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Anderson Clinches Pro Stock

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 13 2010

Greg Anderson celebrates the 2010 Pro Stock championship at Pomona on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Greg Anderson said earlier this week that were he to win this year’s NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock championship, it would feel better than the other three he has won.

That because of the fact that he has gone four years since his last championship and he was beginning to wonder if he would win another.

Anderson must be feeling great right now.

Anderson, who won three titles in a row from 2003 through 2005, clinched his fourth championship on Saturday at the season-ending event at the historic strip in Pomona, Calif.

“It can’t get any better than this,” Anderson said to the Auto Club Raceway fans as he received his championship trophy trackside Saturday. “You fans are great. We couldn’t do this without you… we wouldn’t want to do this without you. This was a total team effort – a great accomplishment by this team the last three months. We came back from the dead. I’m so honored to be back here as the Full Throttle Series champion.”

The other three NHRA Full Throttle Series category championships, most notably the Funny Car duel between John Force and Matt Hagan, will be decided on Sunday. The 61-year-old Force will go into Sunday’s final race of the 23-race NHRA Full Throttle Series season needing to win two more rounds than 27-year-old Matt Hagan.

During the year, Anderson endured team owner Ken Black’s severe health issues, a home fire and a middling regular season. He entered the six-race Countdown playoffs in fourth place and fell to fifth place (94 points back) after the first playoff race, but he proceeded to win three of the next four races in his Summit Racing Pontiac to become the first driver to clinch a title.

“This has been the most trying and certainly the most rewarding season since I’ve been in drag racing,” Anderson said. “You couldn’t have bet me anything in the world two months ago that this would have happened … so you never give up, you never give up.”

This ends a streak of four straight second-place finishes in the final point standings that came on the heels of three consecutive championships from 2003-05.

The most intriguing of the remaining championship races is Funny Car where Force and the Castrol GTX High-Mileage Ford Mustang team have to go two rounds more than Hagan and the DieHard Dodge Charger team to win the championship.

“We’re going to go home, get some sleep and rock and roll in the morning,” Force said. “I know the drill, but this old kid Hagan is a pretty sharp cookie. You ain’t going to get in his head. He’s a cowboy; he’s the real deal.”

Hagan said, “This DieHard dodge has to be solid. We need to match him round-for-round.”

Force’s championship fate may rest in his daughter’s hands. If they win out, Hagan would meet Ashley Force Hood in the semifinals. Another intriguing potential matchup would be Force vs. Jack Beckman, Hagan’s teammate, in the quarterfinals.

“He’s taken me out a lot the last few races so I owe him one,” said Force Hood, who qualified No. 1 for the second straight race. Force Hood lost to Hagan at the semifinals at the just-completed NHRA Las Vegas Nationals.

The other No. 1 qualifiers at the 23rd and final race of the season were Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Schumacher kept alive his flickering Top Fuel championship hopes with a dramatic 3.794-second run at a track record speed of 322.88 in the U.S. Army dragster. His time is within the 1 percent window to certify a potential national record run. As it stands, Schumacher would have to win the race, set the national record and have Larry Dixon lose  in the first round. Dixon, who has an 82-point lead, is 20-2 in first-round races this season.

“We knew we were going to go after it. There was no reason to go for three points, we were going for the record, or at least the backup,” said Schumacher, who has a 13-thousandths window – 3.757 to a 3.770 – to set the national record.

Schumacher won two of his six straight Top Fuel championships on the final pass of the season; the only way he could win tomorrow would be on the final pass of the season.

“They know we’ve done some miraculous things. I guarantee you if they go out in the first round, they will be in the stands watching every one of our runs,” Schumacher said. “That’s what makes this so fun.”

In Pro Stock qualifying, Allen Johnson collected his eighth No. 1 of the year and fourth straight in his Team Mopar J&J Dodge Avenger with a 6.561 at 211.43 in the final qualifying session.

“We’ve had a great engine program all year and the car’s been a little bit finicky, but we got back in the left lane and made a near-perfect run,” Johnson said.

Pro Stock Motorcycle rider Eddie Krawiec earned the No. 1 qualifier with a track record 6.847 at 197.36 and that means the Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team will have two shots to win the championship.

Points leader and Harley-Davidson teammate Andrew Hines (fifth) would get the first shot to eliminate second-place LE Tonglet in the quarterfinals and, should he falter, Krawiec would have a shot at eliminating Tonglet in the semifinals.

“The way I look at it, and the way the team looks at, is we have two legitimate shots at the championship,” Krawiec said.

