Pontiac's Greg Anderson Wins Pro Stock At NHRA Finals - Defeats Kurt Johnson in All-GM Final Round POMONA, Calif., Nov. 16, 2008 - The 2008 NHRA POWERade season came to a close today at the 44th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA...
Pontiac's Greg Anderson Wins Pro Stock At NHRA Finals - Defeats Kurt Johnson in All-GM Final Round
POMONA, Calif., Nov. 16, 2008 - The 2008 NHRA POWERade season came to a close today at the 44th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, and it ended for Pontiac's Greg Anderson the way it began; a bookend national-event victory from the No. 1 starting position. The 47-year-old Mooresville, N.C. resident defeated Kurt Johnson in an all GM-final round that locked up second place in the Pro Stock standings for Anderson, and his sixth consecutive top-two finish.
"I am so proud of this team," Anderson said. "We obviously didn't get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but we got the next best thing, and that's the NHRA Finals win at Pomona. That final round was for second place. Kurt's (Johnson) a great competitor, I love racing him, he's had a great year, I've had a great year, we've just had some lapses during these last few races. I forgot how to have fun at the racetrack, and it's so easy to get out of your groove, but we love what we do, we love these great fans, and you just have to come and have fun, and everything goes smooth."
Anderson came into today's eliminator with the Summit Racing Equipment Pontiac qualified in the No. 1 position. Anderson defeated Richie Stevens in round one with a 6.644 e.t. at 208.23 mph, Greg Stanfield in round two with a 6.625 second run at 208.14 mph and Mike Edwards in round three with a 6.629 e.t. at 208.46 mph. In the final round against the ACDelco Chevrolet of Kurt Johnson, Anderson's Pontiac took the win light and set both ends of the track record with a 6.615 second run at 209.20 mph. Johnson fouled with a -.004 red light. It was Anderson's sixth victory of the year and the third time he's won both season contests at Pomona.
"Racing Kurt in the finals it felt like we were racing for the championship," Anderson said. "We always have great battles and it was a neat deal. Today the pressure was off, the Summit Racing Pontiac performed great, the driver performed fine and it was just like old times."
This was Anderson's 57th career victory, his 55th in a Pontiac, and his eighth career win at Auto Club Raceway. It was also his seventh career top-three finish and his eighth career top-10.
"The thing we can hang our hats on is that we won six races this year, but we won them at the wrong time," Anderson said.. "Jeggie (Coughlin) is the world champion. He did a better job and he deserves to be champion. He got the job done when the pressure was on, but I couldn't be happier for my Summit Racing guys. We proved today that we're still a championship caliber team. Second place is great today, but next year I want that No. 1 back and we're not going to rest until we get it."
Team Chevy's Kurt Johnson advanced to his sixth final-round appearance of the season. The driver of the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt locked up third place in the 2008 POWERade points standings for his ninth career top-three finish.
Johnson qualified the ACDelco Chevrolet in the No. 3 spot and defeated Vinnie Deceglie in round one, Rickie Jones in round two and Jason Line in round three before losing to Anderson in the finals.
"We had a good season with our ACDelco Cobalt," stated Johnson. "I felt we had a car capable of winning the championship, but as close as the competition is in this category, you have to run well at every race, with everything falling into the right place, as well as keeping the bad luck at bay. Even though we were off a couple of times, everything came together in the end. We won the Full Throttle Pit Crew Championship, as well as three races and finished third in the points, running well at just about every track we went to, including a runner-up finish at the last race of the season. Naturally, I'm disappointed that we didn't win today, but I shouldn't be.
"Most importantly, I want to thank our sponsors, ACDelco and Chevrolet, as well as the people here at Mark Christopher Chevrolet. We couldn't do this without their continued support, and we hope our performance this year has made them proud. I think we have a really good team right now, and we're looking forward to coming back next year to attack the competition."
In addition to Greg Anderson and Kurt Johnson, GM placed four drivers in the semifinal round in the Pro Stock category including Pontiac GXP drivers Mike Edwards and Jason Line.
Edwards qualified the Penhall/Young Life Pontiac in the No. 5 position. He defeated Jim Yates in round one and Allen Johnson in round two before losing to Anderson in the semifinals by .003 of a second. Edwards ends the season fourth in the points standings for his fifth career top-five finish.
"We're tickled to death," Edwards said. "If you would have told me at the beginning of the year that we would have won two races, and finished fourth in the points, I would have gone him. When you start the year off and you continue to consistently improve throughout the course of the season, and then you finish strong with 11 round wins during the Countdown phase, that's how you develop a baseline for next year. I'm very happy for all my guys, Roger and Ann Stull, and all the sponsors and people who have behind this program. It just doesn't get any better. I'm truly blessed and thank the Lord for so much."
Jason Line qualified the Summit Racing Pontiac GXP in the No. 2 position and defeated Johnny Gray in round one and Warren Johnson in round two before losing to Kurt Johnson in the semifinals. Line ends the year fifth in the POWERade standings for his fifth career top-five finish.
"We can save money on decals for next year," Line quipped on his second straight fifth-place finish. "Today was the best this team has done in awhile. All in all it was a good weekend for both Summit Racing Pontiacs and it was great to see Greg (Anderson) cap the year off with the win. That makes you feel a whole lot better going into the offseason. We ran okay today, especially out of the right lane. We just didn't quite have enough for Kurt (Johnson). Hats off to that team because they did a good job."
In Top Fuel, Team Chevy's Larry Dixon won his second race of the year and his first ever at the NHRA Winternationals. Dixon qualified the U.S. Smokeless dragster in the No. 2 position and defeated Clay Millican in round one with a 3.866 e.t. at 312.57 mph, Doug Herbert in round two with a 3.868 e.t. at 314.17 mph, Cory McClenathan in the semifinals with a 3.855 second run at 309.98 mph and Rod Fuller in the final round with a 3.833 e.t. at 300.93 mph. It was Dixon's 43rd career victory and gave him second place in the final season standings.
"The crew did a phenomenal, flawless job," Dixon said. "We went up there in the final round, they hopped it up and it certainly needed it. Hot Rod (Fuller) had been cutting good lights all day, their car was running real well, and the way our car blew up we obviously left everything on the track.
"The last time I was in the finals at the Finals, I was in my 20s and I'm in my 40s now. It was against Blaine Johnson in 1995 and it was his first his first win. A lot of those thoughts run through your mind and it was really unbelievable. I feel very fortunate."
Tim Wilkerson came into the final race of the year with a chance to give Chevrolet its second consecutive Funny Car crown, but a first-round red-light loss to John Force dashed the Springfield, Ill. native's title hopes. He ended the season a career-best second in the POWERade standings.
"I haven't had a red light in a long time and this was probably the most inopportune time to have one. It'd been a great year but a hard way to lose the championship. We had a lot of people that came a long way to see us race including Dick Levi who I want to thank for all of his support this year."
In the Sportsman categories, 2008 Lucas Oil champion Dan Fletcher won in Comp Eliminator in a 2008 Chevy Cobalt, Byron Warner won Super Stock in a 1996 Camaro, Lee Zane win Stock Eliminator in a 1998 Pontiac Firebird and David Coapstick won Super Gas in a 1968 Chevy Camaro.
-credit: gm racing