Pro Stock Championship Battle Continues in Texas After Pennsylvania Washout ENNIS, Texas, Sept. 19, 2006 - When rain washed out both qualifying and eliminations for last weekend's Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pa.,...
Pro Stock Championship Battle Continues in Texas After Pennsylvania Washout
ENNIS, Texas, Sept. 19, 2006 - When rain washed out both qualifying and eliminations for last weekend's Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pa., the race teams on the NHRA POWERade circuit simply packed up and headed west to Texas for this weekend's 21 st annualO'Reilly NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex on Sept. 22-24.
With only five races remaining on the 23-event NHRA schedule, the battle for the 2006 Pro Stock championship has essentially been narrowed down to a three-way contest between three GM drivers; Summit Racing teammates Jason Line (Pontiac) and Greg Anderson (Pontiac), and SKULL GEAR Racing's Dave Connolly (Chevrolet). Line holds a 59-point lead over three-time defending champ Greg Anderson, while Connolly, who trails Line by 135 points and Anderson by 76 points, continues to be one of the hottest drivers in the class in his pursuit of the two frontrunners. The racers will return to Maple Grove Raceway after this weekend's action in Texas for the rescheduled Toyo Tires NHRA Nationals on Sept. 29-Oct. 1.
Texas Motorplex Pre-Race Stats & Facts
Given last weekend's rainout at Maple Grove Raceway, Greg Anderson and Dave Connolly are the series' two most recent race finalists in the Pro Stock category. Anderson drove his Pontiac GTO to a final-round victory over Connolly at the 52nd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals on Sept. 4. It was Anderson 's second victory this season and the fifth time this year he has advanced to the final round of a national event. For Connolly, it was the seventh time this season, and the second time in the last three races, that he has driven his Chevy Cobalt to the final round.
Anderson 's win at Indianapolis was the 168th all time for Pontiac in NHRA Pro Stock competition. Of the 168 wins by a Pontiac Pro Stock driver, Warren Johnson leads the pack with 44 victories, Greg Anderson is second with 39 victories (in a Pontiac ) and Jim Yates is third with 25 victories. All three have won multiple NHRA Pro Stock driver's titles driving a Pontiac .
Pro Stock points leader Jason Line's most recent final-round appearance was on Aug. 21 at Memphis when he lost in the championship heat to the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt of Kurt Johnson. Including the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis , Line has driven his Pontiac GTO to the finals in five of the last eight races and has won two of them.
Between the three title contenders, Line has won the most rounds this season (33) while Connolly has won 31 rounds and Anderson has captured 28.
Qualifying has played a key role in this title chase with Line accumulating a total of 101 points in time trials at the first 18 races for an average of 5.61 points per event (out of a possible 8). Anderson 's 10 No. 1 qualifying efforts this year have contributed to 122 points during time trials for an average of 6.78 points per event. Connolly has accumulated 46 qualifying points for an average of 2.56 points per event. Two DNQs at Gainesville ( Fla. ) and Bristol ( Tenn. ) have cut into Connolly's qualifying points total.
Line's average qualifying position over 18 races this year is 3.94, Anderson 's is 2.33 and Connolly's is 10.17.
Pontiac GTO drivers have won nine national events in 2006. Jason Line has notched three marks in the win category this season (Bristol, Englishtown, Sonoma), Greg Anderson has two victories (Pomona, Indianapolis), Mike Edwards has two victories (Houston, St. Louis), Warren Johnson has one (Phoenix) and Jim Yates has one (Columbus).
Dave Connolly and Kurt Johnson are the two Chevy Cobalt drivers who have combined for seven red bowtie victories in the Pro Stock category this season. Connolly leads the Pro Stock class with four race wins in 2006 ( Atlanta , Topeka , Denver , Brainerd), and Johnson scored his national-event wins at Las Vegas , Chicago and Memphis .
Kurt Johnson's win at Memphis on Aug. 21 was the 134th all-time for Chevrolet in NHRA Pro Stock competition. Of Johnson's 35 career victories, 25 have been from behind the wheel of a Chevrolet. Lee Shepherd has the most Chevrolet Pro Stock wins with 26.
Greg Anderson is the defending champion in Pro Stock at the Texas Motorplex, and he also holds the track records for time and speed set during last year's winning race weekend. His Summit Racing Pontiac had a track-record elapsed time of 6.647 seconds and a track-record speed of 207.40 mph.
GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson has the most career wins at the Texas Motorplex in the Pro Stock division (5). Johnson's wins came in this race in 1998-99 and 1989, and he also won the discontinued spring race here in 1997 and 1999. ACDelco Chevy Cobalt driver Kurt Johnson is next on the Texas Motorplex victory list with three, posting wins in 2000, 1995 and 1993. Pontiac drivers Greg Anderson and Jim Yates both have two wins, Anderson in 2005 and 2003, and Yates with back-to-back wins in 1996-97. Dave Connolly has a single win in 2004 in his Chevy, and Pontiac driver Mike Edwards won the spring race here in 1998.
Warren Johnson has been No. 1 qualifier at the Texas Motorplex eight times, including five consecutive years from 1991-95, as well as back-to-back in 1998-99, and 1989. Greg Anderson won both of his races in 2005 and 2003 from the No. 1 spot, and Ron Krisher (2002), Mike Edwards, Kurt Johnson (1997) and Jim Yates (1996) all have single No. 1 qualifiers at Texas Motorplex.
Greg Anderson drove his Pontiac GTO to his 50th career No. 1 qualifying spot earlier this month at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis . Anderson's first career pole came at Atlanta in May 2001 and his most recent No. 1 qualifying position at Indianapolis places the Summit Racing Pontiac driver seventh on the all-time list among professional drivers. Anderson is just two raceday poles behind Don Prudhomme (52) who is sixth, and six behind Joe Amato (56) who is fifth. Warren Johnson is first on the all-time list with 136 career No. 1 qualifying efforts.
After 18 races, seven drivers in GM-branded cars occupy a spot in the top 10 of the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock standings. Jason Line (Pontiac GTO) is in first place with 1,301 points, Greg Anderson (Pontiac GTO) is second with 1,242 points, Dave Connolly (Chevy Cobalt) is third with 1,166 points and Kurt Johnson (Chevy Cobalt) is fourth with 1,005 points.
Mike Edwards (Pontiac GTO) is in sixth place with 960 points, Jim Yates (Pontiac GTO) is seventh with 938 points, and Greg Stanfield (Pontiac GTO) is 10th with 798 points. Closing fast on the top-10 is Warren Johnson (Pontiac GTO) who is in 12th place with 746 points. Ron Krisher (Chevy Cobalt) is 14th with 630 points.
Current Chevy Monte Carlo drivers who have previously won at the Texas Motorplex include Cruz Pedregon (1994, 1992), Del Worsham (2004, 2002), Gary Densham (2001) and Tony Pedregon in the spring race in 1999.
In the Funny Car standings, Tony Pedregon is in fourth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 1,112 points and three victories. Tommy Johnson Jr. is in sixth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 1,008 points and two victories. Cruz Pedregon is in ninth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 759 points and one victory, and Phil Burkart is in 10th place with 756 points.
-credit: gm racing