Anderson Battles Heat and Track to Place Fifth on Friday
After an 18-month absence to allow for a complete track repaving, the NHRA’s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returned to Firebird Raceway on Friday for the opening day of qualifying for the NHRA Arizona Nationals. Facing the combination of an unfamiliar surface and sweltering temperatures, teams were scrambling to find the right combination to maximize their performance on the Chandler quarter-mile.
Despite the challenging conditions, Greg Anderson and the Summit Racing team were able to get off to a solid start, opening with the third-quickest pass of the round at 6.662-seconds with a top speed of 207.53 mph. Although they looked to better their time in the evening session, running in the right hand lane, the defending Pro Stock champion found himself fighting to maintain control midway through the run, with his car heading towards the outside wall. This forced him to click off early and look towards one of his two remaining attempts on Saturday to improve upon his current fifth place standing.
“Our Summit Racing Pontiac was on a decent run, and was even a thousandth quicker than (provisional No. 1 qualifier Mike) Edwards to the eighth mile, when it just shot towards the wall,” said Anderson. “The way it acted, I actually thought I had broken something or hit water on the track, but when I checked it at the top end after the run, everything was fine. It wasn’t a great run, but probably would have been in the 6.64-second range, which would have placed us in the top three.
“Fortunately, we were able to get the data from two thirds of the run, so we should be able to come back in the morning session and move ourselves closer to the top of the page. I also learned that on this particular track it will be crucial to keep the car right in the center of the lane, because if you don’t stay in the groove, you could get in trouble.
“The bottom line is that we’re not totally out to lunch, we just have some adjustments to make so we can get a better handle on the tune-up, and I need to concentrate a little more on my driving. If we do that, we can put ourselves in as good a position as possible for Sunday.”