Anderson Determined to Allay Fears with Strong Winternationals Showing Mooresville, N.C., February 9, 2010 -- With only three days before the official start of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season, it would seem strange that Pro Stock...
Anderson Determined to Allay Fears with Strong Winternationals Showing
Mooresville, N.C., February 9, 2010 -- With only three days before the official start of the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season, it would seem strange that Pro Stock standout Greg Anderson would be worried. After all, over the past seven years, Anderson and his Summit Racing team have established themselves as one of the elite teams in the sport's most competitive class, with a record of consistent excellence unmatched by any of their competitors. In addition, following a successful test session in Bradenton two weeks ago, all signs point towards the KB Racing crew once again contending for the title.
Even so, as the straight-line set heads to Pomona, CA for this weekend's Kragen O'Reilly Winternationals, the three-time champion confessed to having some concerns. However, these reservations are based more in a healthy respect for his rivals than any worries about his own team's capabilities, a realistic approach that ensures both he and his crew maintain their competitive drive.
"Our outlook is no different than any other season -- we live in complete fear until we make that first run in Pomona," said Anderson. "This KB Racing crew has had its distractions over the last few months, which made the off-season seem even shorter than it actually is. But through it all, we have stayed steady, working as hard we can. We're certainly pleased with the results we saw with our new Summit Racing Pontiac in testing, and are confident we have a good hot rod and have moved our program forward.
"However, before that first race, you just worry that your competition has somehow found 50 horsepower or picked up a tenth of a second over the winter. No matter how well you think your off-season has gone, you really don't know how you stack up until you get to Pomona and go down the racetrack a couple times. That's why we keep our nose to the grindstone throughout the whole winter, making sure we are as well prepared as we can be. We know where we are -- now it's time to find out what the other guys have been up to."
A quick review of Anderson's record at the Winternationals reveals just how effective this cautious approach has been. His four wins are tied for the most by any active Pro Stock competitors, with three coming in successive seasons from 2006-2008 and matches the combined total of the other top ten finishers in the 2009 Full Throttle Standings. In ten career Winternationals starts, he has been the No. 1 qualifier five times and posted an impressive 79% elimination round-win percentage. Finally, his KB Racing crew has taken home the last four Winternationals trophies with teammate Jason Line winning this event one year ago, a pattern of success they look to continue this weekend.
"There are two reasons why I believe this Summit Racing team has done so well at the Winternationals," said Anderson. "The first is that is that we have more time to prepare for it than any other race. This KB Racing crew likes to take a very methodical approach, thinking everything through, so we have historically done better when given more time. The Winternationals are unique in that we have two months to get ready, which I believe is the key to our success there.
"I also think that we have done well in Pomona because the race means so much to me. On top of the tremendous tradition and history associated with the Winternationals, when you pull on to the grounds, you've been working for two months, but don't really know where you stand. Therefore, if you can have great success right out of the box, you have a much more comfortable feeling heading into the rest of the season. That's a great motivator, and our results speak for themselves -- hopefully we can continue that trend this weekend."
Finally, as the NHRA celebrates the 50th running of this venerable event, Anderson took time to recall his first experience at the Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, an event which he believes laid the foundation for his chosen profession.
"The first time I ever went to the Winternationals I was about 10 or 12 years old, and my father and I traveled cross-country to go see a big-time drag race," recalled Anderson. "I remember getting to the track and seeing all the heroes that I had watched on TV, and looking up at the snow on the mountains when I was sitting in the stands where it was 80 degrees. It was a sight unlike any other I had experienced growing up in Minnesota. It was such a neat setting that gave me a special feeling that I still have today whenever I pull into the track, and probably the reason why I am racing today.
"I've always said that Indy is a special place that gives me a tremendous feeling whenever I walk on to the grounds, a race I really want to win. Well, Pomona is a close second for the exact same reason. It's where NHRA Championship Drag Racing was started and a place that has witnessed a tremendous amount of our sport's history, and the fact that it's the 50th annual Winternationals only increases this event's importance. You enter the season wanting to win every race, but this is one special Wally I definitely want to add to my trophy case."