Greg Anderson Puts Pontiac in Winner's Circle in Dominating Fashion at Heartland Park Topeka Bob Newberry Collects Career Win No. 50 in All-Chevy Monte Carlo Alcohol Funny Car Final TOPEKA, Kan., June 3, 2007 - Points leader Greg Anderson knew...
Greg Anderson Puts Pontiac in Winner's Circle in Dominating Fashion at Heartland Park Topeka
Bob Newberry Collects Career Win No. 50 in All-Chevy Monte Carlo Alcohol Funny Car Final
TOPEKA, Kan., June 3, 2007 - Points leader Greg Anderson knew his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO was running strong when he set the Heartland Park Topeka track record for elapsed time and speed in qualifying for today's eliminations at the 19th annual O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals, and his Pro Stock peers must have sensed it too. That might explain how three of Anderson's four opponents had foul starts against him today as he marched to his fifth win in five final-round appearances through this season's first eight races. He defeated Max Naylor in Round 1, and then Tom Hammonds had a foul start in Round 2, Jeg Coughlin had a -.002 reaction time to red light against him in the semis, and St. Louis event winner Dave Connolly was denied two wins in a row with his foul start (-.008 reaction time) in the final round. It probably didn't matter as Anderson had a winning elapsed time of 6.704 seconds at 206.86 mph.
"We had two cars that we had to run in the semifinals and finals that are putting a lot of heat on us (in the points)," Anderson said. "They've been running great. Everybody in this class can beat you at any given time, but it's extra pressure when you run up against the Jegs car and Connolly's car. I can't remember the last time the two of them have red-lighted against me. That's the result of my Summit Pontiac running like it did this weekend. It was an absolute monster. I'm a lucky man. I had a great race car and I didn't screw it up."
Amazingly, Anderson broke his less-than-day-old track records twice in eliminations with a 6.687 e.t. at 206.76 mph against Hammonds and then an even better run of 6.682 seconds at 207.24 mph against Coughlin in the semifinals.
"That was a good day at the office," Anderson said on the winner's podium following the race. "I'm so proud of (crew chief) Rob Downing, my crew, and everybody who has worked on this race car and built these engines. We showed them this weekend what we do during the week. We worked hard the last three weeks and spent a lot of time on the test track. When you get a break you have to get at it or those guys and gals are going to get around you.
"As I've said before, it all comes back to the KB Racing crew and the team that (team owner) Ken Black has assembled. We've got a great operation both in the shop in Mooresville (North Carolina) and on the race circuit. We're all happy campers, let me tell you. That car was an absolute rocket ship. I'm living life and having a great time doing it."
Connolly qualified his Torco Racing Fuels Chevy Cobalt right behind Anderson in the No. 2 position and was looking for back-to-back wins after defeating his teammate Coughlin at the series' most recent event last month at St. Louis. Today Connolly defeated Greg Stanfield in Round 1, fellow Chevy driver Kurt Johnson in Round 2, and Anderson's teammate Jason Line on a holeshot in the semis to reach his second consecutive final round and the 22nd of his young career.
"I was happy getting to the final," Connolly said. "We didn't run as well as we liked to today, not like we did at our last race at St. Louis, but overall it was a good weekend. We've been here for three years and went to the finals all three. Unfortunately Greg has been the one to beat us both times.
"We had to go for it in the final. I got lucky to drive well enough to get there. It was one of those deals where he was outrunning us by four-hundredths (of a second) and he was leaving with a .020-second to .030-second (reaction time). I had to go for a .000 and just missed it a little bit. There's nothing to be ashamed of. The guys did a great job. We are looking ahead to next week (at Joliet, Ill.) to race in the King Demon Crown special race that pays $50 grand to win."
In the Sportsman classes, veteran Bob Newberry from Morriston, Fla., claimed his 50th career win in Top Alcohol Funny Car in an all-Chevy Monte Carlo final round. Newberry defeated fellow Chevy driver Steve Harker from Gainesville, Ga., with an elapsed time of 5.661 e.t. at 255.39 to a foul start by Harker for the milestone win. Joining Newberry in the Sportsman winner's circle was Todd Patterson from Augusta, Kan., who drove his '34 Camaro to the Comp Eliminator crown, and Jim Hughes from Phoenix who claimed the Super Gas title in a '02 Corvette.
The next stop on the 23-race NHRA POWERade circuit is the 10th annual Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., on June 7-10.