Reading: Greg Anderson preview

Anderson vs. Johnson: a good natured rivalry READING, Pa. -- In racing there are always rivalries: some friendly, some not so friendly. Currently Greg Anderson, driver of the Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am, and Kurt Johnson are the...

Anderson vs. Johnson: a good natured rivalry

READING, Pa. -- In racing there are always rivalries: some friendly, some not so friendly. Currently Greg Anderson, driver of the Vegas General Construction Pontiac Grand Am, and Kurt Johnson are the rivalry most closely watched by the drag racing community. Throughout the season, these two drivers have fought each other tooth and nail for the point's lead and the eventual Pro Stock world championship. There is a rivalry there, but of the friendliest nature. This weekend Anderson and Johnson will once again square off against each other for the Pro Stock title at the 19th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pa.

"I think it is pretty cool to be racing one of my best friends for the championship, and you know, I wouldn't have it any other way," said Anderson of Charlotte, NC. "I think I would rather race Kurt more than anyone else in the class. It is almost like racing against a brother.

"Kurt and I have been friends for a long time. He is like a brother to me. We worked and raced together for many years, and now we are racing against each other for the Pro Stock championship. There is no one else in the class I would want to race this close.

"Everyone wants to make a championship battle into some kind of an ugly fight, and I guess it could be like that if I was up against someone else. Kurt and I have the same kind of relationship that all buddies have when they are competing against each other in sports. We kind of have a 'I got you that time' mentality. If he beats me that's fine, but the next time I line up against him, I want to get him back. Of coarse this is for more than just bragging rights. There is a lot riding on this championship, but as much pressure as is put on us to win, at the end of the day we are still friends.

"What is neat is that when we strap into our cars, the gloves come off, and we are enemies on the starting line. When we get out of our cars at the top end, we are friends again. No matter who wins I know that by nightfall, we will be in either his pit or mine, congratulating the winner. That's cool, and I know he feels the same way.

"Honestly, I know that if it wasn't for me, Kurt would be dominating this class right now. I also know that the season is far from being over. If I fumble, even a little bit, he will catch me.

"Right now we have to get past this weekend in Reading. The cool conditions in Maple Grove are going to even up the field. The good air will cure a weak motor, so it seems like even the marginal cars run well there. This weekend I think we could see one of the tightest fields this season. When the cars even out it makes for a more competitive race. That will make it a drivers' race on Sunday, with some great side by side racing for the fans. If you can win a race under those conditions you earned it, you did not back into it.

"This weekend it is going to be very important for us to stay in pace with Kurt. I know he will crush me if he can, and he knows that the same is true for me.

"That is what is so great about racing a friend like Kurt. I know if this goes down to the final round in Pomona, and he and I are racing each other for the championship. If he wins, I will still be able to shake his hand at the top end and happy for him, just like he would be for me if I won."

Qualifying at the 19th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals in Reading, Pa. will begin on Friday Sept. 12, and continue on Saturday Sept. 13. Eliminations will take place at 11:00 AM EST on Sunday Sept 14.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Kurt Johnson , Greg Anderson