Topeka: GM Racing Saturday summary

Anderson Sets Both Ends of Heartland Park Track Record En Route to Pro Stock No. 1 Qualifier Points Leader Powers His Pontiac to Top Spot for Third Consecutive NHRA Event TOPEKA, Kan., June 2, 2007 - Despite a little inclement weather and ...

Anderson Sets Both Ends of Heartland Park Track Record En Route to Pro Stock No. 1 Qualifier

Points Leader Powers His Pontiac to Top Spot for Third Consecutive NHRA Event

TOPEKA, Kan., June 2, 2007 - Despite a little inclement weather and a slightly challenging race surface, NHRA Pro Stock points leader powered his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to his third consecutive No. 1 qualifier for this weekend's 19th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, and the three-time POWERade champ set both ends of the track record in the process. Anderson drove to a track-record elapsed time of 6.703 seconds at a track-record speed of 206.48 mph to edge the Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt driven by Dave Connolly, Pro Stock's most recent winner at last month's race at St. Louis. Connolly had an elapsed time of 6.719 seconds at 204.66 mph.

"I have to commend NHRA and the people from Heartland Park for getting the starting line in better shape for today's run," Anderson said. "It was so slick in the burnout box that the tires were just spinning with no friction at all. There wasn't even smoke coming off of them and consequently they weren't getting hot enough. They scuffed it up and I think we're all catching up with it now. It was just something none of us had seen before.

"I'll certainly be eager to keep lane choice all day tomorrow. I think the left side is better, although I'm not afraid of the right side. We didn't make good runs over there but it wasn't the track's fault, it was our fault. We saw some big numbers over there too so it should be a good race tomorrow every round."

Connolly and his teammate Jeg Coughlin advanced to the final round of the series' most recent event at St. Louis where Connolly turned on the win light, and the dynamic duo continue to stick close together as Coughlin has his Jegs.com Chevy Cobalt qualified fourth with an elapsed time of 6.726 seconds at 205.01 mph. Other Chevy qualifiers include Kurt Johnson in the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt in seventh, Tom Hammonds (9th), and Kenny Koretsky (12th).

"We made two pretty good runs," Connolly said, "but, unfortunately, we hurt a motor in the process on the second one so we are going to have to make an engine swap Sunday morning. We'll make some adjustments and get ready to battle it out tomorrow. I'm glad we got to keep lane choice because it looks like there is a preferred lane right now."

Anderson's teammate Jason Line was the next highest qualified Pontiac in the field in the sixth position, and other Pontiac qualifiers include Mike Edwards in the Young Life Pontiac in 10th, Warren Johnson (13th), Justin Humphreys (14th), and Greg Stanfield (15th).

In Funny Car, Chevy driver Jeff Arend entered this weekend's racing action at Topeka as one of only four drivers (Ron Capps, Gary Scelzi, Tony Pedregon, Arend) to have qualified for all of the season's first seven races, but after today's final qualifying session he is now one of two. Arend qualified his Checker, Schuck's, Kragen Chevy Impala SS eighth as both points leader Capps and Pedregon failed to make the 16-car field for tomorrow's eliminations. A trio of Chevy drivers qualified ahead of Arend with Gary Densham leading the way in the No. 4 spot on the grid, followed closely by Tim Wilkerson in fifth and Tommy Johnson Jr. in his Skoal Racing Chevy Impala SS in sixth. Wilkerson's 19-year-old son Daniel also qualified a Chevy Monte Carlo fourth for eliminations in Top Alcohol Funny Car.

"We've been saying it all year, and it still applies, that the DNQ is going to bite everyone before this year is over," Arend said. "I can hardly believe that Ron and Tony didn't make it, because I respect those guys a ton and they have great race cars, but that just shows how tough it is out here. I don't know how long Gary and I can go before the bug bites us, but I know we're just going to keep doing what we do and we'll see how that shakes out. If either one of us goes all 23 without a DNQ, that ought to be worth some sort of special award, because it will be an amazing accomplishment."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Ron Capps , Gary Scelzi , Gary Densham , Greg Stanfield , Tom Hammonds , Tim Wilkerson , Jason Line , Jeff Arend , Justin Humphreys , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.