It may be hard for one to believe, but Multi-Time NHRA Pro Stock and defending Full Throttle Champion Greg Anderson qualified number one during the O'Reilly Route 66 NHRA Nationals to end a dry spell that spanned back nearly two years. Although Anderson finds himself generally well in the top half of the field, the last time he was on the pole was back in July 2009 during the Sonoma event.
NHRA Pro Stock Champion Greg Anderson
Greg Anderson went on to win the O'Reilly Route 66 NHRA Nationals
During the first qualifying session on Friday, it was Erica Enders who sailed to the top of the pack with her 6.616 lap, nearly a full two hundredths of a second ahead of Anderson's 6.634 number three effort.
That all changed during Friday evening's run. Anderson was part of the next to last pair to make the lap, and able to watch what the track conditions would hold, tuned his Summit Racing Pontiac right to the top. Anderson jumped up a whopping five hundredths from the first session and posted a 6.586, with teammate Jason Line being the only other car able to manage a pass into the fifty's during the session.
"It's just a great feeling to have a hot rod underneath me again," said Anderson shortly after his jump to number one on Friday evening. "It's a confidence booster and I've needed that lately. This [Pro Stock] deal is a mind game. If you lose that confidence, it's awful hard to win or run fast."
"It kind of feels like old times," he added.
The weather on Saturday remained typical for mid-summer in the Chicago area, lots of humidity in the morning and hot afternoon temps don't exactly give the naturally aspirated power plants a whole lot to work with.
Anderson and his teammate Jason Line were able to post the two quickest laps of session three, both in the low sixties and it was starting to look like Anderson's prior day 6.586 pass was in no threat of being bumped off.
In the final session on Saturday, Anderson and K&N's Mike Edwards made the quickest laps of any other Pro Stock team, both putting 6.617's on the board, but it would be Greg Anderson qualifying number one for race day for the first time in two years.
"This makes me feel pretty good," Anderson confessed of the feat. "We have whole different attitude and race car than we've had lately. I really have a race car right now. The pressure falls right back on me not to screw it up. That's the way it used to be for us."
The recently crowned 2011 K&N Horsepower Challenge Champ earned some very precious points for the 2012 Challenge along with the cool $3,000 low qualifier bonus check from K&N Engineering. While the Challenge chase to make the top seven for 2012 is still in its infancy with just two events in the books, as with the rest of Pro Stock it's already a tight pack at the top with Erica Enders sitting at number one, a mere ten points behind is Jason Line at two and Greg Anderson a short pounce away at number three.
Greg Anderson went on to win the O'Reilly Route 66 NHRA Nationals and get his first victory at the facility in the history of his career.
The teams have a short one weekend break before the kickoff of the three races in a row "Western Swing" commences July 22-24 with the first stop at Bandimere Speedway in Morristown, Colorado, just outside of Denver. Lots of teams will have their brooms handy, looking to sweep them up and Pro Stock teams always keeping a special eye on the K&N Horsepower Challenge standings.
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