Events / Motorsports

Race Preview: Anderson Hopes to Carry Winning Momentum into Arizona

Throughout his career, Summit Racing standout Greg Anderson has been extremely prolific, winning 71 NHRA Pro Stock races in 104 final round appearances, with his successes including multiple victories at 17 of the 20 tracks on the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing circuit. 

However, among the remaining three facilities with but a solitary win to his credit is Firebird Raceway, in Chandler, AZ, site of this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals, something he hopes to correct this weekend.  Coming off his impressive win at the Winternationals in Pomona, CA five days ago, the four-time champion hopes to use this positive momentum to score his second win, not only of the season, but at the challenging speedplant.

“Over the years, Firebird Raceway has not been particularly friendly to the KB Racing team,” said Anderson.  “Even though we’ve been able to get a win and go to a couple finals there, we’ve never left there feeling we had really run well there.  Somehow, it’s just one of those tracks that doesn’t seem to match up well with how we run our race cars.

“We’re looking to change that this year, and I believe we have a great shot at doing it.  We have three fast Summit Racing Pontiacs, and are coming off a tremendous win one week ago in Pomona, which gives us a little momentum coming into the weekend. We’ll also be racing in conditions more favorable to our set-ups.  Of course, we’ll have another hungry field looking to stop us, so it won’t be easy, but maybe we can finally turn our Firebird fortunes around this weekend.”

One challenge facing all the teams heading to the Arizona desert is the racing surface at Firebird Raceway, which remains a bit of an unknown.  After a total resurfacing a year ago, it has since hosted only one national event, which came in the extreme heat of last October, where temperatures reached triple digits.  Although the forecast is calling for more enjoyable conditions this weekend, the cooler temperatures will require significant changes in the teams’ tune-ups, particularly in the normally-aspirated Pro Stock division who are naturally more susceptible to Mother Nature’s whims.  Therefore, the KB Racing team spent the few days between races gaining additional data on their race cars in hopes of gathering information that will come in handy this weekend.

“With so little information on this current Firebird Raceway surface, we needed to have a firm handle on the things we can control,” said Anderson.  “That is why right after getting back from the winner’s circle in Pomona on Sunday night we packed up and headed to Las Vegas to test before heading to Arizona.  After all, even though we won, we felt there was still some room for improvement with our race cars, and we’d like to have as much tuning information on these Summit Racing Pontiacs before we pull into Firebird on Thursday.

“Even though we raced there just four months ago, the conditions will be completely different, with the highs forecasted to be thirty degrees cooler, requiring a totally new set-up.  When you factor in any changes we may have made to our combination over the winter, and you can see what we’ll be up against.  Fortunately we have three very fast race cars and some great people working on them, so I’m feeling good heading to Arizona.”

Jason Line Looking to Exact a Little Payback in Arizona
During last year’s Countdown to the Championship playoffs, Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Jason Line made an incredible run, scoring three wins in four final round appearances along with three No. 1 qualifying performances and a new national elapsed time record en route to his second NHRA Full Throttle championship.  In fact, the only race of the six-race series where he did not advance to the semis or better was the unique fall event at Firebird Raceway.  Therefore, as the series returns to the Grand Canyon State for this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals, Line believes it is time to extract a little revenge on the venerable quarter-mile.

“We’re headed back to Firebird Raceway looking to reverse our performance from last year,” said Line.  “We actually qualified well, but quite honestly stunk up the show on Sunday.  We’re not about to let that happen again this year.  We’re coming out of Pomona with a lot of team momentum, and we had a productive test in Las Vegas during the week, so this entire Summit Racing team is ready to get to Arizona and take care of business.”

As Line states, the KB Racing crew has plenty of reason to be optimistic heading into this weekend’s race.  In a tremendous display of team performance at last week’s Winternationals in Pomona, CA, Line was the No. 1 qualifier and arguably one of the best cars on race day, with his march to a second consecutive season-opening win stopped only by his teammate Greg Anderson in an extremely close semifinal race, with Anderson going on to take home the trophy.   

“Our performance in Pomona showed us that we have three fast Summit Racing Pontiacs, any of which are capable of winning the race,” said Line.  “However, as we saw last week, this is a tough field, and any mistake, no matter how slight, can end your day.  Therefore, from Q1 on Friday, we have to make sure to deliver as close to an error-free performance as we can.”

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