Mooresville, N.C., September 22, 2010 – The NHRA’s six-race Countdown to One championship playoff will reach its mid point this weekend with the running of the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries in Dallas, TX. With four races left to determine this year’s winners, all ten teams in the highly competitive Pro Stock category remain in contention. However, with the number of races remaining rapidly dwindling, competitors know they must make the most of every point-scoring opportunity in order to maintain their title hopes.
Sitting sixth coming into the weekend, Summit Racing Pontiac racer Jason Line saw first-hand how quickly someone’s fortune could change, as teammate Greg Anderson catapulted himself into second place with his win in Charlotte one week ago, garnering serious championship consideration. It is a blue print he looks to follow as he aims to join his running mate near the top of the Pro Stock leader board with a strong showing this weekend at the Texas Motorplex.
“We have everything we need to make a serious run at the championship,” said Line. “We have three fast Summit Racing Pontiacs for Greg, Ronnie and myself and a great team with all the resources to get the job done, as we saw with Greg last week in Charlotte. We also still have time to put ourselves in the thick of the battle.
“However, we can’t waste any more opportunities. We felt like we let one slip away last week in Charlotte. We had a great race car, but just made one miscalculation which really cost us. However, we’re not going to worry about things that are behind us. Our focus is on Dallas, where we need to gain ground on everyone ahead of us, and the best way to do that is win the race. Fortunately, this team is fully capable of doing just that.”
Located in Ennis, on the outskirts of the city of Dallas, the legendary Texas Motorplex is one of the most iconic racetracks in the sport of drag racing, the first to feature an all-concrete racing surface. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2010, the Motorplex remains among the top facilities on the Full Throttle tour, thanks to constant maintenance and upgrading. Although Line will be joining in the pre-race festivities, taking part in the Birthday Bowling Party on Thursday in Arlington, his primary focus remains on achieving results on the race track.
“As long as you stay in the groove, the racing surface at the Texas Motorplex is just like any other on tour,” said Line. “It all comes down to taking the information you have and making the right calls. Fortunately, we have two great crew chiefs in Rob Downing and Tommy Utt, and Ronnie (Humphrey) will be there with the Genuine Hotrod Hardware car, giving us a third car from which we can get data. All three of us ran really well in Charlotte, so there’s no reason why we can’t do even better in Dallas.
“Of course, before the race I’ll get to show off my incredible bowling skills as part of the 25th anniversary celebration. After that, it will be all business for the Summit Racing team. After all, we have a race to win.”
Notes for Jason Line & the Summit Racing Pontiac crew
At the Texas Motorplex:
Jason Line Appearance in Arlington: Jason will be making an appearance at the Texas Motorplex Birthday Bowling Party, which will be held from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 23rd at Splitsville, 401 Curtis Mathes Way, Arlington.
Jason’s Motorplex Line: In his six prior starts at the Texas Motorplex, Jason has one final round appearance in 2005, and two finishes of the semifinals or better.
Looking to Master the Motorplex: Jason comes into the weekend looking to score his first national event win at the Texas Motorplex. Should he do so, it will be the 14th different track at which he will have won in his career.
Line’s Motorplex Qualifying Stats: Jason has started in the top half of the field in five of his six prior Texas Motorplex starts, including four second-place qualifying performances in 2005 & 2006 and 2008 & 2009.
Mooresville, N.C., September 22, 2010 – The NHRA’s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to action this weekend with the O’Reilly Super Start Batteries Nationals in Dallas, TX. Although it has been only a few days since the conclusion of the most recent race, Greg Anderson and his Summit Racing team cannot wait for qualifying to get underway at the Texas Motorplex, which is understandable given their impressive showing in Charlotte. After all, with Anderson and his teammate Jason Line combining to sweep the weekend, confidence is high on the KB crew, an attitude which the three-time champion hopes will fuel another strong showing in the Lone Star state.
“I believe we have shown in the past that confidence does wonders for both myself and this entire Summit Racing team,” said Anderson. “It’s not easy to keep your head up and think clearly when you’re not racing the way you think you should. However, when your hard work is rewarded with some success as we experienced this past weekend in Charlotte, it goes a long way. You generate some momentum, get a positive attitude with everyone having a smile on their face, and the smart decisions just seem to come naturally. Last week’s win in Charlotte was a shot in the arm that we definitely needed.
“We’ve got a great opportunity in front of us. We’ve got three great hot rods right now, we’re back in the thick of the Countdown, with the championship coming down to who executes the best over the next four races. Everybody has great equipment, so whoever does the best job will take home the title. I think we’re peaking at just the right time, but need to maintain that positive momentum this weekend in Dallas.”
