Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown Will Feature NHRA's Finest Drivers
Auto Racing Daily, 2006-01-11
Auto Racing Daily, 2006-01-11
The kickoff for the 2006 NHRA POWERade season is rapidly approaching, and in just four short weeks the finest drivers in the Pro Stock category will converge on The Strip At Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown on Feb. 4. The Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown at LVMS will provide teams with the opportunity for some intense, last-chance testing before they make their way west to Pomona Raceway and the official start of the 23-race campaign.
"Pontiac is proud to be the title-rights sponsor for the Pro Stock Showdown on Feb. 4," said Fred Simmonds of General Motors. "Given its proximity to Pomona, holding the event this year at The Strip At Las Vegas Motor Speedway works out well for everybody and is very conducive to the drivers' schedules. The staff at LVMS will put on a first-rate show for the fans, and this test-and-tune event will provide the teams with a short jumping-off point as they head into the opening day of qualifying a few days later at Pomona Raceway."
A long list of Pro Stock drivers have been invited to compete at the Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown, and those already confirmed to attend the LVMS meet include six-time NHRA champion Warren Johnson, three-time defending POWERade champion and 2004 Driver of the Year Greg Anderson, two-time NHRA champion Jim Yates, Kurt Johnson, Erica Enders, Mark Pawuk, Mike Edwards, Ron Krisher and Dave Connolly.
"This year's Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown has the potential to be more productive for several reasons," said Warren Johnson. "Logistically, it makes more sense because we are a few hours away from Pomona Raceway, and having this event the week before the start of the season allows us to go directly to Pomona from Las Vegas and eliminate any potential dead time. I know many competitors like to use this race to see where they stand in relation to everybody else. However, at that point in time you're pretty much committed to what you're going to do at Pomona, so we're going to focus on what our GM Performance Parts Pontiac GTO can do on that particular racetrack, and make sure we have everything in order for the start of the season."
"The weather's been warm there for the last two years and when I heard they were going to run the Showdown at Las Vegas this year, that was great," said Greg Anderson. "Now we can get all of our testing in and get the driver sharp and sort of back into the race groove. For the last two or three years we've gone to Las Vegas for the final test session. It's Ken's (Black) home town and it's so close to Pomona that it just made sense to do that. This year's Showdown won't be your normal test session. It's an actual opportunity for a driver to go head-to-head with the competition for the first time since last November and we're looking forward to it."
"The Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown is a neat event, and with its winner-take-all format, there is only one place to be, and that's the winner's circle," said Kurt Johnson. "Besides, after being away from actual competition for a little while, it gives the drivers a chance to shake out any cobwebs before the start of the season. Things worked out well for the ACDelco Chevy Cobalt crew the last time we were in Las Vegas, so I'm looking forward to going back. We've tested there in previous years with good results, and we anticipate a similar experience this time around. The way I see it, we'll fly in to Las Vegas and fly out of Pomona and gather a couple trophies along the way."
"Running at Las Vegas will work out great for us," said Jim Yates. "The conditions we'll be testing in will be more realistic to what we'll be racing in at Pomona. The other places you run are good for your ego, but they're not an accurate indicator of what to expect at the Winternationals."
The gates at The Strip At Las Vegas Motor Speedway open at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 2, for Pro Stock and Sportsman testing. On Friday, Feb. 3, the track will be open to all Pro and Sportsman categories. On Saturday, Feb. 4, the gates will open at 6 a.m. The first of two rounds of Pro Stock qualifying will get underway at 9:30 a.m. and the 16-car eliminator will begin at 12:30 p.m. The winner of the Pontiac Pro Stock Showdown will earn $5,000 and the first 1000 spectators through the gates on Saturday will receive a free Pontiac Motorsports cap and a collectible souvenir. Sportsman and all Pro categories will be testing as well. On Sunday, Feb. 5, open testing for all categories will begin at 7 a.m.
"We're very excited to partner with Pontiac for this year's Pro Stock Showdown," said Chris Blair, Sr. Director, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. "Our pre-season events are always exciting but the addition of the Showdown has generated a tremendous buzz in the industry and will showcase the best drivers as they prepare for the 2006 season."