Pomona II: GM Racing preview

GM Racers Converge on Pomona for NHRA Finals Pontiac and Chevrolet Competitors look to Close-Out an Outstanding Season POMONA, Calif., Nov. 7, 2006 - The final contest of the 23-event NHRA POWERade season will take place this weekend when racers...

GM Racers Converge on Pomona for NHRA Finals
Pontiac and Chevrolet Competitors look to Close-Out an Outstanding Season

POMONA, Calif., Nov. 7, 2006 - The final contest of the 23-event NHRA POWERade season will take place this weekend when racers converge on Pomona for the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals. Although Jason Line and his Summit Racing Pontiac teammate Greg Anderson have already locked up first and second place in the Pro Stock standings, other GM Racing competitors will be battling for prize positions that are still up in the air, and Pontiac will go to the final contest with its fourth consecutive NHRA Manufacturer's Cup (its 10th Cup since 1996) already in the bank.

Five Pro Stock drivers in GM-branded cars (Pontiac and Chevrolet) are in the elite five of the POWERade standings, a total of seven drivers occupy one of the first 10 positions in Pro Stock, and five drivers in Chevy Monte Carlos are battling in Funny Car to finish off their season in the top 10.

Some GM Racing pre-event stats and facts follows:

At the completion of 22 national events, Pontiac leads the NHRA Manufacturer's Cup standings with 4,060 points (already surpassing last year's points total of 3,400), Chevrolet will finish in second place and has 3,100 points and Dodge is third with 2,360 points. In addition to Pontiac winning its 10th NHRA Manufacturer's Cup, it is the 39th NHRA Manufacturer's Cup since 1964 and the 24th consecutive Cup for GM (Pontiac, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile). With 15, Chevrolet has won the most NHRA Manufacturer's Cups (1966-69, 1973-81, 1983, 2002), Oldsmobile has won 14 times (1971-72, 1984-1995) and Pontiac has won 10 times (1996-2001, 2003-06).

With one race remaining, drivers in a Pontiac GTO have claimed 11 national-event victories, made 25 final-round appearances and captured 18 No. 1 qualifying awards. Five different competitors driving a GTO (Jason Line, Greg Anderson, Mike Edwards, Jim Yates and Warren Johnson) have reset a combined 32 new track elapsed-time and top-speed records.

Jason Line's win at Richmond (Va.) on Oct. 15 was the 170th all time for Pontiac in NHRA Pro Stock competition. Of those 170 wins, Warren Johnson leads the Pontiac pack with 44 victories (in a Pontiac), Greg Anderson is second with 40 victories (in a Pontiac) and Jim Yates is third with 25 victories (all of Yates' wins have been in a Pontiac). All three have won multiple NHRA Pro Stock driver's titles driving a Pontiac.

Chevy Cobalt driver Jeg Coughlin Jr. is the defending Pro Stock champion at the NHRA Finals at Pomona Raceway. Coughlin also won the season's final contest in 1999. Among active Pro Stock drivers at the NHRA Finals, GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson has the most victories with six (1982-83, 1988, 1992-93, 1995, ACDelco Chevy Cobalt driver Kurt Johnson has three wins (1997, 2000, 2002), Pontiac's Greg Anderson has won twice (2004-05) and Mike Edwards won the event in 1996.

Greg Anderson holds both ends of the Pro Stock track records at Pomona Raceway. Anderson reset the marks last February at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals when his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO stopped the clocks with a run of 6.665 seconds at 207.75 mph.

Jason Line clinched his first POWERade Pro Stock title by driving his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to four victories (Bristol, Englishtown, Sonoma, Richmond), eight final-round appearances, six No. 1 qualifying awards and 43 round wins. Line's Pontiac GTO also set the national elapsed-time record at consecutive races. First on Oct. 1 at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., when Line's Pontiac stopped the clocks at 6.609 seconds, and again at the following race at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va., on Oct. 15 when the Summit Racing GTO ran an incredible national-record time of 6.558 seconds at a national-record top speed of 209.75 mph. Line has also set low elapsed time of the meet 11 times and top speed of the meet nine times, both category bests in 2006. Line was runner-up at the NHRA Finals in 2004.

