Pomona: GM Racing Saturday summary

Greg Anderson Captures 52nd Career Pro Stock Pole at Pomona; Ties Don Prudhomme on NHRA All-Time List Anderson's Pontiac GTO Runs Track-Record Speed; Ties Track E.T. Record Click here to download high resolution image POMONA, Calif., Feb. 10, 2007...

Greg Anderson Captures 52nd Career Pro Stock Pole at Pomona; Ties Don Prudhomme on NHRA All-Time List Anderson's Pontiac GTO Runs Track-Record Speed; Ties Track E.T. Record Click here to download high resolution image POMONA, Calif., Feb. 10, 2007 - The performance of Greg Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac got back on track during the final day of time trials for the 47th annual Car Quest NHRA Winternationals, capturing the raceday pole and setting a new track-record top speed of 209.04 mph. It was the third No.1 qualifying effort for Anderson at this event and his fifth career pole at Auto Club Raceway.

"I've had a great weekend so far," said Anderson. "We've brought a lot of neat new things to the race this weekend, a new Pontiac GTO and the new GM DRCE3. There was a lot of work over the winter and you never know what you're going to have until you get here and get out there and run with the rest of these guys. You're nervous until you get here and it's a darn good feeling when you can run with them, let alone run ahead of them. I'm proud of all my guys, they've done a fantastic job over the winter, our engine guys back home, and Rob Downing has done fantastic job taking on the crew chief duties. Rob has kept up and shown that he can handle it."

Anderson, a two-time winner of the NHRA Winternationals (2004, 2006), drove his GTO to the top of the qualifying ladder with a run of 6.634 seconds, tying teammate Jason Line for the quickest e.t. ever recorded by a Pro Stock car at Auto Club Raceway. It was Anderson's 52nd career pole, tying him with Don Prudhomme for sixth on the list for the most No. 1 qualifying awards by an NHRA professional driver. The three-time POWERade champion also extended his consecutive qualifying streak to 94 races, the longest active streak in the category.

"We recovered from our mistake yesterday and ran real fast this morning," said Anderson. "And then we ran good tonight in the same lane that we struggled in yesterday. That builds confidence. It looks like we can go down either lane okay. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac teammate Jason Line is qualified in the No. 3 spot after running 6.641 seconds at 208.46 mph. Line has never won the Winternationals but he has been runner-up twice at the NHRA Finals (2004, 2006) held at this venue.

"I'm going to have to drive my best tomorrow, although we do have a tendency to step up on raceday," said Line. "I'm really happy though. I think everybody in our engine shop did a phenomenal job for our debut of the DRCE3. We've been the fastest on the backhalf on almost every single pass and I'm really proud of everybody and the work they've done. That should serve us well for the rest of the season. I think we're going to make some good gains with the (DRCE) '3' throughout the rest of the season and to have our Summit Racing Pontiacs No. 1 and No. 3 is a good way to start the year."

Dave Connolly has the quickest Chevy Cobalt in the field, running 6.656 seconds at 207.94 mph and taking the No. 4 qualifying spot, and Kenny Koretsky's Cobalt is No.5 after posting a 6.659 e.t. at 207.82 mph.

"Yesterday when we ran the 6.65 we had an electronic problem and the shift light came on early," said Koretsky. "I pulled it out of second gear at 9600 rpm and it knocked the breath right out of the motor. It should have run better than it did - it was fast. We thought we could bump it up today, but once again, we had some electrical problems, so we're changing the whole electronic box and hoping we can get it straightened out for Sunday."

Jeg Coughlin Jr. is No. 6 with a 6.661 e.t., Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Chevrolet is No. 7 after running 6.666 seconds at 207.82 mph, and Mike Edwards' Young Life Pontiac rounds out the top half of the field in the No. 8 position.

"Lane choice, that's what it's all about," said Kurt Johnson. "You're going to have to keep lane choice in order to keep moving ahead. That will make the difference come the end of the year and this weekend we're off to a good start. That last qualifying session we decided to go back to some basic stuff that we knew would win races. We've been on a kick for about the last 40 runs on different avenues, and we took all that stuff off and went A to B. The setup for our ACDelco Chevrolet was so conservative that we figure we got another hundredth left in it. Maybe we could have gone 6.66 on that last run tonight, so we'll keep scratching at it and see what we can do tomorrow."

Other drivers in Pontiac GTOs in the 16-car field include Tom Martino (9th), Greg Stanfield (10th), Jim Yates (11th) and Warren Johnson (14th).

In Funny Car, Tim Wilkerson ran a career-best e.t. of 4.723 seconds at 326.95 in the Levi Ray & Shoup Chevrolet to take the No. 5 qualifying spot. The resident of Springfield, Ill., was runner-up to Ron Capps at this event in 1998 and was the No. 1 qualifier for the Winternationals in 2003.

"We've been creeping up on it all weekend," said Wilkerson. "We have some fuel system issues we're working on and it dropped a hole during our second run or we could have run a 4.77 or so. It was faster on the second run early than on our third run, so everything being equal, it certainly should have run to the end a little faster. After it went 4.79, I was pretty confident it could go 4.74 or 4.75. My wife asked what I was going to run tonight, and I said, 'a .73 or a .74,' and she said, 'what?' A 4.72 was a little bit of a surprise and a couple hundredths faster than I thought it would go.

"We have something for tomorrow, but we'll find out. We need to keep our head on straight, see how the track is, and the good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we'll be out there doing the best we can. It's a good way to start the season. We spent a lot of time in that DNQ pool last year and we're trying not to even dip our feet in it this year."

Tommy Johnson Jr. will start raceday from the No. 9 slot after posting a 4.748 second run at 324.98 mph in the Skoal Racing Chevy Impala SS. Johnson won this event in 2005.

"We didn't hit it on the run when we needed to and didn't qualify as well as we would have liked," said Johnson. "That's not an indication of what kind of racecar we have. The first run today was a good indication of how good this Chevy Impala SS will be on raceday, and we have something for them now. The guys ran big numbers when it cooled down, but I think during the heat of the day today, we ran the second quickest e.t. of the round. We're going to put it back like it was then for our raceday setup and lookout - it should be good.

"Winning this race two years ago has changed our whole outlook when we come to Pomona. After having done well in the past you don't go to the starting line nervous - you have a lot of confidence. I feel pretty good about our day tomorrow."

-credit: gm racing

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Ron Capps , Greg Anderson , Don Prudhomme , Greg Stanfield , Tom Martino , Tim Wilkerson , Jason Line , Dave Connolly , Tommy Johnson Jr.