Greg Anderson and the Summit Racing team completed a very memorable Labor Day weekend on September 5, 2011, powering to the Pro Stock title at the 57th Mac Tools NHRA U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis, Indiana. After qualifying second, Anderson reset the Lucas Oil Raceway elapsed time (at 6.544 seconds) and top speed (211.03 mph) records in defeating Mark Martino, Rodger Brogdon and Mike Edwards in the early rounds before facing teammate and No. 1 qualifier Jason Line in the final round.
With Line holding lane choice based on his 1/1000th of a second advantage from the semifinals, Anderson knew he would need an almost flawless run in order to return his Summit Pontiac to the Indianapolis winner’s circle, and grabbed the advantage by almost three hundredths of a second at the start. Although Line responded by posting the quickest elapsed time of the weekend at 6.538-seconds to claim the track record, Anderson’s 6.552-second, 210.50 mph pass proved just enough to secure the victory.
It was the 70th win of Anderson’s career (giving him sole possession of 4th place on the all-time NHRA wins list), fifth of the season (most in Pro Stock) and sixth at drag racing’s premier event.
“I had told Jason last night that he shouldn’t have snuck in and taken that No. 1 spot from me,” joked Anderson. “But seriously, I couldn’t have asked for a better result for the U.S. Nationals. After all, we qualified our Summit Racing Pontiacs 1 & 2 and put them both in the final, where it just came down to the two of us having fun. He’s done such an incredible job all year, and I’m so proud of what he’s done. I truly feel bad for depriving him of his first U.S. Nationals win, but he’d been getting the better of me all year, and it was about time I came out on top.
“But what really mattered is that this is the U.S. Nationals. Today I wasn’t concerned about points or the Countdown – I just wanted to win this race. It’s that special to me. It’s the first real race that my father took me to as a little kid, and I was blown away by the size and grandeur of it all. Ever since that day, it’s been a special place to me, and today’s win feels as good as my first one back in 1999. I know it’s not as good as (Pro Stock legend Bob) Glidden’s nine, but It is pretty darn cool to realize that I’ve now won it six times.”
Anderson’s win capped an impressive performance in which the Summit crew had posted the low elapsed time in every qualifying session and elimination round throughout the weekend, despite constantly changing weather conditions. For example, elapsed times during Monday’s final eliminations were several hundredths quicker than the day before, with 10 of the 16 first-round competitors bettering the pole-winning time.
Undaunted, the KB Racing team continued to set the standard, as exemplified by Anderson’s records in the first two rounds, with Line lowering the elapsed time mark even further in the final.
“Everything went so smoothly this weekend, with things seeming to go right for us every step of the way” said Anderson. “We had major changes in the weather every single day, and this KB crew just stayed on their game. I’m very happy and pretty proud of every person on this Summit Racing team, from the guys back at the shop and boys in the engine room to the crew that is here with us at the track. Our showing here in Indy is a testament to all their hard work and dedication. It’s been some time since we’ve had a weekend as good as this one, and it feels great. The only thing that would have made it better is to have Ken (team owner Black) out here with us.”
Beyond the accomplishment of once again winning his sport’s biggest race, Anderson had the added benefit of securing the No. 1 position for the Countdown championship playoffs, which will begin in two weeks at zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, NC, a six-race shootout for which the defending Pro Stock champion feels he is ready.
“Our performance this weekend is the perfect way for us to head into the Countdown,” said Anderson. “The team is firing on all cylinders, and giving both Jason and I tremendous Summit Racing Pontiacs to drive. However, as good as this race was for us, we’ll have to quickly put it behind us, because we’ll be starting fresh in Charlotte in two weeks with the points reset, and I know we’ll be going in there with targets on our backs.
“After all, every race is a new challenge, and you have to earn it every time. As well as we ran here, you have to keep in mind that we were only about a hundredth better than our competitors, so we certainly have our work cut out for us over the next six weeks as we look to defend our championship. The good news is that we seem to be getting little bit better with each race. But that is what 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 expect from us and what we want to do. We’re not just here to show up – we’re here to win races and make them proud to be a part of this organization, and why we are just going to keep the hammer down heading into Charlotte. I can’t wait.”