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Q&A with Pro Stock Champion Greg Anderson
Posted by David Lamm | January 04, 2006
Posted by David Lamm | January 04, 2006
Greg Anderson, three-time NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champion, knows what it takes to win. The Minnesota-born and -raised, North Carolina transplant captured his third consecutive title in 2005, joining drag racing legends Bob Glidden and Lee Shepherd on a short and exclusive list of drivers who have won three Pro Stock championships in a row. In the following question and answer session, Anderson talks about what it takes to win and his outlook for the 2006 season, which begins February 9 with the NHRA CARQUEST Auto Parts Winternationals in Pomona, Calif.
Question: What does it take to be a winner on the NHRA Pro Stock circuit?
Greg Anderson: It takes a great support team behind you. It takes a complete team effort. It doesn’t take the best motor. It doesn’t take the best car. It doesn’t take the best driver. It takes the best of everything. It takes a team that works better than anybody else – one that makes the best calls.
We haven’t won the last two or three years because we had a better engine and that’s all we had, or we had a better car than anybody had, or we had a better driver. We won because we had all of it working together. We had a crew that was just about flawless in making the car happy on each track we went to. That’s what winning is all about.
Question: Is that what you have to do to win a championship?
Greg Anderson: Absolutely. You have to do it week in and week out. You used to be able to have 10 good races and the rest be mediocre and you could still come out on top. It’s not like that anymore.
Anybody can do it if they can put the right pieces together, the right people together and work in harmony. Of course, it’s a must that you have good quality engines and good quality cars. You have to have it all. As I said before: It takes the best of everything. It takes a team that works better than anybody else, one that makes the best calls.
Five years ago, all you worried about was having a good motor and then you could run well in Pro Stock. Well, it passed by that. It takes a real good driver now and it takes a real, real super tuned car, but more importunately, you must be able to adapt to each race track.
That’s been one of the secrets of our success. We’ve been able to master most all the tracks. We’ve won at every track except Chicago (Joliet) and, of course, Richmond, which we’ll run for the first time in 2006.
Question: Can you put all those things together and repeat in 2006?
Greg Anderson: We can. Will we? That’s a different story. That’s up to us to decide. If we can continue on the path we’re on with the team working together in harmony then we give ourselves the opportunity to repeat. We must continue to gain horsepower, make our cars better and both Jason and I become better drivers, to repeat. If we slip in any of those areas, than we won’t win. It’s that simple.
Repeating is our plan. That’s what we’re out here to do. We know it’s going to take a better effort than last year or the year before because the competition is going to be better.
Question: Where is the competition coming from this year?
Greg Anderson: Our main competition will come from Johnson and Johnson – WJ and KJ – Erica Enders, who now has a year of competition under her belt and who came on strong at year’s end, Dave Connolly and there will be three or four more that you don’t know which ones of the group that it will be yet, but every year three or four, that are capable of winning, step up. Your positives are Warren, Kurt, Erica and Dave – and my teammate Jason Line.
Question: You’ve won three consecutive championships; do you have anything more to prove?
Greg Anderson: First off, it is up to us to defend and do it in such a manner that we have the opportunity to win again. We almost feel we have something to prove this year. Last year we started the season slowly. We got ourselves in a rut. Got behind the eight ball and really had to scramble and work through some adversity to get our act back together. We don’t want that to happen again. We want to start the season strong. We don’t want to have to come from behind again. We want to change things this year. Our goal is to return to our performance of 2003 and 2004. I guess in that respect you can say we have something to prove.
Question: It seems that when you changed cars to the new Pontiac GTO at mid season, you really took off. How is the car situation for 2006?
Greg Anderson: Right now we only have a half season on the car I drove last year. I started with the new car at Denver. We haven’t tested it at all over the off-season. We’re trying to keep the cycle down on that car. We’ve only tested the new cars we have for 2006. Jason didn’t bring out his new car until Indy, so he’s only got a third of a season on his. The bottom line is that we’re in pretty good shape with those two cars and three brand new cars that we’re sorting through right now. One or more of those could prove to be the better car. We’ll know more after we finish testing them. We’re in better shape for this coming season than we have ever been.
Question: What about engines?
Greg Anderson: We’re spending 90 percent of our time developing the DRCE 3 (Drag Race Competition Engine), the new version GM engine. Additionally, we’re still working on our DRCE 2 stuff, which it what we’ve used for the last 10 years. It’s a reliable piece, so we’re not giving up on that. Our plans call for us to have the DRCE 3 engine in the frame rails at Pomona. Warren and Kurt switched over to the new engine last year, so they’ve got a year’s jump on us.
Question: How does your teammate (Jason Line) help you achieve your goals and still maintain his own goals?
Greg Anderson:Jason is the most completely unselfish person in, not only drag racing but, the world. His goal is to help me achieve mine. His main goal is to try and make sure that my car has enough power for me to win the championship. That said, at the same time our entire game plan as a team is to supply him with the exact same power that I have. It is difficult to have all the right parts and pieces at the right time to make both cars equal but we have been successful in doing that.
Jason works around the clock. He’s fantastic with the dyno and he’s a great engine tuner. He doesn’t think about himself. He thinks about how my car is going to succeed and how the team as a whole is going to do.
He knows that we don’t have team orders when we run each other. Jason is allowed to whip my butt, just as well as I’m allowed to whip his. There’s no pressure put on him that way. He just feels that no matter who wins, he wins. As a team, we don’t care which of us win just as long as we win. You have to remember that Jason finished third in the 2005 POWERade point chase, so he had to do a lot of winning along the way. He’s just as capable of winning the championship as I am.
Jason is a blessing to this KB Racing program. He does a great job driving and he does a great job of tuning both cars.
Question: What can the fans expect from you and your team this year?
Greg Anderson: I just want people to know that everybody at KB Racing knows it’s going to be tough this year. That’s why we’re working extra hard this off season to be as ready as we can, so that we can withstand the challenge that we know is coming in 2006. We’re looking forward to the new season. Pro Stock was exciting last season and it should be even more exciting this year.