Anderson committed to winning the championship TOPEKA, Kan. (May 23, 2006) -- Greg Anderson, driver of the KB Racing LLC-owned, Summit Racing Equipment-backed Pro Stock Pontiac GTO, is used to winning. That's why the...
Anderson committed to winning the championship
TOPEKA, Kan. (May 23, 2006) -- Greg Anderson, driver of the KB Racing LLC-owned, Summit Racing Equipment-backed Pro Stock Pontiac GTO, is used to winning. That's why the reigning and three-time Pro Stock champion is somewhat perplexed about his slow start to the 2006 season but he is still committed to winning the championship.
Yes, Anderson has been to three final rounds this season but has won only one, the season-opening event. Yes, Anderson has been No. 1 qualifier five times. And yes, he currently leads the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock point standings and has since the opening race. But something is different.
Before looking at what one might call Anderson's domination from 2003 to 2005, lets look at the numbers. There are 92 round wins up for grabs and 23 final rounds and 23 race wins available in a 23-race season.
In 2003, Anderson had 67 round wins, went to 15 final rounds, winning 12 races. In 2004, the year that Anderson topped all drivers from all types of motorsports winning the Speed Channel Driver of the Year Award, he won 76 rounds and 15 races, going to 19 final rounds. Last season, the 45-year-old Duluth, Minn.-native, who now lives in the Charlotte, N.C. area, had 53 round wins and went to 11 final rounds, winning eight.
Also, during the same three-year span, Anderson lost in the first or second round of eliminations only 15 times (four in 2003, two in 2004 and nine in 2005). In 2006, he has already had five set backs in the opening two rounds. Is Anderson concerned?
"Concerned yes, panicked no," said Anderson. "The difference is the parity in Pro Stock this season. It began showing up last season, then most everybody worked harder over the winter and it's really paying off for them this season. It's not that we're backing up; they're catching up and getting very close at that. Now, we just have to work harder.
"It used to be that you had only a few teams willing to work seven days a week, 12-18 hours a day. Now you're pushing upward to 20 teams. The hard work and money was what it took for us to have the years we had over the past three season and the other teams realized that and most are now willing to pay the price. It's good for not only the class but for drag racing in general."
In eight races thus far in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, Pro Stock has had eight different winners. At this weekend's NHRA O'Reilly Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka, Anderson looks to be the only driver to have two wins at this point in the season. But what will it take for Anderson to get that second win?
"The story of our season thus far this year has been that either the driver or the car has not been in sync in most of the races and that's going to amount to a loss in this class," said Anderson. "Therefore the answer is to get both in sync. The driver has got to do a better job and we've got to get the car running fast and stay in front of the pack starting here in Topeka.
"I guess I could say that we need a little luck, except there is not much you can do to change your luck. You've got to create your own luck. You have to create opportunities. Luck's not going to carry you through a whole race day.
"We've got to prepare better. We've got to get the cars better and (teammate) Jason and I have to do a better job driving. We're hungry and need a win at Topeka and over the next few races. A win would ignite this team for the homestretch, so it starts this weekend at Topeka. Our goal is still to win the championship and we'll work 24 hours a day to achieve that, if that's what it takes."
For the record, Anderson has earned two No. 1 qualifying positions at Topeka and has three wins in three final rounds (2003-2005).
Qualifying for Anderson and his KB Racing LLC/Summit Racing Equipment Pro Stock Pontiac GTO begins with two Pro Stock sessions on Friday, May 26, scheduled for 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. and concludes with two additional Pro Stock sessions on Saturday, May 27, at 12 noon and 2:30 p.m. Anderson begins his quest for the O'Reilly Summer Nationals Pro Stock title on Sunday, May 28, with eliminations for all classes beginning at 11 a.m. All times are local Topeka time (CT) and subject to change at anytime.