Las Vegas: GM Racing Saturday summary

Pontiac's Greg Anderson Earns Raceday Pole at Nationals 44th Career No. 1 Qualifying Effort for Three-Time Pro Stock Champ LAS VEGAS, April 8, 2006 - Greg Anderson continued on his torrid qualifying pace this weekend at the ...

Pontiac's Greg Anderson Earns Raceday Pole at Nationals 44th Career No. 1 Qualifying Effort for Three-Time Pro Stock Champ

LAS VEGAS, April 8, 2006 - Greg Anderson continued on his torrid qualifying pace this weekend at the Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The three-time NHRA Pro Stock champion earned low qualifying honors for the fourth time this season by driving his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to a 6.787 second e.t. at 203.31 mph.

"We're inching up on the Summit Racing Pontiac GTO," said Anderson. "I'm very proud of the guys and the job they've done this weekend in getting the car right. It seems like we're gaining on my GTO but we have a lot of work to do on Jason's (Line) car. My Pontiac is starting to get happy though, at least in the left lane where both of the runs I made we're pretty good. The two runs in the right lane weren't perfect, but if we can keep lane choice tomorrow, we should be okay. This is a great place to do it, in Ken Black's hometown (team owner) and at the Nationals (primary sponsor). I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Our goal is to have a perfect raceday like we have so many times in the past here. That's what it's going to take. We'll be working some long hours tonight to see if we can get Jason's car right, fine tune mine, learn what we did right with my GTO, and then apply that to Jason's. Both Summit Racing Pontiacs are in the show and on opposite sides of the ladder, and if we can get some things rectified then maybe we can have a big day tomorrow."

It marks the 44th career raceday pole for the 45-year-old Anderson, the third time he's started No. 1 at this event and the fifth time he's been No. 1 qualifier at this venue. It's also the 11th straight contest going back to last year's U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis that a Pontiac GTO driven by either Anderson, or teammate Jason Line, has earned No. 1 qualifying honors.

"We have seven cars, the top seven in the field, within a hundredth of a second," said Anderson. "It is an absolute knock-down, drag-out brutal brawl out there, and it's a heck of a class to be in right now. There are a lot of sharp people out here, and you feel pretty good at the end of the day when you can come out on top in a class as tough as NHRA Pro Stock."

Warren Johnson will push off on raceday with his GM Performance Parts Pontiac slotted into the No. 2 starting position. The six-time NHRA champion posted a 6.790 e.t. (one of three cars to run 6.790 second elapsed time in qualifying) at a track-record speed of 203.49 mph.

"We're in a good position for tomorrow," said Johnson. "We made a pretty drastic change in that last session to find out how far we can't go, and even though we didn't make that smooth of a run, we were still right there in the middle of the pack. We're in good shape for Sunday. Horsepower is not the problem, it's getting it to the ground."

Erica Enders has the quickest Chevy Cobalt in the 16-car Pro Stock field qualifying in the No. 3 spot with a run of 6.790 seconds at 202.94 mph. It's the fourth time this season that the Slammers Chevrolet driver has qualified third or better for a national event.

"We're definitely where we need to be, and three thousandths of a second shy of first is less than a blink of the eye," said Enders. "We're really excited to have the Slammers Chevrolet running as fast as it is. I'm driving okay - I have my lights down and I've been working on it. Everyone here is ready for tomorrow. The field is incredibly competitive right now and that's what makes the fans love it so much. I think we have a car that's capable of winning this event, and if I do my job we should do pretty well."

Houston final-round contestant Jim Yates continues to run strong in the Sea-Ray Boats Pontiac GTO. Yates qualified in the No. 5 position with a 6.793 second run at 203.19 mph.

"Coming here from Houston was a big adjustment," said Yates. "There we had super high humidity, we ran really well, and we didn't know if we hit on something good for those specific circumstances or if we'd picked up our performance level. Coming here we were a little nervous. We're running at a very high altitude, and we have almost no humidity  - probably the driest climate we race in all year. After the first run, using a conservative tune-up, we were pretty excited. Last night we rattled the tire a little bit and were still sixth, and then today we made a pretty nice run given the lane we were in. We definitely had enough in this Pontiac GTO to be No. 1 qualifier but we left a little on the table at 60-foot.

"Grump's (Bill Jenkins) been working on the tune-up really hard. This engine is really fast - I call it 'Ole No. 57. It's the motor I ran during testing over the winter and it was very fast then. They took it back to the shop after testing, freshened it up and it's been in the car now the last two races. I told Grump I want to race with this engine the rest of the year. It has a lot of potential, and when we get more runs on it, we're going to step up.

Kurt Johnson is qualified in the No. 6 spot in a Chevy Cobalt, Dave Howard is seventh in a Cobalt and Dave Connolly is eighth in a Cobalt. Jason Line is qualified in the No. 10 spot in a Pontiac GTO, Houston winner Mike Edwards is qualified 11th in a Pontiac GTO, Mark Pawuk is 15th in a GTO and Greg Stanfield's parks his GTO in the No. 16 position on the last qualifying run of the day.

"We weren't sure what to do," said Edwards, who broke into the 16-car field during the morning qualifying session. "We hurt the engine we'd been running really, really good with, and this morning was the first time we'd ever run this backup - we weren't sure what it was going to do. We threw it in there last night, made a nice run this morning, and early indications are that it's pretty good. We have to work on it down low, but it looks like we have two good engines - at least one and a half. We ran decent speed and for only the second run on it, that wasn't too bad. We'll tune it up and go from there."

-gm racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Greg Anderson , Greg Stanfield , Jason Line , Dave Connolly , Ken Black , Mike Edwards