Summit Racing Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson won his 75th national event Sunday in his new Chevrolet Camaro, defeating teammate Jason Line in the 23rd all-Summit Racing final round in the history of the team.
Other winners at the NHRA Gatornationals at Auto-Plus Raceway in Gainesville, FL, included Spencer Massey in Top Fuel, Ron Capps in Funny Car, and Karen Stoffer in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Anderson clocked a 6.538 at 213.43 to defeat Line in the finals. Anderson’s third Gatornationals win moves him to sixth in the points standings.
“This is the second time in our career we’ve bought a used car from another racer, completely refurbished it, put a shiny paint job on it, and it’s gone right to victory circle,” said Anderson, who beat Summit Racing teammate Jason Line in the final round with a 6.538-second pass at 213.43 mph to his familiar foe’s 6.554, 212.96. “It’s kind of ironic because I grew up in the used car business. My father was a used car dealer, I worked a used car lot until I was 25 years old and moved to the south and went professional drag racing. It’s kind of fitting, I guess. I’ve just always had a phobia against buying a new car. You get it right off the showroom floor, and you lose money. I kind of stuck with that philosophy, and it’s worked out well for us.”
Anderson, whose most recent win before the Gainesville victory was at the 2012 Summernationals in Englishtown, had much to celebrate this weekend at Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville, including his 54th birthday on Saturday.
“It was a special day today, and a special weekend for me,” the four-time Pro Stock champ said. “It was pretty darn cool because a year ago, I couldn’t even come to this race. I was recovering from heart surgery and couldn’t even attend the race, let alone drive a racecar. It’s been quite a year for me. I’m a very lucky man to even be here, but I have all new parts, I’m doing great, and now I know for sure that there is no reason I can’t win. It took a while, but we finally got that job done today.”
Line continued an impressive start to the 2015 season with his runner-up finish. He won the season-opening event at Pomona and this final round result was his 40th career runner-up finish. Line, a two-time world champ, sits second in points.
In Top Fuel, Massey piloted his Red Fuel dragster to a holeshot victory, winning with a performance of 3.882 seconds at 320.74 miles per hour to defending world champ Tony Schumacher’s quicker but losing 3.873 at 313.29 in the U.S. Army dragster. It was Massey’s first win at Gainesville and 18th of his career. The victory moves Massey into a tie with Shirley Muldowney and Darrell Gwynn for 12th on the all-time wins list in Top Fuel.
“Tony has been running really strong,” said Massey, who moved to third in points with the win. “I know that he can step his game up and be deadly when he needs to on the starting line. We’ve got four new members on the team and three of four haven’t won a race. Now they’ve won the Gators.”
It was Schumacher’s second consecutive final round appearance of 2015, as he earned a victory at Phoenix in late February. With the runner-up finish he moved to third in points.
In Funny Car, Capps drove his Dodge Charger R/T to a performance of 4.115 at 311.05 to take the victory over first-time finalist John Hale. The win was Capps’ first of the season, third at this event and 44th of his career (43rd in Funny Car). The win tied him for second all-time on the Funny Car wins list. Following the victory, Capps moves to second in points behind Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan.
“When you’ve got a race car like today, you almost wait for something to go wrong,” said Capps, who last won in Brainerd last season. “I’ve driven for almost 18 years and I feel like I find myself driving the car as if I am driving something that’s just so far behind the other cars. I think that really helped me this weekend.”
Rookie driver Hale was appearing in his first career Funny Car final in only his sixth career start. Driving his Dodge Charger for Jim Dunn Racing, Hale defeated 16-time world champ John Force, Alexis DeJoria and Blake Alexander to reach the finals. It was JDR’s first final round appearance since Seattle 2008.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Stoffer defeated three-time world champ Eddie Krawiec in the final with a 6.900 at 195.11 on her Suzuki to claim her second victory at this event. Appearing in her first race since Indianapolis in 2013, Stoffer defeated Steve Johnson, Angie Smith, and Shawn Gann en route to the final. The win was Stoffer’s first since Denver in 2011 and her seventh overall.
“We had a lot of heart and a lot of passion,” Stoffer said. “We don’t have a big budget but we certainly have a big heart. We certainly tried to get some high performance out of it and we were able to do it. The boys worked hard, worked till about midnight each night and gave us a good bike on Sunday.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series heads to Charlotte, NC for the sixth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, March 27-29, at zMAX Dragway.
Sunday’s race was the third of 24 in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
Pro Stock Championship Point Standings
1. Roger Brogdon 284 2. Jason Line 277 3. Drew Skillman 229 4. Chris McGaha 220 5. Erica Enders-Stevens 217
Funny Car Championship Point Standings
1. Matt Hagan 267 2. Ron Capps 241 3. Del Worsham 213 4. Robert Hight 177 5. John Hale 173
Top Fuel Championship Point Standings
1. Shawn Langdon 281 2. Tony Schumacher 268 3. Spencer Massey 250 4. Antron Brown 241 5. Doug Kalitta 184