Joliet: GM Racing preview

GM Racers Prepare For Grueling Three-Event Late Spring Stretch Route 66 Raceway First Stop of Hectic NHRA June Schedule JOLIET, Ill., June 6, 2006 - GM racers take to the strip this weekend at Route 66 Raceway for the Ninth annual CARQUEST Auto...

GM Racers Prepare For Grueling Three-Event Late Spring Stretch Route 66 Raceway First Stop of Hectic NHRA June Schedule

JOLIET, Ill., June 6, 2006 - GM racers take to the strip this weekend at Route 66 Raceway for the Ninth annual CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals on June 9 - 11. It is the first of three events held on consecutive weekends with stops following in Englishtown, N.J., on June 16 - 18, and St. Louis on June 23 - 25.

. At Topeka, Team Chevy's Dave Connolly became the first NHRA Pro Stock driver this season to capture multiple victories in the factory hot rod category. The 23-year-old native of Ohio picked up his second win of 2006 at the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka on May 28 by defeating fellow Cobalt driver Kurt Johnson in the all-Chevy final. Connolly's win was the 130th all-time for the red bowtie in NHRA Pro Stock competition.

. Another notable first at Heartland Park Topeka was Erica Enders No. 1 qualifying effort, the first time in the history of the NHRA that a woman competing in Pro Stock has captured raceday pole honors. The 22-year-old Enders set low e.t. and top speed of the meet by driving her Slammers Chevy Cobalt to a 6.785 e.t. at 203.06 mph.

. Team Chevy swept the Pro Stock category at Topeka, winning the race (Connolly), capturing runner-up (K. Johnson), earning No. 1 qualifying honors (Enders) and setting low e.t. and top speed of the meet (Enders).

. Team Chevy also made a strong showing in the Sportsman categories winning Top Alcohol Funny Car (Steve Gasparrelli), Competition Eliminator (Todd Patterson), Stock Eliminator (Jim Hughes), Super Gas (Bob Fuller) and Super Street (Chuck Lowry Jr.). Scott Stillings won Super Stock in a Pontiac Grand Am.

. Enders' No. 1 qualifying effort at Topeka was the first this season for Chevy Cobalt in NHRA Pro Stock competition.

. The most recent tally of the NHRA Manufacturer's Cup standings released on June 1 show Pontiac leading with 1,640 points. Chevrolet is in second place in the Manufacturer's Cup standings with 1,140 points and Dodge is third with 900 points.

. Drivers in a Pontiac GTO have captured seven of nine No. 1 qualifying spots, set low elapsed time of the meet eight times and top speed of the meet eight times.

. The 31 days of May provided a nice shot in the arm for Dave Connolly who entered the first of the month in 12th place in the Pro Stock points standings. After a DNQ in Bristol, Tenn., on April 29, Connolly and his Chevy Cobalt came back with wins at Atlanta on May 7 and Topeka on May 28, which allowed him to advance to fifth in the standings. Connolly was also runner-up to Kurt Johnson at Las Vegas in April and is currently 124 points behind first-place Greg Anderson.

. Pontiac's Jason Line has won three of the last four Pro Stock races contested at Route 66 Raceway. Line is the two-time defending champion of the (2004-05) spring contest at Route 66 Raceway and also won the race held there last fall. Line's first national-event victory and first No. 1 qualifying award were both accomplished at the CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in 2004 with three of his nine career wins have been at Route 66 Raceway.

. Line's 208.17 mph run last fall at Route 66 Raceway is the fastest ever by a Pontiac GTO in NHRA Pro Stock competition.

