Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson continued his impressive start to the 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing season, scoring a runner-up finish at Monday’s rain-delayed Tire Kingdom NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, FL. Starting third, Anderson eliminated noted leaver Greg Stanfield and Rickie Jones in the early rounds Sunday before persistent showers forced NHRA officials to postpone the race.
When the action resumed with the semifinals Monday, Anderson picked up where he left off, using the quickest and fastest pass of eliminations (6.520-seconds/212.16 miles per hour) to defeat newcomer Chris McGaha and advance to the 106th final round of his career, where he would face rival Mike Edwards.
For the third time in four rounds at Gainesville Raceway, Anderson would post the quickest time in the final, tripping the finish line timers in 6.538 seconds with a top speed of 211.69 miles per hour. Unfortunately, it was not enough to overcome Edwards’ starting line advantage, gained through a nearly perfect .003 reaction, allowing him to hold off a hard-charging Anderson with a 6.566-second, 211.30-mile per hour pass. Naturally disappointed at missing his third Gatornationals victory, he accepted full responsibility while also acknowledging the positives of another strong showing.
“Going to three straight finals, we can’t be too upset, but this Summit Racing team is here to win every race we enter, and if we don’t, we’re not happy,”Anderson said. “We had a great chance to do that today, but unfortunately I dropped the ball. We should have won that race, but I lost it, which is hard to take as a driver.
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Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at Auto-Plus Raceway.
Hight won a tire-smoking pedal-fest over Johnny Gray to take the Funny Car title. Both cars lost traction early in the race and were on and off the throttle all the way down the dragstrip. Hight managed to guide his Auto Club Ford Mustang across the finish line first in 4.866 seconds at 236.05 miles per hour, while Gray trailed in his Service Central Dodge Charger at 6.074 seconds at 116.09 miles- per-hour.
Lucas powered his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster to the second-quickest run in NHRA history with a 3.743-second time at 326.87 miles per hour to hold off seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher, whose U.S. Army dragster lost traction early and finished in 5.289 seconds at 139.63 miles per hour. Schumacher hasn’t won a race in his past nine final round appearances, dating back to October 2010 inLas Vegas.
In Pro Stock, Edwards used a holeshot start in his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to defeat Anderson for his first win of the season and 33rd of his career. Edwards finished in 6.566 seconds at 211.30 miles per hour, but his quicker reaction time allowed him to hold off the quicker but losing performance of Anderson’s Summit Racing Equipment GXP.