ANDERSON KNOWS WHEN TO HOLD THEM, WHEN TO FOLD THEM
Greg Anderson has come up just one spot short of being champion in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock division for the last three years running.
Already sitting in fifth position and 143 points back of championship leader Tanner Gray with three rounds remaining, things aren’t looking good for Anderson’s title chances rolling into zMAX Dragway this weekend.
However, Anderson is giving it one more run before he shifts his focus to 2019.
“I’ve got to get it done this weekend, or I’m probably done for the year,” admits the driver of the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. “I’m looking for a big day, a big weekend. I need to make a comeback. As I said, I feel I can get it done, but if I don’t this weekend, yeah it’s probably curtains for me.”
Fortunately for Anderson, this weekend’s race in Charlotte, N.C. is a home race for him and his team, which he sees as a huge advantage.
“It helps a lot. We’ve obviously tested here a lot, we’ve spent a lot of time at this racetrack. It helps to be able to go home to your own bed at night, that’s a nice feeling. You’ve got the hometown crowd, you’ve got all your friends and family and all your co-workers here, so it’s an enjoyable weekend. That’s that intangible that all those other racers don’t get this weekend that I get. Hopefully, that’s going to help put me over the top.”
The hometown aspect could definitely give Anderson an advantage on Sunday. However, the 57-year-old isn’t afraid to point the finger at the changes in the NHRA’s track prep that his team has struggled with in 2018.
“I’m not complaining, it is what it is, and it’s the same conditions for everybody. My hat’s off to the people that have figured it out sooner than we have. Yes, there are some cars doing a better job with it than we are, but we’ve got to learn. We’ve got to figure it out because apparently it’s here to stay and it’s what they’re going to stay with for track prep.”
Anderson admits that his team might need to do some experimenting in test sessions ahead of 2019 before they’re fully up to speed with the new track prep conditions. If following race day at Charlotte Anderson’s championship chances are looking further out of reach, the last two rounds at Las Vegas and Pomona will become test sessions for his team.
“Hopefully that doesn’t happen. But yes, that’s the reality of it,” said Anderson. “We’ve got a few things sitting on a bench that we haven’t had the guts to bring out because we’re in the middle of a playoff battle.
“It’s a risk you take, but right now in the middle of the playoffs, we just don’t dare do it. It’s set aside for a test session, or like I say, if we get knocked out of the points, then every race becomes a test session.”
While more test sessions are always good to have, Anderson would much rather have a championship trophy.