Anderson Culminates Dominating Weekend With Win Over Teammate at Dallas Two-time Defending Champ Beats Line in All-Pontiac Final Round ENNIS, Texas, Oct. 9, 2005 - Two-time defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson let his...
Anderson Culminates Dominating Weekend With Win Over Teammate at Dallas
Two-time Defending Champ Beats Line in All-Pontiac Final Round
ENNIS, Texas, Oct. 9, 2005 - Two-time defending NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson let his competition know he is determined to win a third with an overpowering performance at this weekend's O'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex. Anderson drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to his eighth win of the season by defeating his teammate Jason Line in the finals. Anderson entered today's eliminations as the No. 1 qualifier and stayed on top throughout the competition, setting fastest elapsed time in each of today's four rounds. With the win Anderson all but clinches his third consecutive NHRA POWERade championship, leaving Texas with a 244-point lead over Kurt Johnson and merely having to qualify in the top half of the field at the next race at Las Vegas to win his third consecutive Pro Stock title.
"If we don't mess around and get run over by a train in the next few weeks, I think we've got a pretty good shot at winning this deal," said Anderson. "It feels real good. Especially the way we started the season, it feels great to battle back and get back in the game, and then eventually put a little ground on them, and now it looks like we're going to clinch our third in a row. To come back like this, I think it's almost more rewarding than the last couple of championships. I'm not trying to say the others were easy because they surely weren't, but we really had to find something extra this year and obviously we did. My hat's off to my entire crew because they have done this, it hasn't been me. I've just been one small part of the equation. They have done it and I can't say enough about them. I couldn't dream of having a better group of guys working under me and for me, doing all they can and giving their personal lives for me. I'm a lucky man because of that."
Anderson had a bye in the first round due to Bruce Allen's "no-show" after destroying his car in a crash on Friday, but still flexed his muscles with the quickest run in today's eliminations at 6.669 seconds and 207.15 mph. With amazing consistency he then reeled off three consecutive rounds in the 6.90s to win his 39th career Pro Stock event. He defeated Warren Johnson in Round 2 with a 6.694 e.t., Erica Enders in the semifinals with a 6.692 e.t., and then Line in the finals with a 6.690 e.t. In the finals, the two identical Summit Racing Pontiac GTOs staged a friendly starting-line burn-down before staging. Line eventually went in but it was to no avail as Anderson ran a final-round elapsed time of 6.690 seconds at 206.61 mph to get the better of Line's 6.713 e.t at 206.48 mph.
"That was fun," said Anderson, speaking about his burn-down with Line. "Obviously he didn't want to go in, and I didn't want to go in. Then I thought he's not that strong yet and I've never seen him burn anybody down. I figured if I waited long enough that he'd give in, but I never expected it to last that long. I don't know how long it was, but it seemed like 10 minutes. I made up my mind I wasn't going to go in. I've never done that before either. I usually give up, and I've seen him before and he'd give up all the time too. I guess we both finally came to the conclusion that we're not going to give up and we're going to go in last. He finally did, so I won the first battle."
Line entered today's eliminations with his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO qualified in the No. 2 spot with an elapsed time of 6.662 seconds, and showing amazing consistency with his KB Racing teammate, Line was the second-quickest car in each of his four rounds of eliminations. He defeated V. Gaines in Round 1 with a 6.674 e.t., defeated Kurt Johnson in Round 2 with a 6.786 e.t., and bested Jeg Coughlin in the semifinals with a 6.728 e.t. before facing his teammate in the finals. Line was making his second consecutive money-round appearance after his win last week at Chicago.
"I tried to wait Greg out there in the final, but I couldn't do it," said Line. "I just told Greg that I wasn't going in first, so we went from there. There was a lot of good-natured ribbing in the pit area between the guys and everybody, so we all had a good time with it. But the engine was getting hot so it was time to go. I think the fans enjoyed it, so that was cool. I wanted to be on the other end, of course, but the team won and that's the main thing. I think our team's kind of hit it's stride here the last part of the year. This Pontiac GTO is a good car. A few more little tweaks yet and it will be as fast as Greg's, but it's right there. There's no question I've got the second-fastest car in the Pro Stock pit area."
Enders reached her first NHRA Pro Stock final round last week at Chicago, and today she had another strong performance driving her Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevy Cobalt past the first two rounds to face eventual race winner Anderson in the semifinals. Enders, who celebrated her 22nd birthday on Saturday, qualified in the top half of the field (5th) for the second consecutive race and defeated Rickie Smith in Round 1 and Ron Krisher in Round 2 to reach Anderson. In the semifinals, Anderson had an elapsed time of 6.692 seconds at 206.35 mph to get past Enders' 6.792 e.t. and 205.35 mph.
"My guys are doing great," said Enders. "Tuning to that track was tough today, and they did an excellent job at it like always. To get into the semis in Pro Stock is a feat in itself. Everybody's tough in this class. We had Greg Anderson, and I would've had to have been deadly on the tree with that setup even hotter to beat him, so congratulations to Greg and Jason on another final round together. But my guys did great, and we're going to go some rounds the rest of this year in the two races we've got left and then be competitive next year. For the other teams to think of us as true competitors is a really cool feeling for our entire team."
In Funny Car, two Chevy Monte Carlos reached the semifinals as Del Worsham and Tony Bartone advanced after wins in each of the first two rounds. Worsham bested Tony Pedregon in Round 1 and teammate Phil Burkart Jr. in Round 2 to reach the semis against Frank Pedregon. Bartone matched Worsham with round wins against Robert Hight and Whit Bazemore to face John Force in the other semifinals. Pedregon drove his Dodge past Worsham with an elapsed time of 5.033 seconds at 307.23 mph to Worsham's tire-smoking 6.821 e.t. and 160.75 mph. New points leader Force got the better of Bartone with an elapsed time of 4.834 seconds at 322.34 mph to Bartone's 4.871 e.t. at 317.34 mph. In the championship heat Force got the easy win after Pedregon broke at the starting line and was unable to take the light. Force had a final-round elapsed time of 4.797 seconds at 324.05 seconds.
"Frankie is tough, this was no easy deal," Worsham said. "We weren't looking past him at all, and I wasn't even thinking about anything other than making a clean lap. Unfortunately, it didn't go that way. I could feel another final round coming, just like I felt the wins in round one and round two, so I was pretty stunned we smoked the tires there. We haven't had the year we've wanted, and a win here would have gone a long way to making life a lot better heading into 2006. Sometimes a semifinal feels good, but right now this one kind of stinks. We have two races left, and there's a huge championship fight going on ahead of us. The best thing we can do is keep winning rounds, maybe take out a few contenders like Phil (Burkart) and the Techron team did in Round 1 here today, and win at least one of these last two. If we take care of ourselves, we can still finish well and still have a lot to be proud of."
In the Sportsman classes, Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Steve Gasparrelli from West Covina, Calif., put his '05 Chevy Monte Carlo in the winner's circle. Other Chevy winners included Comp Eliminator winner Richard Freeman from Pauls Valley, Okla., in an '04 Chevy and Hagen Gary from Broussard, La., in Super Stock in an '87 Camaro.
The penultimate stop on the 23-event NHRA POWERade schedule is the 5th annual ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Oct. 20-23.