Greg Anderson's New Pontiac Grand Am Creates Some Mile-High Qualifying Magic DENVER, Colo., July 17, 2004 - Greg Anderson debuted a new Jerry Haas-built Pontiac Grand Am this weekend at the 25th annual Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway,...
Greg Anderson's New Pontiac Grand Am Creates Some Mile-High Qualifying Magic
DENVER, Colo., July 17, 2004 - Greg Anderson debuted a new Jerry Haas-built Pontiac Grand Am this weekend at the 25th annual Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway, and the simple fact that the defending NHRA POWERade champion decided to change horses at mid-stream, make that mid-season, hasn't seemed to slow him down. Today the 43-year-old Anderson drove the brand-new Summit Racing Pontiac to his 10th No. 1 qualifying start of the year after shattering the elapsed-time track record with a run of 7.159 seconds at 192.60 mph.
"The rainout yesterday changed everything for us today," said Anderson. "When you lose two opportunities to qualify, everybody gets nervous. This track is so different than anywhere else we race. We all come here hoping just to get the feel of the place on the first run or two, and then step it up as we go. Having only two runs and making both of them as close to perfect as we did is a great feeling.
"We tested here a week and a half ago and that definitely helped. This is a brand new Jerry Haas Pontiac with only four on it. To switch over to a brand-new car after already winning nine races with the car we had is borderline insanity. But we talked about it, and I had a good feeling about this new Grand Am because it felt better than the old car. Jason (Line) is running the other car, and if for some reason my car doesn't work out, I know where to find the other one."
In addition to being Anderson's 27th career NHRA Pro Stock pole, it is the fourth consecutive race that the Summit Racing Pontiac driver has started from the lead position. In 13 events this season, Anderson has entered raceday qualified no worse than third and has posted an average qualifying position of 1.308. Already this year, Anderson has captured nine national event victories, and posted a 41- 3 round win-loss record, but of his 25 career victories he is yet to win at Bandimere Speedway.
"With the rainout we were having second thoughts about switching to the new car," said Anderson. "With the new sponsorship with Summit Racing Equipment, we had to repaint it prior to coming back, and then last week we completely rewired the car and put it back together at the last minute. You never know when you're going to encounter a gremlin like that and that was on my mind this morning before the first run. The crew assured me everything would be fine and they were right. They have all the confidence in the world and I need to have it too.
"Every time I climb into that car, it doesn't shake, it doesn't wiggle and I don't have the slight nervousness I once had when I first started driving. Now I know when I get into that Pontiac Grand Am, it's going to be fast, and if I can do my job then we can win a lot of races."
Steve Johns has the quickest Chevy Cavalier in the 16-car field, and will start in the No. 2 position with a 7.170 e.t. at a track-record top speed of 193.40 mph. Jason Line is qualified fourth and Bruce Allen is fifth, both in Pontiac Grand Ams. Ron Krisher (Chevrolet) will start tomorrow's eliminator from the No. 8 spot in a Chevy Cavalier, Dave Connolly's Chevy is qualified ninth, Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Chevrolet) is 10th and Kurt Johnson (Chevrolet) is 14th. Mike Edwards is qualified 13th and Warren Johnson is 15th, both in Grand Ams.
Chevrolet's formidable Funny Car contingency was led by Tony Pedregon who qualified his 2004 Monte Carlo in the No. 2 position with an elapsed time of 4.932 seconds at 306. mph. It is the sixth time this season that the defending NHRA champion has qualified second or better.
"I feel encouraged with our performance today because we probably have less information to work with than any other team out here," said Pedregon. "We put the Quaker State Chevrolet in the No. 2 spot right from the start. We improvised and successfully adjusted to the conditions, so regardless of what the climate does tomorrow, I'm comfortable with what we did in qualifying and our ability to race on Sunday. Aerodynamics also play a big role in what we do up here in the thin air, so thank goodness we have one of the new Chevy Monte Carlos."
Other Chevy Monte Carlo drivers qualified for tomorrow's eliminator include Tommy Johnson Jr. who is in the No. 6 spot, Tim Wilkerson is seventh, Del Worsham is ninth and Phil Burkart is 10th.
Qualifying for the NHRA Summer Nationals can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday, May 29, beginning at 8 p.m. (ET). Final eliminations will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Sunday, May 30, starting at 8 p.m. (ET).