After winning three straight NHRA POWERade championships from 2003-05, Summit Racing Pontiac driver Greg Anderson will finish in second place in the standings, just a few points shy of teammate Jason Line. Anderson's fifth consecutive top-five finish was the result of three national-event victories (Pomona, Indianapolis, Reading), six final-round appearances and 11 No. 1 qualifying awards.

Heading into Pomona with a 188-point lead over fourth place Mike Edwards, Team Chevy's Dave Connolly will finish in third place in the POWERade Pro Stock standings, the best effort for the Cobalt camp this year, and the third straight elite-five finish for the 23-year-old Ohio native. Connolly is tied with Line for the most victories in the category this season (Atlanta, Topeka, Denver, Brainerd), and has advanced to seven final rounds and captured 36 round wins.

Currently in fourth place in the points standings, Young Life Pontiac driver Mike Edwards rebounded from a difficult 2005 campaign, and is looking to record his fourth career elite-five points finish and his seventh career top 10. Edwards' outstanding season has included two national-event wins at Houston and St. Louis, and four final-round appearances. Edwards also qualified his GTO a season-best No. 2 at Chicago and Memphis, and at Richmond the Young Life Pontiac driver ran a career-best e.t. and speed of 6.589 seconds at 209.36 mph. Edwards' GTO also ran the top speed of the meet at Houston.

Closing the gap on Mike Edwards is ACDelco Chevy Cobalt driver Kurt Johnson who trails fourth place by a slim 16 points. The 43-year-old Johnson is hoping to nail down his 12th elite-five finish and is assured of his 14th consecutive top-10 finish. In 2006, Johnson has driven the ACDelco Chevrolet to three wins (Las Vegas, Chicago, Memphis) and four final rounds. Johnson has captured one win per season for 12 straight years, the longest streak among active drivers in the Pro Stock category.

Currently seventh in the points standings, Jim Yates returned to the winner's circle for the first time since 2002 by winning the Pontiac Performance Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. That victory, along with a runner-up at Houston, was the catalyst for the 14th career top-10 finish by the Sea Ray Boats/Wiley X Pontiac GTO driver.

Greg Stanfield will try to notch his second top-10 finish in the Pro Stock standings, but it will be his first in a Pontiac GTO. The four-time Super Stock national champion (1990, 1992-94) contributed to Pontiac's 2006 Manufacturer's Cup point total with a pair of runner-up performances at Atlanta and at Reading where he was also the No. 1 qualifier. Stanfield's time at Richmond of 6.584 seconds is the fourth quickest in the history of the Pro Stock category, and only 2006 champion Jason Line has been better.

GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson added to the Pontiac win total this year with a final-round victory at Phoenix over Greg Anderson The six-time NHRA champion has now won at least one national event in 24 of the last 25 race seasons, and at the ACDelco NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas, Johnson became the first professional driver in the history of the NHRA to compete in 500 races.

In the Funny Car standings, Tony Pedregon is in fifth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 1,318 points and three victories (Atlanta, Columbus, St. Louis), and has advanced to five final-rounds in 2006. The California native is the defending champion of the NHRA Finals and also claimed a victory at this event in 1997.

Tommy Johnson Jr. is sixth in the Skoal Racing Chevrolet with 1,269 points and has won this year at Phoenix and Brainerd, his first two-win season since 1999. This will be Johnson's ninth career top-10 finish. He was runner-up at the NHRA Finals in 2002.

Other Chevy Monte Carlo drivers in the Funny Car top 10 include Phil Burkart Jr. (8th place) and Cruz Pedregon (10th place). Burkart won this year at Reading and Pedregon's single win came at Las Vegas.

Del Worsham is in 11th place, just 52 points out of the top 10. The CSK Chevrolet driver won the NHRA Finals in 2001 and 2003 and was runner-up in 2004.

-credit: gm racing

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Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Del Worsham , Greg Anderson , Cruz Pedregon , Greg Stanfield , Jason Line , Dave Connolly , Mike Edwards , Tommy Johnson Jr.