First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the 46th annual Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, the final of 23 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel — 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.794 seconds, 322.88 mph vs. 16. Dom Lagana, 3.939, 308.85; 2. Larry Dixon, 3.813, 318.39 vs. 15. Mike Strasburg, 3.932, 309.20; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.822, 320.28 vs. 14. David Grubnic, 3.928, 298.60; 4. Morgan Lucas, 3.829, 317.49 vs. 13. Bob Vandergriff, 3.927, 308.43; 5. Cory McClenathan, 3.848, 318.32 vs. 12. T.J. Zizzo, 3.918, 310.77; 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.849, 316.01 vs. 11. Ron August, 3.915, 313.44; 7. Brandon Bernstein, 3.851, 314.83 vs. 10. Terry McMillen, 3.897, 306.05; 8. Antron Brown, 3.858, 317.49 vs. 9. Steve Torrence, 3.860, 312.06. Did Not Qualify: 17. Troy Buff, 3.953, 301.40; 18. Chris Karamesines, 3.987, 303.23; 19. Scott Palmer, 3.991, 292.52; 20. Tim Cullinan, 4.012, 295.46; 21. Mark Mariani, 4.057, 286.01; 22. Steven Chrisman, 4.246, 226.70; 23. Stig Neergaard, 4.253, 224.62; 24. Joran Persaker, 9.329, 225.67; 25. Lex Joon, broke; 26. Steve Faria, broke.

Funny Car — 1. Ashley Force Hood, Ford Mustang, 4.076, 309.98 vs. 16. Jim Head, Toyota Solara, 4.352, 219.08; 2. John Force, Mustang, 4.077, 310.34 vs. 15. Gary Densham, Dodge Charger, 4.243, 293.66; 3. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.080, 312.35 vs. 14. Melanie Troxel, Charger, 4.239, 290.07; 4. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.094, 301.67 vs. 13. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.190, 290.38; 5. Cruz Pedregon, Solara, 4.100, 307.37 vs. 12. Tony Pedregon, Chevy Impala SS, 4.179, 296.57; 6. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 4.114, 307.93 vs. 11. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.176, 290.32; 7. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.119, 307.30 vs. 10. Bob Bode, Impala SS, 4.153, 293.66; 8. Paul Lee, Impala SS, 4.143, 304.67 vs. 9. Jeff Arend, Solara, 4.153, 294.88. Did Not Qualify: 17. Grant Downing, 4.385, 277.37; 18. Tim Wilkerson, 4.574, 191.29; 19. Justin Schriefer, 6.581, 101.25; 20. James Day, 8.087, 86.47; 21. Terry Haddock, 8.331, 88.25.

Pro Stock — 1. Allen Johnson, Dodge Avenger, 6.551, 211.43 vs. 16. Bob Yonke, Pontiac GXP, 6.608, 209.75; 2. V. Gaines, Avenger, 6.551, 210.87 vs. 15. Warren Johnson, GXP, 6.602, 210.14; 3. Jason Line, GXP, 6.553, 211.16 vs. 14. Kurt Johnson, GXP, 6.596, 209.95; 4. Greg Anderson, GXP, 6.554, 211.39 vs. 13. Jeg Coughlin, Chevy Cobalt, 6.579, 210.54; 5. Rodger Brogdon, GXP, 6.561, 210.60 vs. 12. Mike Edwards, GXP, 6.574, 210.67; 6. Shane Gray, GXP, 6.563, 209.88 vs. 11. Dave Connolly, Cobalt, 6.573, 210.87; 7. Vinnie Deceglie, Avenger, 6.564, 210.67 vs. 10. Ronnie Humphrey, GXP, 6.570, 211.26; 8. Greg Stanfield, GXP, 6.567, 210.05 vs. 9. Ron Krisher, GXP, 6.569, 211.43. Did Not Qualify: 17. Johnny Gray, 6.616, 209.36; 18. Larry Morgan, 6.628, 208.78; 19. Erica Enders, 6.651, 208.49; 20. Jerry Haas, 6.675, 207.18; 21. Gordie Rivera, 6.844, 203.58.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.847, 197.36 vs. 16. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 7.055, 189.84; 2. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.851, 195.19 vs. 15. David Hope, Buell, 7.041, 185.15; 3. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.861, 196.10 vs. 14. Bailey Whitaker, Buell, 7.009, 190.78; 4. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.863, 195.19 vs. 13. Matt Guidera, Buell, 7.002, 188.73; 5. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.874, 193.52 vs. 12. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.979, 191.40; 6. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.894, 195.76 vs. 11. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.971, 190.43; 7. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.896, 192.66 vs. 10. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.968, 190.38; 8. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.948, 193.71 vs. 9. Craig Treble, Suzuki, 6.958, 192.47. Did Not Qualify: 17. Joe DeSantis, 7.080, 189.52; 18. Katie Sullivan, 7.089, 188.02; 19. Rhett Lougheed, 7.095, 188.12; 20. Mike Berry, 7.114, 186.77; 21. Scotty Pollacheck, 7.129, 186.28; 22. Chris MacLaurin, 7.166, 186.18; 23. Redell Harris, 7.194, 188.81; 24. Aaron Pine, 8.001, 173.18.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Saturday, November 13 2010
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