MEMPHIS, September 15, 2007 - Pontiac Racing teammates Jason Line and Greg Anderson set the pace for the Pontiac pack after final Pro Stock qualifying today for the 20th annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park. Cool ...
MEMPHIS, September 15, 2007 - Pontiac Racing teammates Jason Line and Greg Anderson set the pace for the Pontiac pack after final Pro Stock qualifying today for the 20th annual O'Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Memphis Motorsports Park. Cool temperatures and low humidity made for near-ideal track conditions today, and the two drivers of the Summit Racing Pontiac GTOs took full advantage in this morning's first qualifying session. Defending POWERade Pro Stock champ Line drove his Pontiac to an elapsed time of 6.596 seconds at 208.68 mph to claim the No. 2 spot on the qualifying grid, and three-time Pro Stock champ Anderson was just a tick behind with a 6.598 e.t. at a track-record speed of 209.17 mph to qualify third. Max Naylor drove his Dodge to the No. 1 qualifier for the second consecutive race with an elapsed time of 6.594 seconds at 207.37 mph.
"I can't remember what it's like to be up near the top after qualifying," Line said. "It feels pretty good, actually. We made a nice run this morning, but we definitely left some out there. The good thing is we're going to have lane choice on Sunday, and it just feels good to make a decent run again. We've really struggled all summer and that kind of gets old after awhile. But now it's all good, and hopefully we can get the two Summit Pontiacs running better for tomorrow and have something good for race day."
Line has been hot and cold this season with a win and two No. 1 qualifiers to go with his bottom-half qualifying efforts in four of the last six races. A win Sunday to match his win here at Memphis Motorsports Park in 2004 would go a long way in his battle to defend his POWERade Pro Stock championship.
"We're just trying to get back to where we were three or four months ago. It's just been one of those things. Sometimes you go astray and it's hard to get back. That's just part of racing. I feel a lot better for Sunday, but we'll see. For now let's see if we can make two (good runs) in a row. That's been our problem. We've been able to make a good run and then we follow up with a lousy run. We definitely need to get some consistency back."
Anderson's runner-up finish at Indy to Chevy driver Dave Connolly left him 14 points in arrears of Connolly entering this weekend's race at Memphis. The loss snapped an amazing four-year winning streak for Anderson at the prestigious U.S. Nationals, and he enters this weekend's event with a class-leading sevens wins this season.
"We had a decent run (this morning), we just didn't make it to 330 (feet) as fast as we needed to make it," Anderson said. "We got outrun by over two hundredths at 60 feet, and in this class you can't give that much up. After low gear it was a pretty fair run, we just didn't get it done in low gear and we'll try and figure out why. We need to figure out how to get to 60 feet quicker and then we'll be looking good."
Connolly held on to the No. 4 qualifying position to lead the way for Team Chevy after sitting on the provisional pole yesterday, and the Ohio native is looking for his third consecutive win after back-to-back victories at Brainerd (Pa.) and Indianapolis. His teammate Jeg Coughlin also qualified his JEGS.com Chevy Cobalt in the top half of the field in the No. 7 position.
In Funny Car, Tommy Johnson was the highest-qualified Chevy when he drove the Skoal Racing Chevy Impala SS to the No. 3 spot with an elapsed time of 4.812 seconds at 314.39 mph, and the Avon, Ind., resident will face Kenny Bernstein in tomorrow's Round 1 of eliminations. Chevy drivers Tony Pedregon and Gary Densham also qualified in the top half of the Funny Car field in sixth and seventh, respectively.
"That was a great run for this whole Skoal Racing team," Johnson said. "This Chevy Impala, we've kind of struggled with it all year, but we're kind of getting back on track. I've won here twice before, once in Top Fuel and once in Funny Car, so I kind of like Memphis."
-credit: gm racing