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Publish Date: 7/17/2005
Maximum speed
Anderson trades in car but keeps winning
By Pat Graham
The Daily Times-Call

Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson warms up
the tires Saturday on his new GTO during
the second qualifying round at the Mile-High
Nationals at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison.
Anderson is the top seed in the Pro Stock division
and will face Mike Edwards in the elimination round.

MORRISON — The car got dumped.

The marriage ended, and the Pontiac Grand Am doesn’t even know why. All the car did was whisk Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson down the track and into first place an NHRA-record 15 times last season. The car piloted him to the POWERade Pro Stock World Championship, and a Driver of the Year award.

And then it gets put in the garage in favor of a newer, sleeker GTO model. Some gratitude.

Anderson unveiled his new ride this weekend at the 26th annual Mopar Mile-High Nationals at Bandimere Speedway. The new car ran even better than the previous model. Anderson captured the top qualifying position in

the Pro Stock division as his track-record time of 7.106 seconds from Friday held up all through Saturday.

The best driver just picked up more power. Anderson, the leader in points coming into Bandimere, made a bold move and it paid off better than a slot machine at Harrah’s.

“Sure, it’s always a risky decision to change in the middle of the season, but we’ve always been unconventional,” Anderson said.

Anderson felt his old car was giving him all it could. To get better in the future, he had to switch.

“Tiger Woods was winning and yet he changed his swing to get even better,” Anderson said. “I’ve got to get better or get beat.”

Two blocks down from his automotive shop in Charlotte, N.C., Anderson has a semi-private one-eighth mile track. Before racing the car at Bandimere, he took it for a few spins in his proverbial backyard.

“It wasn’t like the car was a complete virgin,” Anderson said. “We thought the risk was minimal. It looks like the car will be okay.”

“But we brought along the other car, just in case we needed it.”

Topping last season’s success will be a lofty proposition for Anderson. It was one of the finest seasons ever turned in by an NHRA driver. He finished first or second in 19 of the 23 races last year. A panel of sportswriters named him the Driver of the Year. It’s only the second time an NHRA driver has received the honor (John Force was the first).

“I’m still in awe,” said Anderson, who’s vying for back-to-back wins at Bandimere. “I don’t know how we pulled it off.

“It wasn’t me; it was my team. I’m just one spoke in the wheel.”

Impressing dad: It’s hard to astonish former Top Fuel driver Kenny Bernstein. The man was voted sixth on NHRA’s 50 Greatest Drivers list.

But the father was proud of his son, Brandon, after he drove the car down the track at 330.88 mph late Friday night. Bernstein’s track record allowed him to earn his second No. 1 qualifying spot this season.

“My dad was awed by it,” said Brandon Bernstein, who qualified No. 1 last year at Bandimere only to lose in the semifinals. “He was wowed.”

Friendly track: The wind was gusting in Andrew Hines’ face just before he pulled his bike up to the starting line. The rain blew in and Hines backed off the line.

A few minutes later, Hines approached the line again. This time, he had a head wind. Hines took advantage of the favorable wind to clock a track-record 7.436 seconds. Hines qualified No.1 in the Pro Stock Motorcycle division.

The former local kid made good. Hines, who moved to Indianapolis in Feb. 2004, had plenty of friends and family travel in from Trinidad.

“I’m dedicating this to them,” Hines said.

New heights: Robert Hight’s track records in time (4.796 seconds) and speed (322.58 mph) set Friday night held up as he qualified No. 1 in Funny Car. It’s the fifth time the rookie qualified No. 1 this season.

“And I’m not tired of it yet, either,” Hight said.



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