Las Vegas II: GM Racing preview

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 28, 2004 - Only two races remain on the 23-event NHRA POWERade schedule beginning with this weekend's ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Qualifying highlights will be telecast on ESPN2 on Saturday, Oct. 30, ...

LAS VEGAS, Oct. 28, 2004 - Only two races remain on the 23-event NHRA POWERade schedule beginning with this weekend's ACDelco Las Vegas Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Qualifying highlights will be telecast on ESPN2 on Saturday, Oct. 30, starting at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. A three-hour broadcast of final eliminations can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. Eastern, and the Budweiser Shootout for Top Fuel Cars will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 6:30 p.m.

With two contests left on the docket, Pontiac is well on its way to an eighth NHRA Manufacturers Cup. The most recent NHRA "Cup" tally on Oct. 20 has Pontiac leading the Manufacturers standings with 3,980 points, Chevrolet is second with 3,480 points and Dodge is third with 1,220 points. Pontiac won the NHRA Manufacturers Cup from 1996-2001, and in 2003. Chevrolet has won the NHRA Manufacturers Cup 15 times (1966-69, 1973-81, 1983, 2002), the most by any manufacturer in the history of the sport.

Since a backbreaking DNQ two years ago at the ACDelco Nationals that eliminated Greg Anderson from the 2002 NHRA title hunt, the Pontiac Grand Am driver has practically owned the Las Vegas quarter mile. Beginning with the Summit Racing Nationals in April 2003, Anderson's Pontiac has found the winner's circle at the last three events contested at LVMS and has started all three eliminators from the No. 1 qualifying spot. Following the disappointing DNQ in October 2002, Anderson has qualified for every race and now has the longest streak in the category at 45 consecutive events.

Only four Pro Stock drivers remain who have qualified for every race this season. They include Greg Anderson (Pontiac), Bruce Allen (Pontiac), Jason Line (Pontiac) and Larry Morgan. Anderson has the longest consecutive qualifying streak in Pro Stock at 45 races, Bruce Allen has qualified in 27 straight events and Jason Line in 21.

Anderson has driven his Summit Racing Pontiac to a number of single-season records this year including most round wins (68), most final rounds (17), and he has also extended his margin over second-place Jason Line to 702 points - currently the widest championship points spread in the history of the sport. At this juncture of the '04 campaign Anderson is tied with John Force for most victories in a season (13), and with Warren Johnson for most No. 1 qualifiers in a season (15).

Pontiac Grand Am driver Jason Line is a leading candidate for the Automobile Club of Southern California "Road To The Future" Award. Already this season, the Minnesota native and 1993 NHRA Stock Eliminator national champion, has driven his Grand Am to the winner's circle four times, competed in six final rounds, earned low qualifying honors at the Route 66 Nationals in Chicago and has qualified in the top half of the field at every event with the exception of the CSK Nationals in Phoenix. Currently second in the Pro Stock standings with 1,465 points, Line has captured 36 round wins to go against 17 losses for a raceday slugging average of .679. Line has qualified his Pontiac fourth or better at 14 of the first 21 races contested and is one of only four Pro Stock drivers to have qualified for every eliminator in '04.

In April, Anderson's Pontiac Grand Am set both ends of the LVMS Pro Stock track record with a run of 6.810 seconds at a top speed of 202.03 mph.

In 21 races this season, Anderson and teammate Jason Line have combined for 17 national-event victories and 23-final round appearances. Anderson and Line have met in the finals four times this year where they have split their head-to-head title-round battles at 2 - 2.

Jason's Line most recent win at the Lucas Oil Nationals in Reading, Pa., was Pontiac's 17th victory this season and its 142nd all-time in NHRA Pro Stock competition.

Chevy Cavalier driver Dave Connolly continues to pursue Jason Line for the No. 2 spot in the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock standings. With legendary engine builder Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins supplying the horsepower, the 21-year-old Connolly has been the most successful Chevy Cavalier Pro Stock competitor in 2004. Connolly has won three races, scored five runners-up and captured 38 eliminator rounds (second only to Greg Anderson's 68 round wins) for a raceday average of .691. Connolly's most recent win at Joliet (Ill.) on Oct. 3 was Chevrolet's 121st all-time in NHRA Pro Stock competition.

