Although the record books will show that Summit Racing Camaro driver Greg Anderson has more wins at other tracks than he has at Brainerd International Raceway, site of this weekend’s Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, it is hard to argue with his record of success in the North Star State. After all, as a Duluth native, BIR is where the four-time champion cut his drag racing teeth, starting out as a spectator and crewman for his father, and evolving from a crew chief for fellow Minnesota legends John Hagan and Warren Johnson into a winning driver of his own, with three home state national event wins to his credit.
As he prepared to hopefully repeat his winning performance at this event from a year ago, Anderson credited his many successes to his years of experience on the venerable quarter-mile, which he believes gives him an added feel for the surface, and what it takes to master it.
“From standing on the starting line first a crew guy and then as a crew chief to then climbing behind the wheel as a driver, I have a lot of laps under my belt at Brainerd International Raceway, more, in fact than at any other one we race on,” said Anderson. “As a result, we know it well, and the more comfortable you are with a particular track, the better you seem to perform. The Summit Racing Camaro crew is going back there this year hoping to duplicate our winning performance from a year ago.
“I’ll admit that we’re happy to be off the West Coast and racing somewhat closer to home. We’ll be rolling into Brainerd looking for a big weekend and trying to gain some ground on (current points leader) Allen Johnson. He’s had his way the last few races, and it’s time for us to make him realize he has some competition. It’s up to us to get these Camaros up to speed and back in the game, which we hope will happen this weekend.”
Ironically, at the other end of the spectrum is the experience Anderson has with his race car. The Brainerd race will mark the KB Racing team’s eighth with the legendary Chevrolet muscle, and although they have already been able to score one win in three final round appearances, they are still very early in the learning process. As such, its true potential has yet to be reached, although every pass down the racetrack provides them with valuable information, getting them closer to having a solid handle on their ride’s performance envelope.
“This team could certainly use a win but even more than that, we need to find some extra performance in order to consistently contend for race wins every time we go out the door,” said Anderson. “That’s not normal for us. We know we need to get our cars ironed out, and with the Countdown rapidly approaching, it’s time to get in gear and start operating at full song. We’ve been racing tough and finding ways to go rounds, grinding our way around a race track, but we need to do something spectacular, setting low elapsed times and keeping lane choice, doing all the things we need to score points and win races. That’s what we’re looking to get back to.
“Getting a handle on a race car, especially in the middle of the season, is a lengthy process, but we learn a little more every week. After each race, we come back and we study our notes. Due to some scheduling conflicts we weren’t able to get Jason’s or my cars out on the track, but we did make some test runs with Ronnie’s (Humphreys) Genuine Hotrod Hardware Pontiac that we believe can help us. Between the homework and the testing we hope to have picked up something valuable that we’ll be able to bring to Brainerd to make these Summit Racing Camaros even faster. We’ll have a lot of family and friends on hand this weekend, and we certainly don’t want to disappoint them.”
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