LAS VEGAS – When it comes to betting favorites, it’s hard to do much better than Greg Anderson at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The four-time Pro Stock world champion has posted seven victories at the facility heading into this weekend’s 18th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals, adding a K&N Horsepower Challenge win last year at the facility as well.
Even with those good vibes in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro and three straight final round appearances to open the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, Anderson knows those good times don’t come easily. After falling in the final round at the most recent event in Gainesville, that rings even more true for the 87-time event winner.
“We have something special there in Vegas, no doubt about it,” Anderson said. “But we had something special in Gainesville, too, and we should have come away with the Wally. The bottom line is you have to execute perfectly, no matter where you are. We’re going to a happy racetrack for KB Racing, and everybody will be smiling because we love racing in Ken Black’s hometown but we’re still going to have to perform, and none of us forget that. The competition is tough right now and anybody can win. If you don’t perform flawlessly, you will not win.”
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event. It is the fourth of 24 races during the season, and the first of two annual stops in Las Vegas, where Anderson and longtime teammate Line have posted a combined nine victories.
Line took the victory last year, but the K&N Horsepower Challenge win was the fifth of Anderson’s standout career and meant a great deal to the Pro Stock veteran as well. The event, which takes place on Saturday, pits eight of the top Pro Stock drivers against each other to earn a $50,000 payday. Anderson will meet two-time winner Allen Johnson in the opening round, while other first-round matchups include Jason Line vs. Erica Enders, Bo Butner against Drew Skillman and Shane Gray matching up with Vincent Nobile.
“I love that K&N Horsepower Challenge race,” Anderson said. “It’s all about prestige and that fantastic trophy. I look forward to it all year long, and I missed it for two years and it killed me. Now that I’m back and qualified, I have a chance to win it again. I love it, and I can’t wait. It’s the biggest race of the year as far as I’m concerned.”
Anderson heads to Vegas with the points lead and a win at Phoenix, and is coming off a banner 2016 campaign that included eight wins and a second-place finish to Line. Despite his 2016 performance, Anderson is never one to stand pat and the focus remains on constant improvement, which is why he is anxious for this weekend and a chance to improve on the final-round loss to Shane Gray in Gainesville.
“We had some time between now and Gainesville to work and make our Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaros happier, and that’s good because Vegas is a big, big race,” Anderson said. “If you look at the landscape, it’s one of the biggest of the year because you have that chance to double-up and win twice in one weekend. There’s a lot on the line. We’ve had good karma there before, and we’re looking forward to getting there and parlaying that good karma into victory.”