Anderson Sets Track Records in Qualifying No. 1 at Indy Pontiac GTO Driver Looks for Third Consecutive U.S. Nationals Win INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 4, 2005 - After making five qualifying runs quicker than his own Indianapolis Raceway Park record, ...
Anderson Sets Track Records in Qualifying No. 1 at Indy
Pontiac GTO Driver Looks for Third Consecutive U.S. Nationals Win
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 4, 2005 - After making five qualifying runs quicker than his own Indianapolis Raceway Park record, Pontiac GTO driver Greg Anderson put his NHRA Pro Stock competitors on notice that he's not going to give up his Mac Tools U.S. Nationals title that easily. The two-time NHRA POWERade and U.S. Nationals champ showed amazing consistency in qualifying No. 1 for tomorrow's eliminations at the 51st annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at IRP with qualifying runs of 6.714, 6.706, 6.689, 6.698, and 6.704 seconds. His fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 37th of his career was posted with a track-record elapsed time and speed of 6.689 seconds and 205.51 mph.
"I'm very, very, very proud of our runs today," said Anderson. "We've really run great all weekend, but that run last night was awesome, and then we came back today and made two runs every bit as good as that one last night. We've really made five runs within this much of being perfect, and the last three absolutely have been perfect. I just can't say enough about the job my guys have done on the racecar, and the guys at the engine shop have worked so hard. We wanted to come up with something special for Indy - it's the biggest race of the year. We've just been working, working, working, and it looks like we're peaking at the right time. It's crunch time. We've got six races to go, we've got a heck of a points battle going, and you've got Indy. I'm not sure which one's more important, winning Indy or winning the points championship. They're both so important and they both mean about as much. Everything's coming together at the right time, and everybody's functioning as a team like we did the last couple of years. It's a pretty tough combination right now and I'm just proud to be part of it. I'm just enjoying the ride."
"Basically the track has gotten better with each run as the weekend has gone on, except for the first 10 feet of the racetrack. That's the tricky part, and that's the part that's throwing a lot of guys a curve. That's where you're seeing the inconsistency in all the cars. If you nail that first 10 feet, you're setting sail and you're going to make a heck of a run. You saw that a few times today with Erica Enders, Dave Connolly made a couple of real nice runs, and Warren made a good run this morning. Between that Pontiac GTO and that crew I've got over there, it's a pretty deadly combination right now, but I don't want to get overconfident. It's still just qualifying. Tomorrow's going to be tougher yet, but maybe we can have a big day and win three in a row here."
Warren Johnson put a second Pontiac GTO at the top of the grid with his No. 2 qualifying effort. "The Professor," who yesterday announced a contract extension with GM Performance Parts to continue driving his Pontiac, had an elapsed time of 6.727 seconds at 205.66 mph. Anderson's Summit Racing teammate Jason Line qualified No. 4 in his maiden voyage in his new Pontiac GTO with an elapsed time of 6.730 seconds at 204.94 mph. Mark Pawuk also had a new Pontiac GTO qualified in the 15th spot, and Bruce Allen rounded out Pontiac's qualifying effort in 16th.
"We're encouraged heading into tomorrow," said Johnson. "Looking at the incremental numbers, we have the strongest car from the 330-foot mark to the finish line, so we just have to get to through the first 330 feet a little bit quicker, and we should be in great shape."
"When we assembled this new GM Performance Parts GTO, we transferred several components from the car we ran previously to this one, including the shocks. Unfortunately, the right front's performance had deteriorated, and we had been compensating for how the car reacted, not knowing that one component was the source of our problem until it really became evident that we simply couldn't adjust for it. We finally diagnosed and fixed it before this race, and have been slowly backing our way in to a combination that would work. We kept working at it until this morning, when we finally got back into the right zone, producing that 6.72. Knowing no one would bump us out of second this afternoon, we tried something new, and learned something. We'll go back to a known shock setup for tomorrow and do some testing before Reading to fine-tune it."
Warren's son and teammate Kurt Johnson was the highest-qualified Chevrolet as he had his ACDelco Chevy Cobalt qualified No. 3 with an elapsed time of 6.728 seconds at 205.35 mph. Other Chevrolet qualifiers include Greg Stanfield (5th), Rickie Smith (7th), Dave Connolly (9th), Erica Enders (10th), and Dave Howard (13th).
"After that strong opening run on Friday, we used the final four qualifying sessions to try different things," said Johnson. "We tweaked it a little bit for Saturday morning and ran a 6.74, which wasn't bad, but fell off a little when compared to the best times, so we started throwing things at it from different angles, none of which really gelled the way we would have liked it to. For tomorrow, we will go back to our initial set-up. We'll tweak our ACDelco Cobalt a little for the conditions and just run our race. Hopefully, we'll be able to go a few rounds, make it to the final and see if we can make a great day here in Indianapolis."
In Funny Car, Del Worsham had a lucrative day in his CSK Chevrolet by winning his first Skoal Showdown and the $100,000 first prize. The Showdown is a non-points bonus event which features the top eight Funny Car drivers who have accumulated the most points in qualifying during the past year. Worsham defeated Eric Medlen in the finals and comes into tomorrow's eliminations qualified No. 4, the highest-qualified Chevy in the field. If Worsham should win tomorrow's eliminations, he would receive a $50,000 "Double-up" bonus from NHRA.
Worsham had a qualifying elapsed time of 4.746 seconds at 324.51 mph, and John Force is No. 1 qualifier with an elapsed time of 4.726 seconds at 326.24 mph. Other Chevy qualifiers included Tommy Johnson Jr. (5th), Tim Wilkerson (10th), Tony Bartone (11th), Bob Gilbertson (12th), Gary Densham (14th), and Tony Pedregon (15th).
"I'm excited," said Worsham. "It's a great time to turn the year around. We've definitely had a tough year this year, and it's been since Father's Day since we've won a race. Finally we came here, we tested and we found some stuff. We put our car back together, and again, like I said, this is all my dad. He's definitely responsible for this. He made some great tuning decisions for the final and got us this win. We were due for a lucky break and we got helped out, and it's paying off. That would be awesome [if we could win the double-up bonus]. I'll take it home - For Deposit Only!"
Tony Schumacher was No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel with an elapsed time of 4.459 seconds at a speed of 329.18 mph. Cory McClenathan qualified No. 3 with an elapsed time of 4.497 seconds and 328.14 mph, and Larry Dixon is qualified sixth at 4.510 seconds and 326.71 mph.