Anderson Completes Dominating Weekend With Gainesville Pro Stock Title Pontiac Powers Him to National Record En Route to Second Win of the Season GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 18, 2007 - On a perfect day for racing, Pontiac Pro Stock driver Greg ...
Anderson Completes Dominating Weekend With Gainesville Pro Stock Title
Pontiac Powers Him to National Record En Route to Second Win of the Season
GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 18, 2007 - On a perfect day for racing, Pontiac Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson was just that - perfect. The three-time NHRA POWERade champ drove his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to victory at the 38th annual ACDelco NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, and he did so in record-setting style. Cool, sunny weather provided ideal conditions for Anderson to earn the maximum 138 points available to a driver at a given NHRA race by claiming the event win, qualifying No. 1 and establishing a national record. He scored his 45th career win by defeating Larry Morgan with an elapsed time of 6.577 seconds at 211.06 mph to Morgan's 8.076 e.t. at 118.24 mph, giving him two wins in the season's first three races after his season-opening win at Pomona (Calif.).
"I've always considered Gainesville and the Gatornationals to be one of the very premier races on our circuit," said Anderson. "It's always been tough for me to win down here and I'm not sure why. There's just a lot of tough competition. This is the one everybody kind of waits for. You go to Pomona, you got to Phoenix and you get your season started, but then you usually get a two- or three-week break. Everybody has seen what they've got, and they go home and refine their stuff before they come to Gainesville, so usually everybody comes here with their guns loaded. It's a tough one to win because it's tough competition."
Anderson entered today's eliminations as the No. 1 qualifier with an elapsed time of 6.566 seconds at 211.20 mph, becoming the first Pro Stocker to ever exceed 210 mph. He went one better in today's first-round defeat of Justin Humphreys with a national-record elapsed time of 6.536 seconds at 211.43 mph, and then proceeded to defeat Jeg Coughlin in Round 2, and newcomer Matt Scranton in the semifinals to face-off against Morgan in the final. Ironically, despite a first-round loss, teammate Jason Line leaves Gainesville with the Pro Stock national speed record at 211.69 mph.
"The track got better as the weekend went along," said Anderson, "and we all got a better handle on it. It allowed you to put most of that power you had down to the racetrack and you got national-record-setting times. That's fun, that's great, that's what we all live for and that's what I love this class for. The speed, the e.t. we can run when the weather's good. It's a neat challenge when you go to places that the weather isn't good and maybe you can out "crew chief" them, maybe you can outdrive them, but when you can come and show the horsepower that you built yourself with your own hands, that's real rewarding to a Pro Stock guy. That's what this class is all about. But it was a great weekend. I couldn't have drawn it up any better for us. I came down here thinking maybe we'd get a chance to run 210 and get in the history books, and we surpassed that and went 211. I don't know how we did it, but we did it, and I'm a happy guy."
Three Pontiac GTOs comprised the Pro Stock semifinals as Mike Edwards in his Young Life Pontiac GTO and former Sport Compact racer Scranton joined Anderson in the third round of eliminations. Edwards defeated fellow Pontiac driver Greg Stanfield in Round 1 and V. Gaines in Round 2 before losing to Morgan in the semis. Morgan had an elapsed time of 6.646 seconds at 209.14 mph to Edwards' 6.686 e.t. at 208.84 mph.
"I'm very, very happy," said Edwards. "We made a good qualifying effort and went a couple of rounds. I didn't make very good runs today and I'm kind of disappointed in myself with that, but hey, qualified well and went a couple of rounds, that's tough to do in this class, so I'll take it. You saw a lot of good cars that are usually there on race day go home, so we're really happy. Hope we can go to Houston where we've had some success there in the past (Edwards is defending Pro Stock event winner at Houston) and build on this."
Scranton is the 2004 NHRA XPlod Sport Compact Pro RWD champion and was making his NHRA POWERade debut in Pro Stock. The Florida native bought the year-old Jerry Haas-built Pontiac GTO that Anderson raced the first half of last year and also leased a KB Racing engine. After qualifying 13th, Scranton defeated Warren Johnson in Round 1 and Erica Enders in Round 2 before losing to Anderson in the semifinals. Anderson had an elapsed time of 6.569 seconds at 210.97 mph to Scranton's 6.651 e.t. at 208.59 mph.
"I can't thank the guys at KB Racing enough to trust us and give us some of that horsepower they just had laying around collecting dust," said Scranton. "I can't thank those guys enough. We don't have any relationships with anybody out here coming from Sport Compact. We've seen a lot of these guys but don't know them personally. But I would say we already know some of the nicest guys and have met the nicest guys over there at KB Racing. Ken Black, Jason, Rob Downing, they're just awesome, awesome guys. They're four-time world champions for a reason.
"This car is a little more temperamental (than a sport-compact car) and you've got to be on your toes, and Greg and Jason warned me about it. But it's all about horsepower, and Jason, Greg, those guys are making a phenomenal amount of horsepower right now and it shows out there. We're planning on going to about 10 races, and we're just chasing funding like everybody else, but this is our main focus now."
After a hiatus from the sport of NHRA drag racing, former NBA basketball standout Tom Hammonds made a triumphant return to full-time drag racing this weekend by qualifying his Industrial Depot.com Chevy Cobalt 15th. The Crestview, Fla., native lost to finalist Larry Morgan in the first round but made a solid return to the sport he's followed all of his life. Hammonds last competed at an NHRA Pro Stock event at the Gatornationals here at Gainesville Raceway in March 2003.
"It always feels great to be a part of the show on Sunday and have a chance to come out here and race for Team Chevrolet," said Hammonds, "but I'm a little bit disappointed. We had a tough opponent, but lane choice can be so pivotal when you're trying to succeed at this class. We didn't have lane choice today and did the best we could in the left lane. It's just so, so tough out here. You make one mistake and you can be going home. My crew did an excellent job. From not having a part seven, eight months ago to having our own engine program is pretty amazing. I think I've got one of the best engine builders in Jimmy Oliver, Jerry Eckmann did an excellent job, Harry Turner, it was just a total team effort. Mark Houston, Steve Perkins, those guys are my backbone and I depend on them a lot."
In Funny Car, Phil Burkart Jr. made the most of his one-race sponsorship by driving his Chevy Monte Carlo to the final round in his first race of the season. Burkart qualified his Chevy a solid fifth in the 16-car field and then defeated Bob Gilbertson in Round 1, Ashley Force in Round 2, and Jim Head in the semifinals before facing Ron Capps in the final. Capps got the better of Burkart with an elapsed time of 4.773 seconds at 323.27 mph to Burkart's 4.876 e.t. at 316.75 mph.
In Top Fuel, Chevy-backed Larry Dixon drove his SkyTel dragster to the final before losing to defending NHRA champ Tony Schumacher. Schumacher had an elapsed time of 4.542 seconds at 325.14 mph to Dixon's 4.589 e.t. at 321.65 mph.
In the Sportsman classes, Michael Ferro from Stamford, Conn., drove an '02 Camaro to the Top Alcohol Funny Car title, Arnie Martel from Tewksbury, Mass., took the Comp Eliminator crown in his '06 GTO, Mike Fuqua from Hendersonville, Tenn., won Super Stock in a '94 Achieva, and Peter Biondo from Maspeth, N.Y., won Stock Eliminator in his '69 Camaro.
The next stop on the 23-race NHRA POWERade circuit is the O'Reilly Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas, on March 30-April 1.
-credit: gm racing