NORWALK, Ohio – Greg Anderson is happy to have the Pro Stock points lead in what has been an ultra-competitive year on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
To have it without recording a win through the first 11 events speaks to Anderson’s consistency, but having no Wallys thus far also isn’t something that pleases the four-time world champion.
Anderson can change that in a fitting way at his sponsor’s race and his sponsor’s track during this weekend’s 12th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
Norwalk marks the halfway point of the 2018 NHRA season, which is long enough in Anderson’s eyes to not have a win. To earn a fourth at the track in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro would be an ideal way to break that string and keep his strong season going.
“The bright spot is we’re leading the points, so the season can’t be too bad, but it’s disappointing we haven’t won,” said Anderson, who has 90 career wins. “I felt like we’ve underachieved. There’s a lot of great cars and there may be 12-13 different winners this season, but we want to make sure we win one. If we win this weekend, it turns the season into a success instantly. It’s the biggest race of the year because of Summit, and the fact it’s their 50th anniversary makes it even bigger.”
Anderson has two final round appearances, including last weekend in Bristol, three semifinal showings and only one first-round loss this year, but that trip to the winner’s circle is missing, which remains a puzzling matter for Anderson and longtime teammate Jason Line, who is also seeking his first victory of 2018.
The class veteran has been outstanding during qualifying, posting seven No. 1 qualifiers in 11 races, but hasn’t been able to take that final step during eliminations. He knows he has a car capable of winning multiple times, but Anderson also realizes his team must start finishing the job when the opportunity arises.
“We just haven’t made the perfect calls on Sunday,” said Anderson, who last won at Norwalk in 2015. “We have to do a better job of managing the race track. We’ve been great this year in qualifying, but just a little off the mark on Sunday. That’s what we’ve got to fix. Qualifying has been great and I can’t complain about our power, but we have to change things on Sunday. Our theory here for success has been to win races. That’s how we judge ourselves.”
With eight winners through the first 11 races, the Pro Stock competition – including two-time victors Jeg Coughlin, Tanner Gray and Vincent Nobile – has been impressive in 2018.
However, grabbing a victory at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park would mean a lot for Anderson.
He annually meets with Summit Racing employees at their headquarters in Tallmadge, Ohio, during the week of this race, and that always gives the veteran a boost. In turn, Anderson hopes to repay them with a victory that would be the sixth overall at the race between Anderson and Line.
“There’s a lot on the line with this race, but we’re good with that,” Anderson said. “I like that extra pressure and often that’s when we’re able to up our game. I don’t know why, but it’s happened many, many times.
“For some reason, I remember past years coming into Norwalk into a little bit of a lull, and somehow, some way this race falls our way. It’s fixed a lot of seasons for us and it needs to do that again this year. I think it can.”