Heartland Park Topeka
Anderson Battles to Semifinal Finish in Topeka
Coming into Sunday’s final eliminations of the NHRA Summer Nationals in Topeka, Kansas in the eleventh starting position, Greg Anderson and the Summit Racing team knew they had their work cut out for them if they were to contend for their fifth win at the Kansas quarter-mile.
Things seemed to go according to plan in the first round, when Anderson used a superior reaction time and a 6.687-second, 206.29 mph pass to upset his brother-in-law and Summit teammate Ronnie Humphrey on a holeshot, despite Humphrey’s quicker 6.683-second time. However, the KB Racing crew had little time to celebrate, as an unusual top end fire required some added repairs beyond the normal between-round maintenance.
In the second round, Anderson used a 6.715-second, 204.17 mph pass to defeat rival Allen Johnson and advance to the semifinals for the fifth time in this season’s seven races. The final obstacle between the defending champion and his third final round of 2011 was good friend Shane Gray. When the lights turned green, Anderson used a solid .034 reaction time to gain the advantage by almost two hundredths of a second.
However, with his mount slowed by tire shake at the hit of the throttle, he slowed to a 6.799-second time, allowing his opponent, who covered the quarter-mile in 6.710 seconds, to make up the difference and drive on for the win. Although pleased by his team’s effort, the four-time champion knew they would need to get a better handle on their race car prior to the next race in Englishtown.
“Considering our struggles with my car I’m pretty pleased to have made it to the semifinals,” said Anderson. “We never did get it figured out this weekend, but still found a way to race well and go rounds on Sunday, which is a real testament to this Summit Racing team. They never give up – they just keep fighting. I have to say we did make things a little interesting at the top end in the first round.
“It normally has a small header fire right after I pull the chutes, and we extinguish it by starting the engine. Unfortunately, for some reason today it wouldn’t restart, so by the time I got to the turnoff, it was fully ablaze, and the Safety Safari had to put it out. It made for a little extra work between rounds, but everybody jumped in and got the job done.
“Ironically enough, it did the same thing on the next two runs, but I was able to restart the motor and put it out without any issues. I’m not quite sure what it is with me and fire lately, but it does seems to be following me around. It’s just another thing I guess we’ll have to work on.
“We were eventually put out when we blew the tires off in the semis, but when the car is performing the way ours was this weekend, sometimes you take swings at it trying to turn it around that don’t go the way you’d like.
“We’ll just put this one in the history books and move on, going back to our shop in Mooresville to regroup. We have a weekend off before the next race, and we need it to study, figuring out why my car is so different from our other two Summit Racing Pontiacs. It’s a work in progress, and all we can do is keep digging so we can have a better product for Englishtown.”
-source: kb racing