Pontiac, Chevrolet NHRA teams battle for position as the Countdown looms Only four races remain until first cut following Reading Nationals SEATTLE, July 17, 2007 - The NHRA POWERade series embarks for the Great Northwest and this weekend's 20th...
Pontiac, Chevrolet NHRA teams battle for position as the Countdown looms
Only four races remain until first cut following Reading Nationals
SEATTLE, July 17, 2007 - The NHRA POWERade series embarks for the Great Northwest and this weekend's 20th annual Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals at Pacific Raceways on July 20 - 22. It is the second race of the three-race Western Swing, a demanding series of events that takes the tour through Denver, Seattle and Sonoma, Calif., before it makes its way eastward for the NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minn., on Aug. 10. With only four races remaining on the docket before the first cut to the Countdown to the Championship, every round win will go a long way in determining a prime position in the standings, and competitors in GM-branded cars are battling tooth-and-nail to secure a premium seat in this quarter-mile game of musical chairs.
In its simplest form, the Countdown breaks the 23-event schedule into three distinct sections: the 17-race Countdown to 8, the four-race Countdown to 4 and the two-race Countdown to 1. After 17 regular races, only the top eight drivers in each professional category advance into the first round of the playoffs beginning with the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals on Aug. 30 - Sept. 3. The top driver is assigned 2,070 points and each of the remaining drivers 10 fewer points each. The top-four drivers after the four-race playoff (following the NHRA Nationals at Richmond, Va., on Oct. 7) will have their points reassigned, and they will contend for the championship at the last two events beginning with the ACDelco Nationals at Las Vegas on Oct. 26 - 28, followed by the NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., on Nov. 1 - 4.
In the Pro Stock category, five drivers in GM-branded cars currently occupy a crucial spot in the top eight of the points standings, while others are within reach and knocking on the door.
Pontiac's Greg Anderson continues to lead the 2007 POWERade standings with 1,081 points and does so on a strong foundation of six national-event victories (Pomona, Gainesville, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Topeka, Englishtown) in six final-round appearances, eight No. 1 qualifying awards, low elapsed time of the meet seven times and 20 additional points for setting the national e.t. record at Gainesville, Fla., in March. Anderson is a two-time winner of the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals and the only Pro Stock driver to ever sweep the three-race Western Swing (2004). Anderson has successfully qualified for 106 consecutive national events, the longest streak in Pro Stock, and has 49 career wins heading into this year's race.
Team Chevy's Jeg Coughlin Jr. only had four round wins in the bank when the series left Houston on April 1 following the O'Reilly NHRA Spring Nationals. Since then, the Ohio native has ridden a strong performance wave that includes two national-event victories and five final-round appearances over the course of the last nine contests. The two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion (2000, 2002) and driver of the Jegs.com Cobalt has added 23 round wins to his scorecard since his first runner-up of the season at Las Vegas on April 15, and he also has three No. 1 qualifying awards for a current points total of 997, just 84 shy of first-place Anderson. Coughlin won the Schuck's Auto Supply NHRA Nationals in 2002 and was runner-up in 2000.
Dave Connolly has his Chevy Cobalt parked in the No. 3 spot in the Pro Stock standings with 885 points heading into Seattle. The driver of the Torco Racing Fuels Chevrolet has visited the NHRA winner's circle twice this season (St. Louis, Norwalk), was runner-up at Topeka and set low e.t. of the meet on raceday at St. Louis and Norwalk. Connolly was runner-up at Seattle in 2004.
Defending POWERade Pro Stock champion and Summit Racing Pontiac driver Jason Line is looking to find some momentum when the NHRA POWERade series sets up shop at Pacific Raceways. Line has one race win (Houston) to go along with runners-up performances at Phoenix and Chicago. He was also No. 1 qualifier at Phoenix and set an NHRA Pro Stock top speed national record of 211.69 mph at Gainesville (Fla.) in March. Line has never won at Seattle but he was No. 1 qualifier in 2006. He has successfully qualified for 86 consecutive races and his 749 points put him in fifth place in the Pro Stock standings.
Team Chevy's Kurt Johnson is a three-time winner at Seattle (1993, 1999, 2005) and has a pair of runners-up (1996,1998) to go along with his victories there. The driver of the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt is currently in sixth place in the Pro Stock standings.
GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson sits in ninth place with 579 points and is just two points away from breaking back into the Elite Eight. Among active Pro Stock competitors, the six-time NHRA champion has the most wins at Pacific Raceways with four (1989, 1991, 1995, 1998), has been runner-up twice and No. 1 qualifier six times (1990-91, 1993, 1995, 1998-99).
Greg Stanfield is in 11th place in a Pontiac with 491 points. Jim Yates is 12th in a Pontiac with 470 points. Kenny Koretsky is in 13th place in a Chevrolet with 454 points and Mike Edwards is in 14th place in a Pontiac and has 441 points. Following the Mile-High Nationals, the bump spot in the standings for the No. 8 position is 581 points.
-credit: gm racing