Englishtown: GM Racing Saturday summary

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 17, 2003 - Pontiac Grand Am driver Greg Anderson set both ends of the NHRA Pro Stock national record today at the K & N Filters SuperNationals rocketing to a 6.684 elapsed time at 207.08 mph. The defending SuperNationals...

ENGLISHTOWN, N.J., May 17, 2003 - Pontiac Grand Am driver Greg Anderson set both ends of the NHRA Pro Stock national record today at the K & N Filters SuperNationals rocketing to a 6.684 elapsed time at 207.08 mph.

The defending SuperNationals champion opened Saturday qualifying with a stunning national-record top speed run and then closed out the final round of time trials with the record-setting e.t.. It is the second consecutive No. 1 qualifying position for Anderson and his third top starting spot of 2003. This is also the seventh consecutive race and the seventh time in eight races that a Pontiac Grand Am has taken the raceday pole in Pro Stock..

"The run this morning was pretty good but it wasn't perfect," said Anderson. "We knew we had some e.t. left in this Grand Am. The car didn't move straight off the line, and I fought it a little in the first couple of gears but once it calmed down in fourth gear, it was hang on - the car had me pinned back in the seat. You could tell it was running an awesome speed. But when you get weather conditions like this, it creates so much power that these cars become like wild animals. Instead of trying to go for broke, you have to back them down in order to get them to run fast. We backed it down quite a bit and it really made a pretty nice run on the clutch, we just have to get it to go straight and it will go faster."

During qualifying today, atmospheric and track conditions came together perfectly for Anderson's record-breaking afternoon. His elapsed time in the second qualifying session was the first time a Pro Stock car had run below 6.70 seconds and was .036 of a second quicker than the previous record of 6.720 seconds set by Warren Johnson last month at Houston Raceway Park. Anderson's top speed in round one was 1.51 mph faster than Chevy Cavalier driver Kurt Johnson's previous mark of 205.57 (also set at Houston) and was the first time a Pro Stock Car had run over 207 mph.

"That was absolutely beautiful in the car," said Anderson. "I couldn't find one thing wrong with that Grand Am. That's the first time this car's run under one second to the 60-foot and that's what it took to get the record. We've been a little off to 60-foot all year and that time we stepped to the plate with a .996. The run was smooth all the way down the racetrack - I could feel how good it was. I knew it had to be something special."

Points leader Kurt Johnson pocketed $50,000 today by driving his Chevy Cavalier to the King Demon Pro Stock Crown championship. Johnson defeated Greg Anderson in the title heat with a 6.753 elapsed time at 205.60 mph to a 7.631-second run at 135.04 mph. It was Johnson's third career King Demon Crown and his first since 1998.

"We had a good combination to get down this racetrack and felt that we could pick up a little in the final session," said Johnson. "Greg (Anderson) was running some strong numbers so we knew he was going to be tough, but we were confident this Chevy Cavalier could run with him. This car has been outstanding lately so it was just a matter of being able to adapt to conditions. We were a little lucky, but we'll take a little luck when we can get it."

In addition to collecting the extra cash, Johnson finished qualifying in the No. 4 position after running a career-best elapsed time and speed of 6.716 seconds at 206.57 mph. Tomorrow, the ACDelco Chevy Cavalier ace will try to become the first driver since Jeg Coughlin Jr. in 2000 to win both the Saturday King Demon Crown and Sunday's national eliminator.

"I've never had a car that was as good or as consistent as this 2003 Cavalier," said Johnson. "The goal with any car is to find the sweet spot and then figure out what it likes. But once you find that spot, the conditions are still going to change so you still need to know how to adapt. We're pretty pleased right now.

"Tomorrow will be like any other race - anybody can win it. Heck, I might even change motors. The one we're using now ran 206 mph, and it's close to where we want it, but you always want to go faster. If it warms up, we're pretty confident this Chevrolet will get the job done. I still need to make better runs to the 330 because Greg's (Anderson) got us covered there by .02, and it shows on the scoreboard at the finish line."

Jeg Coughlin Jr. has the quickest Chevy Cavalier in the 16-car field qualified in the No. 2 spot. Coughlin ran a career-best 6.711 seconds at 204.57 mph. Jim Yates also ran a career-best e.t. at 6.715 seconds. That put the Splitfire Pontiac driver in the No. 3 spot, his best qualifying effort of the season. Mark Pawuk is qualified sixth, Ron Krisher ended up seventh, Warren Johnson is 10th and Troy Coughlin is 12th.

With a bump of 6.741 seconds, this was the quickest Pro Stock field in NHRA history with five cars completing time trials under the previous national record. There are 11 GM cars in the field including four Pontiac SC/T Grand Ams and seven Chevy Cavaliers.

-gm racing-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Troy Coughlin , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher