Anderson Has a Score to Settle with Route 66 Raceway
Throughout the course of his career, Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson has done almost everything possible at Route 66 Raceway, site of this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Route 66 Nationals in Joliet, Ill. In qualifying, he has gone from missing the race in 2000 to being the No. 1 qualifier four times, with eight starts in the Top Three positions.
It has been a similar story on race day, where the four-time Full Throttle champion, has advanced to the semifinals or better on six occasions, including three final round appearances. He has even experienced the misfortune of rolling his race car there, which he did in 2002, coming back to qualify and advance to the second round.
In fact, the only item missing from his Route 66 resume is a win, making it the only stop on the NHRA’s Full Throttle Drag Racing circuit where Anderson has yet to reach the winner’s circle, an oversight he looks to correct this weekend.
“Route 66 Raceway and I have some unfinished business,” said Anderson. “It’s not like it’s a track where we struggle, but for some reason we just haven’t been able to close the deal. It’s a beautiful facility with a good racing surface and we enjoy going there, so we have no excuses. It’s been a great track for Jason (teammate Line), who’s won there several times, but somehow the circumstances haven’t worked out in our favor.
“Having said that, there’s no reason why this Summit Racing team can’t go in there this weekend and come out with the Wally. Despite our previous history, I’m confident we’re going to run well there and be in contention throughout the weekend. The bottom line is that we just need to find a way to get the job done and check Route 66 off our to-do list.”
However, Anderson has added incentive for doing well this weekend beyond simply adding the Joliet quarter-mile to his list of successes. With only six races before the start of the NHRA’s Countdown to One playoff season, every team is looking to establish a pattern of competitive excellence, building towards what they hope will be a championship drive. Having seemingly regained the handle on their race car at the last race in Norwalk, the KB crew looks to continue moving forward.
“We are definitely gaining ground on my Summit Racing Pontiac,” said Anderson. “It was a whole lot happier in Norwalk, and if it wasn’t for the absent-minded driver, I believe we would have had a realistic shot at doubling up and sweep the weekend. At this point, I’m very happy with my race car, so if we can get everything in sync, we should be in good shape.
“This year we’ll have the added challenge of racing in the middle of the day on Sunday after qualifying at night on Friday and Saturday. That will certainly be a test for the crew chiefs, but, as I’ve said before, I’d always put our guys Rob (Downing), Tommy (Utt) and Jeff (Perley) up against anyone in the pit area, so it’s not something I’d necessarily worry about, because I know they’ll give me a great hot rod. In fact, it seems like the tougher the challenge, the better we seem to do, so I’m fine with it.
“The night qualifying sessions are exciting for the fans, and I really enjoy them. The cars look that much better, and we run faster than we do in the heat of the day. In fact, I wish we’d race more at night. Even though I’ve never won in Chicago before, I’m still looking forward to this weekend.
“After all, we love going to good racetracks, and Route 66 is one of the better ones on tour. We have no complaints with the surface – it can pretty much take what you can throw at it, which usually works in our favor. That’s important, because this is a big race for us. With only six races left before the Countdown, you have to start getting your ducks in a row so you can be racing at full song going into the playoffs. I think we’re very close to doing that, so we’re heading into the weekend ready to make our first visit to the Route 66 Raceway winner’s circle.”
By: kb racing