Pontiac Remains Perfect For Season in Pro Stock Qualifying Line Records Second No. 1 Qualifier of the Season BRISTOL, Tenn., April 29, 2006 - Through the first five races on this season's 23-race NHRA POWERade schedule, parity has been the word...
Pontiac Remains Perfect For Season in Pro Stock Qualifying
Line Records Second No. 1 Qualifier of the Season
BRISTOL, Tenn., April 29, 2006 - Through the first five races on this season's 23-race NHRA POWERade schedule, parity has been the word in the Pro Stock class with five different race winners. But in qualifying for the 16-car Pro Stock field at each stop, Pontiac has proven to be the dominant nameplate and remains a perfect six for six after final qualifying for tomorrow's eliminations at the 6th annual O'Reilly Thunder Valley NHRA Nationals at Bristol Dragway. Jason Line drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and sixth of his career with an elapsed time of 6.727 seconds at a track-record speed of 204.66 mph.
The 2004 Rookie of the Year edged his KB Racing teammate, three-time defending champ Greg Anderson, the third time this season (Gainesville, Houston) and the 14th time in their career that the dynamic duo has qualified No. 1 and No. 2. In addition, a Pontiac GTO driven by either Anderson or Line has claimed the top spot in Pro Stock qualifying for 12 consecutive races dating back to last year's U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis.
"I didn't really think we'd go much faster today, but I was wrong," said Line. "There was something we definitely missed in the air or racetrack that we didn't see. [The cooler weather tomorrow] will make it interesting. It's good and bad. It all comes down to who makes the best guess on the tune-up both engine-wise and chassis-wise. Obviously, with the Pro Stock cars being naturally aspirated, they pick up a lot of power when the air gets cool like that, so it'll be interesting. I always think it's kind of fun because it evens everybody up. Greg's still got the quickest car (Anderson was quickest in the fourth and final qualifying session), we just happened to make the quickest pass of the weekend. We struggled a little bit initially, but I think we're creeping up on it as far as the engine tune-up goes.
"This is a great place to come race. I really like it here. It's where I got my license the first time I ever drove, so whether it's cold or warm, it's certainly a beautiful place and a great place to come race."
Anderson had an elapsed time of 6.734 seconds at 204.26 mph and looks to turn his qualifying success into a race win. He's qualified No. 1 at this year's first three races and leads Line 4-2 in poles this season.
"We've had a different winner at every race this year," said Anderson. "I hope I can change that, but really it looks like that trend could go on for awhile and we're going to have a bunch of different winners. You're going to have a real, real dogfight which is great for the fans. It's ulcer-creators for us, but it's great for the fans. There's no question the competition level has risen this year, just like it did last year. Now it comes down to execution, who executes better during the right qualifying session and through Sunday. So far [this year], other people have been outrunning us on Sundays and that doesn't set right with us. You feel like you have to run perfect every time out, and to be honest we haven't been perfect every time out and that's why we haven't won more.
"There's no margin for error in this class. If you're going to slip up just a little bit, you're going to lose. That's the way it's gone [for us] the last couple three races, and we need to get back to perfection and win a race and get that confidence level back up. I can't think of a better place to do it than here. This is where I got my first win back in 2001. It's a magic place for me and I love coming here. If you need a get-well weekend, I can't think of a better place to come to do it, so it's time for me to do it this weekend."
Pontiacs occupied the top four spots on the Pro Stock qualifying grid and five of the top six. Joining Line and Anderson as Pontiac qualifiers are Greg Stanfield in third, Warren Johnson in fourth, Jim Yates (6th), and Mike Edwards (12th).
Erica Enders in her Slammers Chevy Cobalt continues her strong qualifying prowess with her fifth top-five qualifying effort in the season's first six races as the 22-year-old qualified fifth with an elapsed time of 6.744 seconds at 204.20 mph. Other Chevy qualifiers include Dave Howard in 10th, Kurt Johnson (14th) and Ron Krisher (16th).
In Funny Car, Tommy Johnson Jr. leads a contingent of Chevy Monte Carlos with his fifth-place qualifying effort at an elapsed time of 4.791 seconds at 323.97 mph. Eric Medlen was No. 1 qualifier in a Ford with a track-record elapsed time of 4.755 seconds at a speed of 306.53 mph. Eight other Chevy qualifiers occupy qualifying positions 9-16 including Scott Kalitta (9th), Phil Burkart Jr. (10th), Gary Densham (11th), Tony Pedregon (12th), Tony Bartone (13th), Cruz Pedregon (14th), Tim Wilkerson (15th), and Del Worsham (16th).