For most of his career, Greg Anderson was not really a fan of Route 66 Raceway, site of this weekend’s Route 66 NHRA Nationals. His displeasure had nothing to do with the actual facility, which is considered one of the nicest on the Full Throttle Drag Racing circuit. Instead, it was the fact that it was the only track on tour where the four-time champion had yet to reach the winner’s circle which fueled his concern.
However, that all changed one year ago, when the Summit Racing Camaro driver powered from the #1 position and broke his Route 66 drought, defeating Erica Enders on a hole shot in the final. Returning to Joliet this weekend for the first time as the defending event champion, he looks forward to staying on good terms with the Illinois quarter-mile.
“For so many years I went to Route 66 Raceway thinking there had to be something in the water that just wouldn’t allow me to win,” Anderson said. “It’s a race track with a very good surface and typically good air, so the cars run fast, which normally plays into the Summit Racing team’s hand. I liked the track and the city and ran well there, but just couldn’t seem to win a race. It was almost as if we had a love/hate relationship.
“Fortunately, that all changed last year, and I was finally able to add it to the list of tracks where I had won, so I’m going back this weekend with a positive attitude, our heads held high as the defending champions. Now that we’ve finally broken through, there’s no reason we can’t keep digging and make it multiple wins.”
Ironically, Anderson’s biggest challenge this weekend will most likely come from matching his race car to the conditions and the track. This will be only the third race for the KB Racing team with its new Camaro, and although admitting they are still coming to terms with the exact boundaries of the new mount’s performance envelope, he believes the progress they have made in recent weeks will allow them to contend for another victory.
Line looks to return to Joliet winner’s circle
With three wins and five final round appearances in his previous 11 trips to Will County, Route 66 Raceway is also a favorite of defending Pro Stock champion Jason Line, who is ready to return to the Illinois quarter-mile winner’s circle.
“Route 66 Raceway has been awfully good to me,” Line said. “No matter how my year is going, I always seem to be able to go to Joliet and have a good day. It’s among the best non-Bruton Smith-owned facilities on tour, and I like going to the area to have some good pizza and then see some of my friends from the sportsman classes—it’s just a great race to go to.
“I can’t say I’m looking forward to the high temperatures they are forecasting for this weekend, but you’re going to have that at this time of year no matter where you go, and the conditions will be the same for everyone. It will be up to this Summit Racing team to make the best of it.”