Anderson Up For Challenge from Former Car Owner Busch
Mooresville, N.C., March 8, 2011 – The NHRA’s Pro Stock category will have a celebrity among their ranks at this weekend’s Tire Kingdom Gatornationals, as 2004 NASCAR champion Kurt Busch will make his debut in the “factory hot rods”. Although the two are now good friends, Summit Racing driver Greg Anderson believes he may have played a part in Busch’s decision to try his hand at straight-line racing following their initial encounter several years ago, thanks to his performance driving a Busch-owned street car in a spur of the moment match race. As the defending Pro Stock champion prepared to head to Gainesville Raceway, he recalled the details of that eventful evening.
“I feel partly responsible for giving Kurt Busch the motivation to go Pro Stock racing,” joked Anderson. “I first met Kurt a few years ago, at a party zMAX Dragway threw to celebrate their inaugural drag race. They had invited racers from NASCAR and the NHRA to bring out their personal hot rods and go head-to-head on the race track, and Kurt happened to be there with several of his toys, one of which was his 1,200-horsepower Dodge Viper. Someone came up with the brilliant idea of a match race between myself and Kasey Kahne, and before I knew it, I found myself arm wrestled into this race using Kurt’s Viper.
“To make a long story short, the clutch that Kurt had in his Viper wasn’t quite up to the challenge of flat-out, NHRA Pro Stock style drag racing, so I basically destroyed it trying to make sure I beat Kasey and teach those NASCAR guys a lesson. That was my initial introduction to Kurt Busch, and needless to say, he was not impressed. In fact, he vowed to get me back.
“He originally just wanted to drive my Summit Racing Pontiac, but he’s obviously taken it taken it one step further, getting his Pro Stock license and his own ride, so he can try to whip my butt on the racetrack. He’s coming to Gainesville, so we may just get the chance to lock horns at the Gatornationals. I know he says he’s doing this for fun, but I think the real reason he’s there might be trying to exact some revenge from a certain drag racer who killed the clutch on his Viper.”
Regardless of the stock car racing star’s motivation, Anderson is quick to welcome him to the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Based on Busch’s strenuous training and testing regimen over the last few months, he is also quick to caution those who might take this one-off effort too lightly. Finally, the four-time NHRA champion recognizes the potential benefit of having such a high-profile racer compete on the quarter-mile, although he certainly does not want the newcomer’s success to come at his expense.
“I’m looking forward to having Kurt out there with us,” said Anderson. “I’ve gotten to know him pretty well over the last few years, and he’s a good guy. It’s certainly not easy to drive one of these Pro Stock cars, just as it isn’t easy to drive a Cup car, so I give him a lot of credit for stepping out of his comfort zone and trying his hand at drag racing. It’s also great for Pro Stock and NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing, because his presence will expose our sport to a lot of new fans who will tune in just to see how he does.
“It’s going to be fun racing him, but we’re going to have to make sure and do our homework. He’s going to be in a fast hot rod, and as hard as he has been practicing, he could definitely surprise a lot of people. We had better be on our toes, or that clutch could turn out to be pretty expensive.”
Despite the obvious distractions, Anderson and his Summit Racing team’s focus remains riveted on capturing their third Gatornationals winner’s trophy. After a strong showing in Pomona two weeks ago, where all three Summit Racing Pontiacs advanced to the semifinals, with Jason Line securing the win, the team is in high spirits heading to the Sunshine State. However, Anderson acknowledges that further improvement will be necessary in order to add to KB Racing’s impressive record at Gainesville Raceway, where he and Line have combined to score five wins in six final round appearances over the last seven years.
“This Summit Racing team got off to a great start, which was certainly a confidence builder,” said Anderson. “But there were a lot of crazy things that happened over the weekend from the crazy weather to Mike Edwards not qualifying to other cars going out much earlier than expected that worked directly in our favor. We certainly don’t expect things to go that easy for us in Gainesville. The weather will not be a problem and the racetrack at Gainesville Raceway has always been good, so this should be more of a normal race, where it comes down to how much power you have, how good your hot rod is, and the driver doing his job.
“The good news is that we know we have good hot rods and good power, with Jason, Ronnie and I all capable of getting to the winner’s circle. However, the depth of the talent in Pro Stock is deeper than it’s ever been, with a lot of fast cars capable of winning. At this point, Jason’s win is a good motivator, but we know we’re going to have to show up in Gainesville with an even better product. It’s going to be a tough race to win, but it’s one of my personal favorites and one I love to win, and we have all the pieces in place to get the job done. It was Jason’s turn in Pomona, so as far as I’m concerned it’s my turn this weekend, so I’m going to do whatever I can to even the score and get this KB Racing team up 2-0 on our competition.”
Greg Anderson & the Summit Racing Pontiac crew
By the Numbers – Gainesville Raceway edition:
2 - Wins scored by Anderson at Gainesville Raceway heading into this weekend most recently in 2007, when he qualified No. 1 and defeated Justin Humphreys, Jeg Coughlin, Matt Scranton and Larry Morgan en route to the win.
4 – a) No. 1 qualifying performances by Anderson in Gainesville in 10 career starts, with only two starts outside the top half of the field (none since 2003).
b) Finishes of the semifinals or better by Anderson in his previous 10 Gainesville starts
5 – Overall wins by KB Racing at Gainesville Raceway in the last seven years (Anderson 2, Line 3)
17 – Elimination round wins scored by Greg in his previous 10 Gatornationals starts versus 8 losses for a 68 round win percentage.
Did you know? Greg has reset the NHRA Pro Stock national elapsed time twice at the Gatornationals, most recently in 2007.
-source: kb racing