Anderson leads Team Summit with big speed in Winternationals qualifying
[caption id="attachment_6931" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Photos may be used with credit to Auto Imagery.[/caption]
POMONA, Calif. (February 10, 2018) – Qualifying is complete for the first race of the 2018 season of NHRA's Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, and Team Summit's Pro Stock duo is situated in a favorable position on opposite sides of the ladder. Eliminations at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals are slated to kick off on Sunday morning at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, and it will mark the first opportunity of the season for KB Racing to battle for the 144th Pro Stock trophy in the history of the team.
Greg Anderson, driver of the red Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro, comes into Sunday with top speed of the meet (211.30 mph) and as the only driver in the category to have exceeded 211 mph during qualifying for the season-opener. Starting from the No. 3 position with a best pass of 6.554-second at 211.00 mph that was low elapsed time of the final session, Anderson will race Val Smeland in the first round. He is aiming for the 91st Pro Stock win of his career and is currently the second-most winning driver in the category.
"[The 211 mph passes] are an indication that the power is there and the equipment is ready; we just have to match the racetrack," said four-time Pro Stock champion Anderson, who has 12 wins in 14 Pomona final rounds between the NHRA Finals and the Winternationals. "We got a lot closer on that last run, and it was a pretty quality run, to be honest. The bottom line is that we've underestimated the racetrack all weekend. The racetrack is better than we thought. We made a move forward in our last run, and it ran a lot better. We absolutely believe it can run even better yet. You just have to have faith in the racetrack. This racetrack is good, so we need to stop being scared, put our big boy pants on, and go out there and race.
"There is nothing like the Winternationals. This may be my favorite race. You're the most apprehensive getting here, but boy you cannot wait for Sunday to get it on for the first time. I'm excited. It's time. We're going to come here tomorrow ready to get that first trophy of the year."
Three-time Pro Stock champion Jason Line, driver of the blue Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro, has five wins in a total of 10 final rounds at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The 1993 Stock Eliminator champion tunes four cars in the KB Racing stable, with crew chief Rob Downing making the calls on the car tune-ups and overseeing the operation. Line's best pass in qualifying was a 6.557 at 208.26 that was second-best of the final session, and he will race Kenny Delco in round one.
"We have a little work to do, but we got better as qualifying progressed," said Line, referring to his earlier passes in the weekend that started with a stunted 12.769. As qualifying progressed, though, he made his way towards the top of the pack and gathered a total of three bonus points as one of the quickest cars in each of the last two rounds. "The KB Racing team as a whole got better each run, and we had a little bit of a slower start than we would have liked, but we're going the right way. We definitely want a Summit Racing Chevy Camaro in the winner's circle tomorrow. Sunday will be tough, but we're confident that we can get it done."
Ken Black's stable of racecars continues to include 2017 Pro Stock world champion Bo Butner, and the team is also providing an engine program for Deric Kramer this season.
Butner's best pass was a 6.569, 209.04 in the third qualifying round. As the No. 6 qualifier, the driver of the Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro will square off with young Tanner Gray in round one – the driver he had to beat to win the championship in the very last round of 2017 at the NHRA Finals in Pomona.
"It's actually funny to get to run with Tanner, and that is going to be cool for the first round," said Butner, who was the very first Pro Stock leasing customer to win a series title. "If you look at the ladder, it's possible that either Tanner or I will get Greg. There isn't really any good spot on the ladder, and it's going to be like that all year. It's going to be tough – but it's time for battle.
"Today was definitely a better day than yesterday, and we're confident that we're going in the right direction because each run was better. We were 1-2-3 for the session, and that's what we're used to."
Kramer qualified in the top half of the field for only the second time in his career, taking KB Racing power to a best time of 6.580, 209.75. He will race Chris McGaha in round one.
"I'm getting more comfortable in my American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro," said Colorado-native Kramer. "The car was built for me, and it just fits. That was the 11th run on the car for me [the final qualifying session], and with every pass I get a little more comfortable. I'm feeling really well right now. This is only our second time in the top half of the field, and I think this is probably the first time we've earned it. This is exciting. This is why we're out here. We came out here hoping for a shot to win, and now I think we have one."
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Final qualifying position: No. 3
First round: Greg Anderson vs. Val Smeland
Anderson's qualifying results:
Q1: 6.591-second at 209.56 mph (No. 2, +2 bonus points)
Q2: 6.608, 209.49 (No. 3)
Q3: 6.563, 211.30 (No. 5)
Q4: 6.554, 211.00 (No. 3, +3 bonus points)
KB Racing, Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro
Final qualifying position: No. 4
First round: Jason Line vs. Kenny Delco
Line's qualifying results:
Q1: 12.769-second at 68.47 mph (No. 11)
Q2: 6.603, 208.39 (No. 7)
Q3: 6.557, 208.26 (No. 3, +1 bonus point)
Q4: 6.571, 209.33 (No. 4, +2 bonus points)
Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro
Final qualifying position: No. 6
First round: Bo Butner vs. Tanner Gray
Butner's qualifying results:
Q1: 6.631-second at 208.71 mph (No. 8)
Q2: 7.790, 119.39 (No. 13)
Q3: 6.569, 209.04 (No. 6)
Q4: 6.572, 210.54 (No. 6, +1 bonus point)
American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro
Final qualifying position: No. 8
First round: Deric Kramer vs. Chris McGaha
Kramer's qualifying results:
Q1: 13.596-second at 63.89 mph (No. 13)
Q2: 6.628, 208.07 (No. 10)
Q3: 6.580, 209.75 (No. 8)
Q4: 6.616, 208.97 (No. 8)
Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals
Auto Club Raceway at Pomona
February 8-11, 2018
Run Schedule (all times PT)
Sunday – Pre-race ceremonies 10am, Eliminations 11am
Television Schedule (all times ET)
Sunday – NHRA Race Day 1-2pm on FS1
Sunday – Eliminations 5-8pm on FS1