Anderson Courts Sixth U.S. Nationals Win Mooresville, N.C., September 2, 2010 -- This weekend, our nation will observe Labor Day, an annual holiday designed to honor the men and women in the workforce with a day of rest. It also marks the ...
Anderson Courts Sixth U.S. Nationals Win
Mooresville, N.C., September 2, 2010 -- This weekend, our nation will observe Labor Day, an annual holiday designed to honor the men and women in the workforce with a day of rest. It also marks the unofficial end of summer, with children returning to school after a lengthy vacation.
However, in the world of drag racing the first weekend in September signifies it is time for the biggest race of the NHRA season, the legendary Mac Tools U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, IN.
Pro Stock standout Greg Anderson has been a part of the "Big Go" since he was young, when he accompanied his father to the race, took in the entire spectacle and decided that racing was how he would make a living. In subsequent years, he realized his childhood dreams and achieved tremendous success in the Hoosier state, first as a crew chief for Hall of Famer Warren Johnson, and then as the driver of his Summit Racing Pontiac, where his five victories put him in a very select group, a showing he partially credits to his perspective.
"I've always considered the U.S. Nationals to be the most important race of the year, the one where doing well means the most to me, and, thank the Lord, our Summit Racing team has had a lot of great success there" said Anderson. "I love going to Indy to race, and believe part of the reason I've done so well there is because of how I feel about it. I go there and I'm just happy that I'm able to race at an event of this magnitude. It's the biggest race in drag racing, comparable to any other series' marquee event, the one with the most history and the biggest tradition, as well as the largest payout.
"In the weeks before the race and throughout the weekend at the track, I let that significance stay in my mind. I put more preparation and thought into this event, and buckle down more than at any other stop on the circuit, putting a little extra pressure on myself and my team.
It's an approach that has produced results in the past, and one that I'm going to stick with this weekend."
This year's event will have an added twist for the Top Ten competitors in each of the four professional classes in the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, as the NHRA's version of a championship playoff, the Countdown to One, kicks off at O'Reilly Raceway Park. With the points reset to bunch the field and only six races to determine this year's champion, every action, whether positive or negative, is magnified, taking this prestigious event to an even higher level, a move applauded by Anderson.
"Obviously the first race of the Countdown, no matter where it is held, is going to have huge implications," said Anderson. "As the first of the six races, you can't win the championship, but you can probably lose it. If you happen to have a bad weekend and don't perform well, you could dig yourself too deep a hole and essentially knock yourself out of the running. When you add in the fact that the first race is the U.S. Nationals, it just puts it over the top.
"I know there are some people who don't like that this race is the first race of the Countdown. To be honest, I'm not sure that I mind it, because it will make it the most important race to everyone who rolls into the grounds, which is how it should be. It promises to be a barn-burner, a stressful, emotion-filled weekend, which is exactly how I like it."
Finally, after a two-week stretch between races, the three-time champion is excited at the prospect of returning to the track. Realizing this would be their final opportunity to prepare for the six-race championship run, since returning from Brainerd Anderson and his KB Racing team have worked long hours at their shop in Mooresville, NC, searching for added performance. Although the results will not truly be known until this weekend, there is a sense of cautious optimism in the Summit Racing camp.
"I believe things have gone well and feel very confident that we're going to have a couple great Summit Racing Pontiacs this weekend," said Anderson. "I've always liked Indy for the facility and the racing surface because it seems to play into our strengths and we always seem to run well there.
"In addition, we've done a tremendous amount of work over the last two weeks and believe we have made our product better, and will have two great hot rods for Jason (teammate Line) and myself. Going into the U.S. Nationals, I think we have a serious chance of either Summit Racing Pontiac winning the race, which is all we can ask for. We may not dominate, but we will definitely be in the thick of it. It's our biggest race, and we're going to be a serious player."