CONCORD, N.C. – Greg Anderson is no stranger to performing well in pressure situations.
The four-time Pro Stock world champion knows he needs something great at this weekend’s NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at state-of-the-art zMAX Dragway to stay in contention for another NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world title.
Anderson will be the first to admit the start to his Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship has not gone as planned in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro, as the veteran has just one round win through the first two playoff races. It’s dropped him to seventh in points, 107 behind teammate and points leader Jason Line, but good news for Anderson is he usually rises up when the pressure is on, and he’s always felt good racing in Charlotte, the home track for KB Racing.
“This race is probably the cutoff point for me and we’ve got to make it happen this weekend,” Anderson said. “We definitely got off to a bad start to open the Countdown and we got ourselves in a hole. We’ve got to make some hay and there’s a lot of pressure this weekend, but it seems like we sometimes need that extra drive or motivation to push us. Hopefully that wakes me up this weekend because we certainly can’t wait any longer.”
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event. It is the third of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, and the 15th of 18 races during the Pro Stock season. It’s also the first time the Pro Stock class will race in Charlotte this year, as their new 18-race schedule didn’t include the four-wide race in the spring.
That means even more motivation for Anderson, who has three career wins at the Bellagio of dragstrips. His teammate, Line, won the fall race at the track last year, which only adds to the confidence level of the KB Racing team heading into Charlotte. Anderson, who has 93 career wins in the class, hopes that drives him to be at this best during a critical race weekend.
“This is the home track for us, we know this place well and we’re itching to get out there,” Anderson said. “We probably have the most laps of anybody at this track. Bottom line, we have no excuses going into the weekend. We should be able to do well, we just have to execute. My car has been finicky and I haven’t done a great job driving, either. We’ve been an easy out the first two races of the Countdown and we cannot be that this coming weekend.”
Anderson could turn things around in a hurry, much like he did earlier this year when he posted back-to-back wins in Denver and Sonoma. He’s hoping for another hot streak at an important time, but he’ll have to go through the likes of Line, St. Louis winner Erica Enders, who is just 11 points out of first, KB Racing teammate Bo Butner, who is 22 points out of first, Matt Hartford, Indy winner Alex Laughlin and Jeg Coughlin Jr. The difference between winning and losing continues to be razor-thin in the class, and that’s just the way Anderson likes it, especially in his current situation.
“I said this when we started the Countdown that of all the cars in it, you couldn’t really pick one favorite,” Anderson said. “The field is just so deep and any one of us could string together wins. Anybody can knock out anybody and that’s what you need in my case. In that regard, it’s the perfect scenario and hopefully we can get hot. The stakes are high right now and you just can’t make mistakes. That’s the way it should be and it’s pretty doggone cool to be part of.”