Despite Long Odds, Anderson is Determined to Keep Fighting; Summit Racing Driver kicks off Vegas weekend with Charity Poker Tournament Mooresville, N.C., October 27, 2009 -- Greg Anderson is certainly a realist. Facing a 128-point deficit with...
Despite Long Odds, Anderson is Determined to Keep Fighting; Summit Racing Driver kicks off Vegas weekend with Charity Poker Tournament
Mooresville, N.C., October 27, 2009 -- Greg Anderson is certainly a realist. Facing a 128-point deficit with only two races left in the NHRA's Countdown to One championship playoff, the three-time champion knows he faces an uphill battle in his pursuit of a fourth title, one which will require some assistance outside of his control. Even so, entering this weekend's NHRA Las Vegas Nationals, neither Anderson nor his Summit Racing Pontiac crew are about to throw in the towel.
"This is definitely a different situation for us, but the old girl isn't singing quite yet, so we're not about to give up," said Anderson. "We know our chances might be a little slim, and we're going to need some outside help, but this Summit Racing team is still going to keep fighting.
"Looking at things realistically, Mike (current points leader Edwards) will have to suffer some misfortune along the way for us to have a chance. I certainly don't wish it on him, and I don't expect it to happen, but, if it does, we have to be ready to make the most of it. That's why we're going into Las Vegas with the same mindset, doing everything we can do to win.
"Besides, with all the talk about the championship, people tend to forget there's still a race to be won, and it's in our team owner's hometown. Any way you look at it, we have a lot on the line this weekend, and we're not looking to finish second."
With so much at stake, Anderson can take comfort in knowing he will be racing on one of his best tracks. Since joining the Full Throttle tour in 2000, the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has established itself as one of drag racing's premiere facilities, and the home track for KB Racing owner Ken Black. With six wins in eight final round appearances, Anderson leads all professional competitors. As such, he is well versed on what it takes to succeed in the Nevada desert.
"It certainly helps your confidence going to a track that you not only like, but on which you have a good record of success," said Anderson. "It's a good race track, a fun place to race, and I love going there, which is reflected in how well we've raced there. The first time I went there with Ken in 2002, I actually DNQ'ed, so we did a lot of testing before the next race, and we ended up winning the next four times we went to Vegas.
"Racing in Las Vegas is a lot different than most racetracks. It has a couple thousand feet of altitude, so you know the motor's not going to make a ton of power. The power loss is not as bad as going to Denver, but it's about a third of the way there. Fortunately, the surface is really good, so as long as you adapt to the loss of horsepower, you can be in good shape.
"Of course, another part of the challenge of racing in Vegas is the nightlife, which goes to a completely different level with Halloween being this weekend. Looking at the way the qualifying sessions are set, it looks like they want to give us some time to go out and enjoy it. Still, this Summit Racing team knows they'll have to keep their trick or treating under control. After all, this is a business trip, and we have a job to do."
However, before Anderson even takes to the track, he will participate in an event of extra significance, playing in the Sixth Annual Cards for Kids Poker Tournament. Held on Wednesday night at the Cannery Hotel & Casino, Anderson and his Summit Racing teammate Jason Line will be among a host of NHRA drivers playing against the fans in an evening of high-stakes fun benefiting the Speedway Children's Charities.
"We've taken part in the poker tournament for the last four or five years, and it's always a lot of fun," said Anderson. "It's a great deal supporting the tremendous work done by the Speedway Children's Charities. I don't consider myself a card shark, but I enjoy watching it on TV, as well as playing once a year in this event.
"Fortunately, since we are such novices, the dealers usually help us out so we don't look too bad, and everyone ends up having a great time. This year, I'm going to get Jason in it with me, so it will be a fun way for us to kick off the weekend, all while helping out a great cause. After that, it will be game on."