The Pro Stock standings show eight competitors driving GM-branded racecars occupying a position in the top-10. Greg Anderson is the 2004 POWERade champion in a Pontiac Grand Am with 2,167 points and teammate Jason Line is in second place in a Grand Am with 1,465 points. In third place is Dave Connolly, the highest positioned Chevy Cavalier driver with 1,441 points, and ACDelco Chevy Cavalier driver Kurt Johnson is in fourth place with 1,183 points. Bruce Allen is in sixth place in a Pontiac Grand Am with 1,026 points, Jeg Coughlin is seventh in a Cavalier with 1,023 points, Steve Johns is eighth in a Cavalier with 951 points and Rickie Smith is 10th in a Cavalier with 849 points. Warren Johnson is 11th in a Grand Am with 792 points, Mike Edwards is 12th in a Grand Am with 782 points and Jim Yates is 14th in a Grand Am with 566 points.

Four current competitors driving GM-branded Pro Stock Cars have previously won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Pontiac's Greg Anderson has won the last three events at LVMS including the spring events in 2003 - 04 and the October, 2003 ACDelco Nationals. Chevy Cavalier driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. is a three-time winner at Las Vegas Motor Speedway scoring back-to-back victories at the spring events in 2000 - 01, and the fall race in 2002. Chevy Cavalier driver Ron Krisher won the spring race in 2002 and Pontiac's Mark Pawuk won the fall event in 2001.

At this season's spring race at LVMS, Phil Burkart gave Chevy Monte Carlo its first victory in NHRA Funny Car competition. After qualifying his nitro-powered Chevrolet in the No. 5 position, Burkart went on to defeat Whit Bazemore in the finals.

In 2004, Funny Car drivers racing Chevy Monte Carlos have captured seven national-event victories, advanced to 12 final rounds and earned low qualifying honors six times. Del Worsham's most recent win in Joliet on Oct. 3 was Chevrolet's 71st all-time victory and its 146th final-round appearance in NHRA Funny Car competition.

Worsham's recent pair of wins at Dallas on Sept. 26, and at Joliet on Oct. 3, have moved the 34-year-old Chevy driver from fourth place all the way to second place in the NHRA POWERade Funny Car standings. Worsham is 260 points behind first-place John Force but holds a slight cushion of 36 points over third-place Gary Scelzi. Worsham's 36 round wins in 2004 are second only to Force in the Funny Car category, and since his round-one loss to Cruz Pedregon at Indianapolis on Sept. 6, Worsham has gone 10 - 1 during eliminations.

Phil Burkart, Tony Pedregon and Ron Capps are the three current Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car drivers who have previously won at LVMS. Burkart captured the spring 2004 race last April, Tony Pedregon won both the spring and fall race in 2003 and Ron Capps won the spring contest in 2001.

Five Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car drivers occupy a spot in the POWERade top 10. Del Worsham is in second place with 1,412 points, Tim Wilkerson is seventh with 1,134, Cruz Pedregon is eighth with 1,115, Tony Pedregon is ninth with 1,084 and Phil Burkart is 10th with 1,072. Tommy Johnson Jr. is in 11th place with 803 points, teammate Ron Capps is 13th with 755 points and Tony Bartone is 15th with 591 points.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's largest vehicle manufacturer, employs 325,000 people globally in its core automotive business and subsidiaries. Founded in 1908, GM has been the global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in more than 190 countries. In 2003, GM sold more than 8.6 million cars and trucks, nearly 15 percent of the global vehicle market. GM's global headquarters is at the GM Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM and its products can be found on the company's consumer website at www.gm.com.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Tony Bartone , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Larry Morgan , Tommy Johnson , Cruz Pedregon , Bruce Allen , Tim Wilkerson , Phil Burkart , Jason Line , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Steve J