Anderson Wins Third Race in Brainerd, Fourth of 2011, And Assumes Points Lead
Photo courtesy of Motorsport.com
August, 21, 2011, Brainerd, Minn. - Greg Anderson and the Summit Racing team continued their impressive late summer run, winning the Pro Stock title at Sunday’s NHRA Nationals in Brainerd, Minnesota. Starting from the second position, the four-time champion defeated Shane Gray, Allen Johnson and Vincent Nobile in the early rounds before squaring off against Erica Enders.
The two cars left the line as if tied together, and powered down the track almost as one. In the end, the fabled KB Racing horsepower proved to be the distance, with Anderson’s 6.599-second, 209.26 mph pass edging his opponent’s 6.614-second, 208.10 effort by just over one hundredth of a second. It was Anderson’s fourth win of the season, tying him with his teammate for the most in Pro Stock this season, third at BIR, and 69th of his career, tying Kenny Bernstein for fourth on the all-time NHRA’s winners’ list.
“It’s getting so hard to win in this class that I get nervous going into any final, regardless of who I am racing,” said Anderson. “To be able to win four rounds in one day is quite an accomplishment, and we had a great race and a great race in the final. When it’s against Erica it’s almost a no-win situation for her opponent, because everyone one wants her to win.
“She’s doing a great job, and she is going to win. It seems like every race we’ve been to lately, we’ve been the guys to knock her out and break the story line. Well, that’s my job, and we want to win as much as she does, so I certainly wasn’t about to hand it to her.
“She’s a good story and a good driver, and she’s good for our class, but we also want to win every race. We owe that to all our supporters, from Summit Racing Equipment and Ken Black, to Red Line Oil, Cometic Gaskets, Mac Tools, PAC Valve Springs, Wilson Manifolds and Diamond Pistons. Their support makes this all possible, and we want to make them proud. Luckily, this weekend we all did our jobs, with the team giving Jason and I tremendous hot rods that continue to get better, and we were able to leave here with the trophy. It was just a great weekend overall.”
After the team’s strong performance in qualifying, they came into race day with high expectations, hoping to score Anderson’s fourth win of the season, and the team’s fourth in the last five races. In the first round, he was the beneficiary of a Shane Gray red light, before posting his lowest elapsed time of the weekend at 6.580-seconds to eliminate Allen Johnson in the second round.
The final obstacle between Anderson and the 102nd final round appearance of his career was promising rookie Vincent Nobile, with the four-time champion gaining a narrow victory by outpacing his opponent’s 6.640-second, 207.85 mph effort with the quickest and fastest run of the round at 6.600-seconds, 208.68 mph, setting the stage for Anderson to gain his third victory at his home track, and first at BIR since 2009.
“We have a lot to be proud of this weekend,” said Anderson. We had two great hot rods capable of winning the race, and this team is just doing a fantastic job, giving me the best car I have had in quite some time. It keeps getting better every race, which gives me a ton of confidence.
“I know I’m going to have a strong Summit Racing Pontiac for the Countdown, which will give me a great chance of defending my title, and it’s up to me to see what I can do with it. I’m truly excited about the rest of the year.”
For Anderson, the victory was a fitting conclusion to a productive week in Minnesota, as he visited with friends and family, as well as taking time to help a special charity, the Minnesota/North Dakota chapter of the ALS foundation.
This whole week has been fantastic for me. It started on Wednesday when we attended a fantastic ALS fundraiser in Duluth that was also a car show, with over 300 cars, including our Summit Racing Pontiacs. It was a wonderful night, allowing us to see family and friends and raise a lot of money for ALS, which we continue to do. Then on Thursday night my son Cody and I went to the Twins game with friends and family, which was a lot of fun. Of course, on Friday, we got down to the business of racing, with the cars being strong right off the trailer.
“We ended up 1-2 after qualifying, giving us both a tremendous amount of confidence. Everything just turned out great for us from the fantastic turnout to the weather. The only dark spot was Jason going out too early. He had had the best car all weekend, and I thought it was his race to win.
“Having said that, it was also special to win with the entire Hagen family in the stands cheering for us, and the old Arrow that I used to work on. I remember working on that car and to see it here in near perfect condition was really cool and brought back a lot of memories. My father got me started in this deal, before handing me off to his good friend John Hagen, and he raised me like a second son. I owe it all to them. They were the instrumental people in my life both on and off the track. Any good qualities I have come directly from them.
“Winning Brainerd is so important to both of us, and to have a weekend like this one makes me feel like I am so very blessed. It’s just too cool.”
Anderson also wanted to give credit to the members of his KB Racing team who have given both he and his teammate Jason Line such outstanding race cars.
“We have such good Summit Racing Pontiacs at the moment, and it just shows you the job my guys are doing,” said Anderson. “If there was anything I am most proud of in my career, it’s helping to form this race team.
“We have a great group of guys, and we can only win races like we do because of their hard work. They’re the best out here, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. They work so well together, and give us such a good chance at winning races and the championship, which is all we can ask for. It just has me ready to get the Countdown started.”