Pro Stock Championship Battle Turns Toward the Homestretch at Maple Grove Raceway READING, Pa., Sept. 12, 2006 - Only five races remain on the 23-event NHRA POWERade tour this year, and the first match of the closing quintuplet takes place this...
Pro Stock Championship Battle Turns Toward the Homestretch at Maple Grove Raceway
READING, Pa., Sept. 12, 2006 - Only five races remain on the 23-event NHRA POWERade tour this year, and the first match of the closing quintuplet takes place this weekend at the 22nd annual Toyo Tires Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway on Sept. 14 - 17. With only 20 potential rounds of eliminations left to be claimed before the season winds down at Pomona Raceway (Calif.) in November, the battle for the 2006 Pro Stock championship is shaping up into three-way contest between three GM drivers; Jason Line (Pontiac), Greg Anderson (Pontiac) and Dave Connolly (Chevrolet). Line holds a 59 point lead over second-place Greg Anderson, while Connolly, who trails Line by 135 points and Anderson by 76 points, continues his relentless, dogged pursuit of the two frontrunners.
Maple Grove Pre-Race Stats & Facts
Greg Anderson and Dave Connolly are the series two most recent race finalists in the Pro Stock category. Anderson drove his Pontiac GTO to a final-round victory over Connolly at the 52nd annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals on Sept. 4. It was Anderson's second victory this season and the fifth time this year he has advanced to the final round of a national event. For Connolly, it was the seventh time this season, and the second time in the last three races he has driven his Chevy Cobalt to the finals.
Anderson's win at Indianapolis was the 168th all time for Pontiac in NHRA Pro Stock competition. Of the 168 wins by a Pontiac Pro Stock driver, Warren Johnson leads the pack with 44 victories, Greg Anderson is second with 39 victories (in a Pontiac) and Jim Yates is third with 25 victories. All three have won multiple NHRA Pro Stock driver's titles driving a Pontiac.
Jason Line's most recent final-round appearance was on Aug. 21 at Memphis when he lost in the championship heat to the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt of Kurt Johnson. Including the U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis, Line has driven his Pontiac GTO to the finals in five of the last eight races and has won two of them.
Between the three title contenders, Line has won the most rounds this season (33) while Connolly has won 31 rounds and Anderson has captured 28.
Qualifying has played a key role in this title chase with Line accumulating a total of 101 points in time trials at the first 18 races for an average of 5.61 points per event (out of a possible 8). Anderson's 10 No. 1 qualifying efforts this year have contributed to 122 points during time trials for an average of 6.78 points per event. Connolly has accumulated 46 qualifying points for an average of 2.56 points per event. Two DNQs at Gainesville (Fla.) and Bristol (Tenn.) have cut into Connolly's qualifying points total.
Line's average qualifying position over 18 races this year is 3.94, Anderson's is 2.33 and Connolly's is 10.17.
Pontiac GTO drivers have won nine national events in 2006. Jason Line has notched three marks in the win category this season (Bristol, Englishtown, Sonoma), Greg Anderson has two victories (Pomona, Indianapolis), Mike Edwards has two victories (Houston, St. Louis), Warren Johnson has one (Phoenix) and Jim Yates has one (Columbus).
Dave Connolly and Kurt Johnson are the two Chevy Cobalt drivers who have combined for seven red bowtie victories in the Pro Stock category this season. Connolly leads Pro Stock with four race wins in 2006 (Atlanta, Topeka, Denver, Brainerd), and Johnson scored his national-event wins at Las Vegas, Chicago and Memphis.
Kurt Johnson's win at Memphis on Aug. 21 was the 134th all-time for Chevrolet in NHRA Pro Stock competition. Of Johnson's 35 career victories, 25 have been from behind the wheel of a Chevrolet. Lee Shepherd has the most Chevrolet Pro Stock wins with 26.
GM Performance Parts Pontiac driver Warren Johnson has the most career wins at Maple Grove Raceway in the Pro Stock division (4). Johnson's wins came in 1991-92, 1995 and 2003. ACDelco Chevy Cobalt driver Kurt Johnson and Sea Ray Boats Pontiac GTO driver Jim Yates are second on the Maple Grove win list with three. Johnson's wins were in 1993, 1998 and 2000. Yates is the most recent competitor in Pro Stock to capture back-to-back crowns at Maple Grove (1996-97) and his latest win at the Eastern Pa. venue came in 2002.
Greg Anderson is the defending champion in Pro Stock at Maple Grove Raceway, and he also holds the track mph record set in 2004 at 206.67 mph. Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac teammate Jason Line won his only race at Maple Grove in 2004 and set the track e.t. record that year at 6.669 seconds.
Warren Johnson has been No. 1 qualifier at Maple Grove Raceway seven times (1989, 1991, 1993, 1995-96, 1998-99). Jim Yates and Greg Anderson have started raceday from the pole at Maple Grove twice; Yates in 1997 and 2002, and Anderson in 2003-04. Ron Krisher was No. 1 qualifier in 2000 and Jason Line was the pole setter in 2005.
Greg Anderson drove his Pontiac GTO to his 50th career No. 1 qualifying spot at the recently completed U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis. Anderson's first career pole came at Atlanta in May 2001 and his most recent No. 1 qualifying position at Indianapolis places the Summit Racing Pontiac driver seventh on the all-time list among professional drivers. Anderson is just two raceday poles behind Don Prudhomme (52) who is sixth, and six behind Joe Amato (56) who is fifth. Warren Johnson is first on the all-time list with 135 career No. 1 qualifying efforts.
After 18 races, seven drivers in GM-branded cars occupy a spot in the top 10 of the NHRA POWERade Pro Stock standings. Jason Line (Pontiac GTO) is in first place with 1,301 points, Greg Anderson (Pontiac GTO) is second with 1,242 points, Dave Connolly (Chevy Cobalt) is third with 1,166 points and Kurt Johnson (Chevy Cobalt) is fourth with 1,005 points. Mike Edwards (Pontiac GTO) is in sixth place with 960 points, Jim Yates (Pontiac GTO) is seventh with 938 points, and Greg Stanfield (Pontiac GTO) is 10th with 798 points. Closing fast on the top-10 is Warren Johnson (Pontiac GTO) who is in 12th place with 746 points. Ron Krisher (Chevy Cobalt) is 14th with 630 points.
Tony Pedregon is the defending Funny Car champion at Maple Grove Raceway. Last year Pedregon drove his Chevy Monte Carlo to a final-round victory over John Force. Pedregon also won the 2002 contest at Maple Grove Raceway.
Other current Chevy Monte Carlo drivers who have previously won at Maple Grove Raceway include Tim Wilkerson (2003), Tommy Johnson Jr. (1999) and Cruz Pedregon (1992).
In the Funny Car standings, Tony Pedregon is in fourth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 1,112 points and three victories. Tommy Johnson Jr. is in sixth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 1,008 points and two victories. Cruz Pedregon is in ninth place in a Chevy Monte Carlo with 759 points and one victory, and Phil Burkart is in 10th place with 756 points.
-credit: gm racing