. The 22nd annual NHRA King Demon Crown will take place at Route 66 Raceway on Saturday, June 10. The $145,000 King Demon Crown showcases the eight best Pro Stock qualifiers during a 23-race span between the 2005 CARQUEST Auto Parts NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Ill., and 2006 O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka. The winner of the special event will earn $50,000, the runner-up will earn $10,000, the two semifinalists $3,000 and the four first-round finishers $2,500 apiece. Greg Anderson is the No. 1 seed for the third year in a row and won the race in 2004. Jason Line, who was runner-up in last year's contest is seeded No. 2. Warren Johnson, a three-time winner (1993, '95, 2002) making his 21st appearance in the event, is seeded No. 3. Kurt Johnson is a three-time winner (1994, 1998, 2003) and is seeded No. 4. This will be KJ's 13th King Demon Crown appearance. Erica Enders is the first woman ever to qualify for the event and is seeded No. 6. Dave Connolly, last year's King Demon Crown winner, did not qualify for this year's event.

. With 389 career round wins, Pontiac GTO driver Jim Yates is just 11 shy of his 400th career round win. Among active Pro Stock competitors, only Warren Johnson (824) and Kurt Johnson (428) have more career round wins.

. Greg Anderson holds the Route 66 Raceway Pro Stock track e.t. record set last September in a Pontiac GTO at 6.646 seconds. Jason Line's 208.17 mph top speed set last September in a Pontiac GTO is also the current Route 66 Raceway track record.

. Jason Line's three wins at Route 66 Raceway are the most by an NHRA Pro Stock competitor. Among current Pontiac GTO drivers, Warren Johnson has two wins (1999, 2001-fall) and Mike Edwards has one (2001). Among Chevy Cobalt drivers, Dave Connolly is the most recent winner at Route 66 Raceway (2004-fall), Kurt Johnson won in 2003 and Ron Krisher captured his first career victory in 2000.

. Out of his 40 career victories, Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., and Virginia Motorsports Park in Petersburg, Va., are the only two venues currently on the 23-event NHRA POWERade schedule where Pontiac GTO driver Greg Anderson has not won a race. Anderson has been runner-up three times at Route 66 Raceway (2003-04/fall, 2004).

. Anderson has led the Pro Stock category since the season-opening Winternationals at Pomona and has 632 points. Jason Line (Pontiac) is in second place with 559 points, Jim Yates (Pontiac) is third with 543 points, Erica Enders (Chevrolet) is fourth with 518 points and Dave Connolly (Chevrolet) is fifth with 508 points. Mike Edwards (Pontiac) is in sixth place with 477 points, Kurt Johnson (Chevrolet) is eighth with 451 points, Greg Stanfield (Pontiac) is ninth with 429 points and Warren Johnson (Pontiac) is tenth with 420 points.

. Tony Pedregon's consecutive round-win streak came to an end at Topeka, but not until it had reached 10. Pedregon's Chevy Monte Carlo captured two straight wins at Atlanta and Columbus and advanced to the semifinals at Heartland Park before bowing out to John Force.

. In national events this year, Chevy Monte Carlo drivers have captured four victories (Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Columbus), Dodge has four wins and Ford has one.

. Among current Chevy Monte Carlo Funny Car drivers, Del Worsham has the most wins at Route 66 Raceway (2001-02, 2004-fall). Tony Pedregon won the fall event twice (2002-03) and Tim Wilkerson captured his first career win at Route 66 Raceway in 1999.

. In the Funny Car standings, Tony Pedregon is in fifth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 508 points. Tommy Johnson Jr. is in sixth place in a Monte Carlo with 478 points, Del Worsham is eighth in a Monte Carlo with 438 points and Cruz Pedregon is ninth in a Monte Carlo with 433 points. Ron Capps is in first place with 781 points.

Qualifying highlights can be seen on ESPN2 on Saturday, June 10, beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern. Final eliminations from Route 66 Raceway can be seen on ESPN2 on Sunday, June 11, starting at 5 p.m. Eastern.

-gm racing-

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Ron Capps , John Force , Greg Anderson , Ron Krisher , Todd Patterson , Cruz Pedregon , Greg Stanfield , Tim Wilkerson , Jim Hughes , Jason Line , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.