Sonoma: GM Racing preview

GM Racers Ready for a Return to Sea-Level Competition Infineon Raceway Hosts Conclusion of Three-Race NHRA Western Swing SONOMA, Calif., July 25, 2006 - The three-event Western Swing culminates this weekend with the 19th annual Fram-Autolite...

GM Racers Ready for a Return to Sea-Level Competition Infineon Raceway Hosts Conclusion of Three-Race NHRA Western Swing

SONOMA, Calif., July 25, 2006 - The three-event Western Swing culminates this weekend with the 19th annual Fram-Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway on July 28-30. GM teams are looking forward to a return to sea-level racing conditions at this venue just a few minutes north of San Francisco/Oakland, and the potential for impressive performance numbers. The relatively new racing surface (constructed in 2002) and cool Saturday morning temperatures at last year's contest propelled the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt of Kurt Johnson to the No. 1 qualifying position in Pro Stock and a track-record e.t. of 6.676 seconds. Greg Anderson kept the mph record in the Pontiac camp with a top speed of 206.95 mph, and then on Sunday, captured his fourth victory of the season with a win over Johnson in the finals (the first for the GTO in NHRA Pro Stock competition). Anderson would go on to win eight national events and his third straight POWERade championship.

Qualifying coverage of the Fram-Autolite Nationals will be telecast on ESPN2 on Saturday, July 29, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern. A three-hour broadcast of final eliminations can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, July 30, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Sonoma Pre-Race Stats & Facts

Dave Connolly's win at the Mile-High Nationals in Denver on July 16 was the fifth victory for the Cobalt in NHRA Pro Stock competition this year, and Chevrolet's 132nd all time in the factory hot rod category. Connolly has three wins this year in a Cobalt (Atlanta, Topeka, Denver) while ACDelco Chevrolet driver Kurt Johnson has two (Las Vegas, Chicago). .

Mike Edwards' win at St. Louis was the seventh this season for the GTO in NHRA Pro Stock competition and the 166th all time for Pontiac in the factory hot rod category. Edwards has two victories so far this season (Houston, St. Louis) Jason Line has two (Bristol, Englishtown), Greg Anderson has one (Pomona), Warren Johnson has one (Phoenix) and Jim Yates has one (Columbus).

Among active Pro Stock competitors, Pontiac GTO drivers Warren Johnson and Jim Yates are tied for the most wins at Infineon Raceway - both with three. Johnson picked up his first victory at this event in 1992, then followed up with wins in 1996 and 1998. Jim Yates visited the winner's circle for the first time in 1995, then repeated in his championship year of 1997 and again in 1999. Greg Anderson has won back-to-back contests at Infineon Raceway (2004-05) in a Pontiac, Tom Martino scored his only Infineon Raceway win in 2001 and Chevrolet's Kurt Johnson captured a victory in 2000.

Jason Line leads the Pro Stock standings in a Pontiac GTO with 935 points. Greg Anderson is in second place in a Pontiac with 910 (-25) points, Dave Connolly is in third place in a Chevy Cobalt with 879 points (-56), Jim Yates is fourth in a Pontiac with 792 points (-143), Kurt Johnson is fifth in a Chevrolet with 767 points (-166), and Mike Edwards is sixth in a Pontiac with 745 points (-190).

Line's No. 1 qualifying effort at Seattle was the eighth of his career and his fourth this year. The Summit Racing Pontiac driver has also run low e.t. of the meet four times and run top speed four times. His teammate, Greg Anderson, has been No. 1 qualifier six times, run low e.t. of the meet five times and set top speed four times.

Closing in on the Pro Stock top 10 are Pontiac GTO drivers Greg Stanfield and Warren Johnson, as well as Chevy Cobalt driver Ron Krisher. Stanfield is in 11th place with 628 and trails 10th place by just seven points. Warren Johnson is in 13th place with 595 and trails 10th place by only 40 points, and Ron Krisher sits in the 14th position with 526 points.

Chevy Cobalt driver Dave Connolly is closing in on 100 career round wins. With 98 already tallied during a relatively young career that began with the '03 season, the 23-year-old Ohio native needs just two more to reach the century mark.

Connolly may be the hottest overall driver in Pro Stock right now, advancing to five final rounds in the last 10 events and capturing 22 of his 23 round wins during that same 10-race time frame. Since the naming of Tommy Utt as crew chief prior to the Atlanta event eight races ago in May, Connolly has moved from ninth place in the standings to third.

Greg Anderson claimed the points lead with his win last year at Sonoma and then held on to win his third straight title. Anderson then opened the 2006 campaign with a victory at Pomona and reclaimed his position at the top of the points standings, holding onto the No. 1 spot for 21 consecutive events until teammate Jason Line took it from him at the Mile-High Nationals on July 16.

In the Funny Car standings, Tony Pedregon is in fourth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 854 points. Pedregon has three victories this season (Atlanta, Columbus, St. Louis) and 21 round wins. Of his 32 career victories, Pedregon is yet to win at Infineon Raceway although he was runner-up twice (1997, 2000) and No. 1 qualifier twice (1997, 2005). He also holds the elapsed-time track record set last year in a Chevy Monte Carlo at 4.759 seconds.

Tommy Johnson Jr. is in seventh place in a Monte Carlo with 792 points, Cruz Pedregon is ninth in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 609 points and is a two-time winner of this event (1996, 1998). Del Worsham is in 10th place in a Monte Carlo with 599 points and won the race in 2001. Worsham also holds the mph record set last year in a Chevrolet at 325.69 mph.

-gm racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Cruz Pedregon , Tom Martino , Jason Line , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.