Carlo opponents including Tim Wilkerson in round one, Tony Pedregon in round two, and Tommy Johnson in round three before facing Cruz Pedregon in the championship heat. Burkart's 5.180-second run in the heat of the day in round three was the third quickest e.t of the afternoon, and gave the CSK Chevy Monte Carlo driver lane choice for the title round.
In the finals, Burkart's Chevrolet blasted off the starting line first against Pedregon and never relinquished the lead, crossing the stripe in 5.338 seconds at a speed of 289.69 mph. Pedregon's Monte Carlo followed with a 5.715 e.t. at 225.67 mph. Today's win was the third career victory for Phil Burkart and the fourth win this year for Chevy Monte Carlo.
"We put together a nice string of runs today with the Checker Schuck's Kragen Chevrolet," said Burkart. "I saw a whole lot of Cruz Pedregon in that final round, but we got down through there in great shape and here we are. We were fortunate to give Monte Carlo its first win in Las Vegas, but this one is just as sweet. The new Chevrolet performed brilliantly here today in the thin air.
"There never is bad day racing when you can stand there with that winner's trophy. Marc Denner and Chris Cunningham, they will soon be household names, if they're not already, when you think of outstanding Funny Car crew chiefs. We have a young hungry team with a tremendous future ahead, and I can't thank the Worsham family and CSK enough for this opportunity. There's a lot of room to build and get better and a lot more races to win."
The next stop on the 23-race NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series is the 17th annual NHRA Nationals on July 23 - 25 at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Wash.
Note: In the two premier NHRA drag races held at Bandimere Speedway this season (including last month's Sport Compact NHRA Nationals), GM Racing completely dominated the competition in the major professional categories. GM Racing posted victories in POWERade Pro Stock and Funny Car, and again in NHRA Pro FWD with Chevy Cavalier driver Nelson Hoyos, and in NHRA HOT ROD with Pontiac Sunfire's Marty Ladwig.
Winner - Greg Anderson (Pontiac Grand Am), 7.194ET/191.22MPH
Runner-up - Larry Morgan (Dodge), 7.199ET/192.06MPH No. 1 Qualifier - Greg Anderson (Pontiac Grand Am), 7.159ET/192.60MPH Top 10 - 1. Greg Anderson (Pontiac SC/T Grand Am), 1,390; 2. Kurt Johnson (Chevrolet Cavalier), 934; 3. Jason Line (Pontiac Grand Am), 927; 4. Larry Morgan (Dodge), 769; 5. Dave Connolly (Chevy Cavalier), 731; 6. Jeg Coughlin (Chevrolet Cavalier), 633; 7. Bruce Allen (Pontiac Grand Am), 611; 8. Warren Johnson (Pontiac SC/T Grand Am), 608; 9. Steve Johns (Chevrolet Cavalier), 552; 10. Rickie Smith (Chevrolet Cavalier), 493.
Winner - Phil Burkart (Chevy Monte Carlo), 5.338ET/289.69MPH
Runner-up - Cruz Pedregon (Chevy Monte Carlo), 5.715ET/225.67MPH No. 1 Qualifier - Whit Bazemore (Dodge), 4.842ET/312.50MPH Top 10 - 1. John Force (Ford), 916; 2. Del Worsham (Chevy Monte Carlo), 889 3. Whit Bazemore (Dodge), 859; 4. Gary Scelzi (Dodge), 802; 5. Eric Medlen (Ford), 766; 6. Gary Densham (Ford), 753; 7. Phil Burkart (Chevy Monte Carlo), 734; 8. Tim Wilkerson (Chevy Monte Carlo), 662; 9. Tony Pedregon (Chevy Monte Carlo), 650; 10. Cruz Pedregon (Chevy Monte Carlo), 596.
Winner - Scott Kalitta, 4.747ET/313.58MPH
Runner-up - Tony Schumacher, 4.814ET/305.08MPH No. 1 Qualifier - Brandon Bernstein, 4.677ET/308.43MPH 1. Tony Schumacher, 1,021; 2. Doug Kalitta, 993; 3. Brandon Bernstein, 970; 4. Scott Kalitta, 761; 5. Larry Dixon, 752; 6. Dave Grubnic, 719; 7. Darrell Russell, 695; 8. Cory McClenathan, 692; 9. Doug Herbert, 591; 10. Scott Weis, 512.