Greg Anderson's Pontiac Runs To The No. 1 Qualifying Spot At O'Reilly Summer Nationals Sets Pro Stock ET Record While KJ's Cobalt Establishes New MPH Mark TOPEKA, Kan., May, 28, 2005 - Continuing to build on a pair of concurrent victories at...
Greg Anderson's Pontiac Runs To The No. 1 Qualifying Spot At O'Reilly Summer Nationals
Sets Pro Stock ET Record While KJ's Cobalt Establishes New MPH Mark
TOPEKA, Kan., May, 28, 2005 - Continuing to build on a pair of concurrent victories at Atlanta and Columbus (Ohio), Pontiac Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson claimed the No. 1 qualifying position for tomorrow's NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park with a track-record elapsed time of 6.716 seconds at 204.82 mph. Anderson was the provisional pole sitter coming into today's final two rounds of time trials and was able to improve on last night's run of 6.725 seconds. The Summit Racing Pontiac was the quickest car in Pro Stock in each of the final three rounds of qualifying.
"We did a lot of work to get back to this point and you wonder how you can get off base the way we did," said Anderson. "This is what proves what kind of team we are - breaking out of the slump and righting the ship like we have in the past few weeks. It feels great. I never lost confidence in this team but it wears on you. We've been working around the clock on this Summit Racing Pontiac but no one ever gave up. Everybody's at the shop at 11 o'clock at night, every night, and we're all working toward the same goal. It absolutely showed today what kind of performance we're capable of.
"Today the track was better than it was yesterday. Last night it was a little too cold and we had some trouble, but if we'd had the track last night we had today, you really would have seen some fast times. Maybe tomorrow we'll get the cooler weather with the great race track and then you'll see better times yet. At the same time, you have to capitalize on whatever you have out there and today we were able to do that. I'm very proud of this team."
It is the 35th career raceday pole for the two-time NHRA POWERade champion and the second time that the Summit Racing Pontiac driver has earned low qualifying honors at the O'Reilly Summer Nationals. Anderson has won the last two national events at Heartland Park and is looking to become the first driver in 2005 to win three races in a row.
"Today's run corrected to a sea-level elapsed time of 6.58 seconds, which is the quickest time we've ever corrected to," explained Anderson. "That shows that we're definitely back on track and gives us confidence for tomorrow. Now we're starting to get that feeling back because this is the best this Pontiac's performed all year. We're learning everyday with this car. We've been doing some things differently with it, and we're doing things that we think will make it even faster in the future."
Parked behind Greg Anderson in positions two and three are a pair of the new, sleek Chevy Cobalts. Dave Connolly will start tomorrow's race qualified in the No. 2 spot with a run of 6.735 seconds at 204.85 mph, and Kurt Johnson's ACDelco Chevy Cobalt is in the No. 3 slot with a time of 6.740 seconds at a track-record top speed of 205.10 mph.
"It just shows what a great team we have, to be able to run the way we did under the circumstances we had to deal with at the beginning of the week," said Connolly. "I want to give a big thanks to the Carrier Boys for stepping up and giving us the opportunity to race this Chevy Cobalt, and we'll see if we can put them in the winner's circle tomorrow. I feel like we have a good handle on this racetrack. We learned a lot today running on the hot track, and who knows what will happen tomorrow with the cloud cover that's supposed to be coming in. We seem to be making a lot of headway with this car and this Chevy Cobalt is becoming more and more a racer friendly car. I have all the faith in the world in this team, Grumpy (Bill Jenkins) has our motors running in good shape, and so far, everything's gone pretty smooth."
"We're pretty pleased with these four qualifying sessions," said Kurt Johnson. "We made four runs down the race track using four different combinations on three different surfaces, and we were able to stay consistent and at the top of the pack. We were a little lame this afternoon at the 330, but the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt is running fast on the back half. We'll just keep tweaking it. Anytime you can make big changes, and it still goes down the racetrack, you're learning something.
"We went back the other way on the ACDelco Cobalt compared to where we before we made the change at Columbus on Q4, and it wasn't as good, so we're going back to our sweet spot. We're also pretty pleased with the 205 mph on our first run. We just need more."
Anderson teammate Jason Line has his Pontiac qualified in the No. 4 position after posting an e.t. of 6.743 seconds at 203.43 mph.
"We've been second in the last two sessions and I feel those are the conditions that we'll be racing in on Sunday," said Line. "Therefore it's a pretty good time to be hitting it right. This Pontiac seems to be getting better, we drug it out of retirement so we expected to need a couple of runs to get it right. I'm really excited about our chances tomorrow, I just wish Greg and I were on opposite sides of the ladder. This car's going to be good though. That final run was the best it's ever felt and provided us with some nice data to build from. I'm very optimistic. Hopefully we can meet Greg in the semifinals and one of us can advance from there."
Jim Yates had another strong showing this weekend in time trials. He will enter the Sunday eliminator with the BW Trailer Hitches/Wiley X Eyewear Pontiac qualified sixth with a run of 6.753 seconds at 203.00 mph.
"It's great to have this Pontiac back in the top half of the field," said Yates. "We struggled a little at the last couple of races of this three-race swing. We did some testing, fine-tuned our combination and have been able to get a little more out of it. We're excited going into tomorrow. We've run in four different types of weather conditions so far this weekend, from the tremendous air last night to the hot, slippery surface today. Tomorrow will be somewhere in between those two extremes so we'll need to put together a combination that will get us down the track.
"My confidence is very high right now. We're running about as good as we have in five or six races, changed some parts that made the car even better and we're excited about that. It's going to be hot tomorrow and hopefully we can get down the track like we did this morning when the car showed a lot of potential."
Mike Edwards rounds out the top half of the field in a Pontiac and is qualified in the No. 8 spot. Warren Johnson is qualified 10th in the GM Performance Parts Pontiac, Greg Stanfield is qualified 11th in a Chevrolet, Ron Krisher busts into the field on the final run and will start 12th in a Chevy Cobalt and Rickie Smith is 13th in a Chevrolet.
"If the sun's out tomorrow the track's going to be tricky," said Edwards. "We're in the middle of the pack, trying to get better. We were off a little bit but we'll see what Sunday holds. We tried a few things tonight on the motor that it didn't like so we'll go back to what we know. I think we're just a tick off maybe from where we were at Columbus but we'll be okay."
"We were the fourth quickest car out there, and three of us ran 6.77 so that last run got us to where we should have been three runs prior to that," said Warren Johnson. "But it certainly gives us something to build on for tomorrow. It's just a matter of seeing if we can finesse it a little bit - it's not far off. It's the first time we've had to change four things to solve one problem, but it obviously helped. Now we'll have to sort through those changes, find which one had the major effect and see if we can take some of the other changes, modify them a little bit and pick up the program even more."
The final bump elapsed time was 6.785 seconds and the 16-car field was separated by .069 of a second. All 16 cars qualified with an elapsed time under the previous track record of 6.808 seconds, and 15 of the 16 qualified cars had a top speed above the previous track record of 202.94 mph.
In Funny Car, Tim Wilkerson's Chevy Monte Carlo will start Sunday's race in the No. 3 spot after a lap of 4.783 seconds at 324.59 mph. Tommy Johnson Jr. is qualified fourth in a Chevrolet running 4.796 seconds at 323.58 mph, Del Worsham is eighth, Tony Pedregon is ninth and Jeff Arend is 10th.