St. Louis: GM Racing Saturday summary

St. Louis: GM Racing Saturday summary
May 6, 2007, 5:52 PM

Gateway Track Records Fall as Anderson Claims Fourth No. 1 Qualifier of Season Three-time Pro Stock Champ Qualifies for 100th Consecutive NHRA Event COLLINSVILLE, Ill., May 5, 2007 - Yesterday's inclement weather forced cancellation of two of ...

Gateway Track Records Fall as Anderson Claims Fourth No. 1 Qualifier of Season

Three-time Pro Stock Champ Qualifies for 100th Consecutive NHRA Event

COLLINSVILLE, Ill., May 5, 2007 - Yesterday's inclement weather forced cancellation of two of the four scheduled qualifying rounds for this weekend's 11th annual O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway, but today's two rounds were still enough for Greg Anderson to drive his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO to a track-record elapsed time of 6.676 seconds at a track-record speed of 207.69 mph for his second consecutive No. 1 qualifier and fourth of the season. It was also the 100th consecutive NHRA professional event for which the three-time NHRA POWERade champ has qualified, the longest active streak in the Pro Stock class. Anderson last had a DNQ at the October race at Las Vegas in 2002.

"One shot, two shots to get in the show, that's always nerve-racking," Anderson said. "You don't want to come into a race having that, but if it goes that way I that we've got a team that's as well prepared to do that and come out on top as anybody. We came out the first session this morning real conservative and made a really nice run and thought, 'You know what, this track is better than we think.' It's got a lot of rubber out there yet, but it didn't look real great so we came out real conservative, but it made a real smooth run. I thought we could run quicker than that this afternoon since we were in the show, but I was wrong on that. I guess we needed to be on the conservative side. At least we know now, we know what the track will take, so we'll go back and tweak it a little closer to what we had the first run and hopefully get back down into the deep 6.60s. But my hat's off to Rob (Downing) and his crew guys - they just keep putting one heck of a car beneath me.

"It should be interesting tomorrow. Anytime you qualify in this class you can definitely win. But it's nice to keep that string of qualifying going. I think somebody mentioned we're up to 100 races qualified in a row right now. It's not 392 (395) or whatever John Force had, but it's a pretty good mark as far as I'm concerned, and still counting. That's the good news and we'll look forward to tomorrow. Hopefully we'll have weather conditions similar to what we have here so we've got a tune-up from today to tomorrow, and we'll see if we can win another race."

Anderson's teammate Jason Line has his Pontiac qualified No. 2 for the first time this season with an elapsed time of 6.680 seconds at 207.05 mph, and he'll face fellow Pontiac driver Justin Humphreys in the first round of eliminations tomorrow. Other Pontiac qualifiers include Warren Johnson in his GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO in seventh, Jim Yates (8th), Mike Edwards (13th) and Justin Humphreys (15th).

"Our first run today was by far the best," Line said. "We will use that run to tune for tomorrow's eliminations. We should have gone a little faster in that second run but it is what it is. We made some swing-for-the-fence moves in that second session and they obviously didn't work out. We probably went a little overboard. We'll go back to basics and try again tomorrow. If we make good, consistently safe runs and let the clutch out on time we should win some rounds tomorrow."

"We made two runs, and either was good enough to qualify, which is all that counts," Johnson said. "Our GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO was pretty good today. It appears our decision to bring in additional personnel is achieving one part of our goal to bring some semblance of consistency to our program. With that aspect bearing some fruit, it's time to turn our attention on the other end of our program, which is making more steam. But for now, our attention is squarely focused on doing what is necessary to succeed in St. Louis."

Dave Connolly and Jeg Coughlin continue to run strong as teammates for Victor Cagnazzi Racing, qualifying their Chevy Cobalts third and fourth, respectively. Connolly had an elapsed time of 6.692 seconds at 205.91 mph in his Torco Racing Fuels/Slammers Ultimate Milk Chevy, and Coughlin drove his Slammers Ultimate Milk/ Chevy to a 6.703 e.t. at 206.61 mph. Other Chevy qualifiers include Kurt Johnson in the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt in fifth, Tom Hammonds (10th), and Kenny Koretsky (14th).

"It's scary when you're trying to qualify on a tricky racetrack and only have two chances to get the job done," Kurt Johnson said. I talked to several racers, including Mike Edwards and Allen Johnson, and none of us knew what to expect out there. All things considered, we're pretty happy with how our ACDelco Cobalt performed. On our first attempt, I knew it wasn't a particularly good run, so I was surprised and pleased when they told me I had run a .71, which was low at the time. I knew then that we had a decent hot rod, one we could work with throughout the rest of the weekend. Our second run was even more gratifying because we were able to run a 6.70 in the right-hand lane. We had made some changes, throwing some stuff at it to see if it would stick, and it did. We'll take that tune-up into tomorrow and go from there."

"It's so tough just to qualify," Hammonds said. "The feat in itself is just to qualify in this class. We've been getting better, and we're getting accustomed to each other. Jerry's (engine builder Oliver) getting more comfortable. It's just starting to come around. Hopefully once we get in our new shop we can continue to keep making strides and making progress, and continue to keep climbing up that ladder. We're happy with qualifying, but now we want to start getting lane choice and having an advantage going into first round."

In Funny Car, Tony Pedregon led the way for Team Chevy with an elapsed time of 4.855 seconds at 318.39 mph to take the No. 4 spot on the qualifying grid. Tommy Johnson Jr. in the Skoal Racing Chevy Impala SS also qualified in the top half of the field with a 4.869 e.t. at 316.45 mph to place sixth. Mike Ashley drove his Dodge to the No. 1 qualifier with an elapsed time of 4.799 seconds at a track-record speed of 331.77 mph.

-credit: gm racing

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