Sonoma: GM Racing Saturday notes

Greg Anderson Captures 60th Career Pro Stock Pole Driving Pontiac GTO to Infineon Raceway ET Record Tommy Johnson Jr. Charges to No. 3 Funny Car Spot in Chevy Impala SS SONOMA, Calif., July 28, 2007 - Pontiac's Greg Anderson earned the No. 1...

Greg Anderson Captures 60th Career Pro Stock Pole Driving Pontiac GTO to Infineon Raceway ET Record

Tommy Johnson Jr. Charges to No. 3 Funny Car Spot in Chevy Impala SS

SONOMA, Calif., July 28, 2007 - Pontiac's Greg Anderson earned the No. 1 qualifying position for Sunday's 20th annual Fram Autolite NHRA Nationals at Infineon Raceway. During today's morning session, Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac GTO ran a track-record elapsed time of 6.605 seconds at 208.20 mph to give the North Carolina resident his 60th career pole award and his ninth No. 1 qualifying spot this season.

"We did something right last night," said Anderson. "We learned from it, we applied it to both Summit Racing Pontiacs and it looked like we knew what we were doing. I'm pretty pumped right now. I think we hit it pretty much on the bulls eye for the first run this morning. We made a good run last night and knew coming in this morning that the conditions would be as good as, or better than, what we ran in yesterday. We were in the show solid and knew the worst we could get bumped down was fourth place or so, so we decided to go for it and see if we could pick it up. The worst thing that could happen would be not making the run. We went for the gusto, hit the target and ran real, real good. I'm happy about that, but I'm even happier that we got Jason's (Line) car to run as well as it did. That's the first time in a while that we've got both cars down the track, one and two. That's a big confidence builder that we've been lacking."

It is the fifth time that Anderson has been the No. 1 qualifier at this event. He also won the raceday pole here in 2002-04, and at last year's contest. Anderson was runner-up in 2002 and 2003, and won this race in 2004 and 2005.

"Today's morning run was nearly perfect," said Anderson, "although we still need to go over the data. It felt awfully good in the car so there's not going to be a lot left, I can tell you that.

"Right now we're working on getting back on the safe side. The sun was out for the second session, and the track was a lot hotter, so the conditions weren't there like they were in the morning. We calmed the two cars down a little this afternoon with the focus on getting them to repeat, and keeping them consistent, even though they were slower by just a few hundredths."

Defending event champion Jason Line moved up in the qualifying order from No. 15 all the way to the No. 3 position when his Summit Racing Pontiac ran a 6.613 e.t. at a track-record top speed of 208.59 mph.

"I was nervous," said Line. "It's been a few races since we've made a good run. There have been a number of different issues, and actually it's been a matter of testing a lot of stuff - it's one of those things. After I put it high gear I said to myself, 'we're going to qualify.' This weekend, we've made some great calls and it looks like we have two competitive cars. I'm more excited about racing on Sunday than I've been in a long time."

Team Chevy's Dave Connolly also improved his time during the morning qualifying session and will start Sunday from the no. 4 spot. Connolly's Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt posted a 6.622-second run at 207.02 mph.

"We missed the setup last night, came out this morning and were pretty fast in that session," said Connolly. "Our Chevy Cobalt has been awesome all weekend, so far. We keep working on it though because it looks like Greg and Jason are getting back on their game. We'll have to step it up again if we want to keep pace. I've never won two in a row, so that would be something. I thought I might do it in Bristol but I got shut down because of driving. I have to stay up on the wheel and get it done tomorrow."

Connolly's Cagnazzi Racing teammate Jeg Coughlin has the Chevrolet qualified in the No. 5 position with a 6.634 e.t. at 207.21 mph.

"We've improved with each run, and quite frankly our goal this afternoon was to get ready for Sunday," said Coughlin. "We've been pretty strong in Q4 the last couple of weeks and just working with what we have, we're going to be in good shape.

"We hope to put another Cagnazzi Chevrolet in the final round tomorrow. We've sealed in a couple of spots in the top eight for the Countdown and I think our whole operation is starting to look good for the championship run, but by the time we get to Indy we're going to have some work to do. We'll need a couple of hot rods that are consistently fast, and plenty of artillery to back us up to run that four-race stretch and get us in the final four."

Pontiac's Jim Yates rounds out the top half of the field in the No. 8 position after the WileyX Eyewear GTO driver ran a 6.644 second lap at 206.67 mph.

"We're excited about racing on Sunday," said Yates. "We ran well yesterday during the night run but we need to work on our hot track combination if we're going to be competitive tomorrow. The good thing is last night's numbers put us in the top half of the field. It's all about winning rounds and getting into that Countdown. We'll try to slip the clutch a little more, make the chassis a little more aggressive, which is what you have to do when the track gets hotter. Bill's (Jenkins) working on the tune-up, finagling - he'll find something."

Tommy Johnson Jr. has the quickest Chevy Impala SS in the 16-car Funny Car field. Johnson's Skoal Racing Chevrolet will start raceday from the No. 3 spot after running 4.762 seconds at 320.97 mph during the quick Friday night session

In the final round of time trials today, Johnson had one of the quickest elapsed times of the session at 4.927 seconds.

"We're racing with a totally new engine combination that we're still fine tuning," said Johnson. "We're still trying to figure out what it likes. Right away our Skoal Racing Chevrolet is very competitive and really running good. A couple of more runs of data and I feel we'll have one of the more competitive cars out here.

"That last session, in the heat of the day, and still not make it all the way, I shut it off early or it would have been spectacular. It would have been low e.t. of the round by far. We need to do that again tomorrow for four runs."

Del Worsham is qualified in the No. 5 position in the Checker Schuck's Kragen Chevy Impala with a 4.774 second run at 322.04 mph also posted on Friday night. During today's final session, though, Worsham registered the quickest Funny Car pass of the final qualifying session at 4.909 seconds.

"If you look back starting at Englishtown, it was hot out, and we ran a 4.85," said Worsham. "At Norwalk, same conditions, blew the body off and we still ran a 4.87. Both of those were low e.t. of the session in the heat. We came here, in similar conditions and ran a 4.90. The combination is coming together, we're beginning to put a lot of runs together, the Chevy Impala body is working great, and we're looking forward to tomorrow. Hopefully we can turn it into good things.

"I actually thought I ran a 4.88 and it was a 4.90, but it was pretty close. We barely missed the first run today, my dad (crew chief, Chuck Worsham) made the proper adjustments and there it is. I'm so stoked. I'm so excited to just go out and race, hopefully put together four good runs and get this Checker Schuck's Kragen Chevrolet back in the finals."

-credit: gm

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About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Jeg Coughlin , Del Worsham , Greg Anderson , Jason Line , Dave Connolly , Tommy Johnson Jr.