Anderson hopes to use 'home-field' advantage this weekend in Denver MORRISON, Colo. - In traditional stick and ball sports, playing in front of your hometown fans can give you a distinct advantage. Rookie NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Paul...
Anderson hopes to use 'home-field' advantage this weekend in Denver
MORRISON, Colo. - In traditional stick and ball sports, playing in front of your hometown fans can give you a distinct advantage. Rookie NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car driver Paul Anderson hopes that will carry over to drag racing as he enters this weekend's NHRA Division 5 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series event at his home track of Bandimere Speedway just outside of Denver.
The 21 year-old Denver native got his start in the NHRA's Jr. Drag Racing League, where youths age 8 to 17 can compete half scale dragsters. During his tenure as a Jr. Dragster pilot, Anderson became one of the winningest drivers in class history, winning five Division 5 Championships. At the age of 16, Anderson moved into the 'big' cars, racing in NHRA's Competition Eliminator category. After five years of Comp Eliminator racing, Anderson made the jump into what is commonly regarded as the toughest cars in all of drag racing to drive, Top Alcohol Funny Car.
"Ever since I was a little kid, it's always been my dream to drive a Top Alcohol Funny Car," said Anderson. "I started in the Jr. cars, then ran Comp to get ready for running the Funny Car. We're quickly learning this is a whole new world from anything we've ever raced. The car is different, the work is different, and it definitely takes more money."
Another dream-come-true for Anderson has been the help of his hero, eleven-time Division 5 Top Alcohol Funny Car Champion Vern Moats. After idolizing him as a child, Moats has been instrumental in teaching Anderson and his team the in's and out's of Top Alcohol Funny Car racing.
"Vern Moats was always my hero when I was growing up," said Anderson. "It's just amazing to be able to work with and drive next to one of my heroes."
After fighting problems at their competition debut in Topeka, Kan., the team came back home for last month's "Thunder on the Mountain" at Bandimere to run Moats in an exhibition match race. Anderson took out his hero in both rounds of the contest, carding a very-competitive 5.96 second blast at 243 mph. Armed with that strong showing, Anderson is very excited about returning to competition at the same track.
"Vern has given us a very competitive tune-up for 'The Mountain," commented Anderson. "We did all my licensing up here, and the car runs well in the altitude. This is our home race, so hopefully we can do well in front of our family and friends, along with getting some good exposure for DenverSteaks.com"
Along with this weekend's event, Anderson plans to run the entire Division 5 schedule along with a few nationals under the watchful eye of Moats.
"He gives me pointers on driving and gives us tips on what to look for on the car," stated Anderson. "To watch him just pick up a few spark plugs and read a few bearings, you can tell he knows what he's doing. We're going to run all the Division 5 races this year with him and maybe a few nationals, so we're looking forward to it. The goal this year is to learn, and try to pick up a few marketing partners along the way."
Qualifying for this weekend's event starts on Friday, with two more sessions on Saturday. Final eliminations will conclude the event on Sunday.