Anderson Aims to Grab a Win out of Thin Air in Denver Mooresville, N.C., July 7, 2009 -- This weekend's Mile-High Nationals, the 14th stop on the 2009 Full Throttle Drag racing schedule is arguably the most challenging event in all...
Anderson Aims to Grab a Win out of Thin Air in Denver
Mooresville, N.C., July 7, 2009 -- This weekend's Mile-High Nationals, the 14th stop on the 2009 Full Throttle Drag racing schedule is arguably the most challenging event in all of drag racing. Sitting at an altitude of 5,860 feet in the Denver suburb of Morrison, Bandimere Speedway sends teams in the highly competitive Pro Stock category scrambling to overcome the lack of horsepower-producing oxygen, creating the need for a tune-up unlike any other used throughout the year. With two wins in his previous eight visits to the Centennial State (including one year ago), Summit Racing GXP driver Greg Anderson is well-versed on what it takes to succeed "on the mountain", with a produ ctive Bandimere test from a week ago bolstering his confidence even further.
"Denver is the one track where previous success plays a very important role," said Anderson. "As different as the conditions are at Bandimere, if you haven't won there before, you start to wonder if you even can. Having taken our Summit Racing Pontiac to the winner's circle there twice gives us the extra confidence that we have what it takes and can do it again, and that confidence can be the difference between winning and losing."
Mindset aside, the unique conditions of racing at Bandimere will test a team's tuning ability. Without the benefit of plentiful horsepower, crew chiefs will scramble to find an eff ective combination. With elapsed times typically three to four hundredths slower than at other races, every option must be explored, potentially giving an edge to those who have tested.
"The set-up for this race is totally different, forcing us to make drastic changes from bumper to bumper," detailed Anderson. "You lose 400 horsepower, which completely alters how the chassis works. If we had the luxury, we'd probably build a chassis just for Denver, because it would be happier with the reduced horsepower. Unfortunately, none of us are in a position to do that, so we make as many changes as we can to make up for it, doing the best with what we have.
"That is why it's almost mandatory that you test there before the race. So many things change in the car and engine combination in a year's time that you are just about starting over each time we go there. The first two or three runs are like you've never been there before in your life. If for nothing else, testing gives you the confidence that you're going to be close for that first qualifying session, which is so important.
"I believe our test went fairly well. Our Summit Racing Pontiac ran quicker than we ever have up there, as did a couple of our competitors. I'm glad we went, and I think we have a couple of very good set-ups to go back with, so we can go in there with guns blazing. As far as I'm concerned, Bandimere Speedway would be a great place to get my first win of the year."JJ0A A new wrinkle competitors will have to deal with this year is a second nighttime qualifying session on Saturday, which could easily shake-up the standings for Sunday's final eliminations. With four No. 1 qualifying performances in his last six visits, Anderson welcomes the change, considering the benefits for all involved.
"I don't know the reasoning behind the nighttime qualifying sessions, but I like it, and I'm pretty sure the fans do as well," stated Anderson. "It benefits the teams, giving us another realistic shot at qualifying, and it's better for the fans. I've said it before - I think we should run more of our races at night, and not just qualifying.
After all, in the summer our fans are in the grandstands all day when it's 90 degrees. I know if I was sitting up there, I'd have other things on my mind besides racing. But if we raced in the evening, where everything seems so much more exciting, from the flames coming off the race cars to the quicker times, the fans wouldn't have to worry about being hot or getting sunburned. They could just have a good time. It's something I think we need to seriously consider.
"We were able to test until nine o'clock one of the nights we were out there last week. This gave us a couple shots at the conditions in the time we'll be running on Friday and Saturday nights, so our Summit Pontiacs should be in good shape, setting us up for a great weekend in Denver."