On paper, this weekend’s race would seem to be tailor-made for the Anderson-led team, with the Texas Motorplex featuring an all-concrete racing surface and temperatures forecasted to be unseasonably high, identical conditions in which they prospered in North Carolina last weekend. Quickly pointing out that the similarities are only superficial, with the Ennis quarter-mile requiring its own tune-up, Anderson also notes his team’s record of success in Texas, with three previous Motorplex wins, including at this event one year ago.
“Even though it might seem similar to what we raced on in Charlotte, the track at the Texas Motorplex has its own performance characteristics, requiring a totally different set-up,” said Anderson. “It will certainly be a challenge to tame it, as it should be in a championship playoff. Fortunately, both Jason and I have experienced some success in Ennis, including my winning the race there one year ago, so our Summit Racing team has a very positive vibe going into the weekend.
“I like racing at the Texas Motorplex. It’s a great facility that was absolutely state-of-the-art when it was built, and even though a couple tracks may have surpassed it in terms of amenities, twenty five years later, its racing surface is still among the best on the circuit. It’s a challenge we look forward to taking on every year.”
However, before he even takes to the track, the three-time Motorplex winner will take part in some of the festivities celebrating the venerable track’s silver anniversary, joining other NHRA stars at the Birthday Bowling Party in Arlington on Thursday evening.
“It’s hard to believe the Motorplex is 25 years old, but it is, so we’re going to help them celebrate with a bowling party and an autograph session on Thursday night,” said Anderson. “It will give us a chance to let off some steam, spend some time with the fans while embarrassing ourselves on the bowling lanes. It promises to be a fun event, kicking off what we hope will be a great weekend of racing.”
Notes for Greg Anderson & the Summit Racing Pontiac crew
At the Texas Motorplex:
Greg Anderson Appearance in Arlington: Greg will be making an appearance at the Texas Motorplex Birthday Bowling Party, which will be held from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 23rd at Splitsville, 401 Curtis Mathes Way, Arlington.
Anderson stands tall in Texas: In his 13 previous starts at the Texas Motorplex, Greg has three wins in four final round appearances and five finishes of the semifinals or better. Greg is one of only four Pro Stock drivers with 3 or more wins in Ennis (the others are Bob Glidden and Warren and Kurt Johnson).
One year ago – Defending Champion: At last year’s Dallas race, Greg qualified fifth and defeated Warren Johnson, Allen Johnson, Mike Edwards and Johnny Gray en route to his third win at the Motorplex and 60th of his Pro Stock career.
Greg’s Motorplex Qualifying Stats: In 13 prior career Texas Motorplex starts, Greg has 10 top half starting performances, highlighted by four No. 1 qualifying performances, most recently in 2007. Overall, he has an average starting position of 5.85 in Ennis. Since 2003, he has qualified no lower than 5th.
Looking to double up: Having won the last race in Charlotte, Greg is looking to follow a win with another for the 25th time in his career. The last time he won consecutive races was earlier this year, when he won the Norwalk and Seattle events.
Troubled by a trio of seven-second qualifying runs last weekend, Matt Smith made one or two new tuning touches to his Al-Anabi Racing Pro Stock V-Twin and got a welcomed performance boost.
He will be relying on that – and looking for more – during the O’Reilly Auto Parts Quick Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, Friday through Sunday, at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis. This is the third of six Countdown to 1 championship events.
Smith, the 2007 world champion, is among five drivers currently contending for third through seventh places. He is sixth with 2167 points, just 17 out of third place.
“We tried something on our last qualifying run last Saturday at Charlotte and it worked,” said Smith, who was runner-up at the Motorplex in 2008. “We made some progress and we hope to be running better this weekend.”
He moved from near the bottom of the qualifying ladder to the middle of the starting line-up with his 6.980-second quarter-mile time advanced to the quarterfinals, where he registered his quickest run of the weekend, 6.948 seconds.
“We’d liked to get off to a good start Friday,” added Smith. “We went to the semifinals at Dallas last year and we’d like to go one more round Sunday.”
While 10 other Pro Stock Motorcycle drivers – including Matt Smith, her husband – are deciding the outcome of NHRA’s Countdown to 1 top 10, Angie Smith is taking advantage of the last six races to get a head start on her 2011 tune-up.
Her results in Sunday’s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Charlotte showed Smith’s performance has taken a giant stride forward. She wants to keep that momentum rolling as she prepares for the Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis – the third Countdown to 1 event.
She was thrilled with Sunday’s semifinal finish that included a second-round win over third-place driver Eddie Krawiec.
“We are excited. We are looking forward to racing at Ennis,” said the driver of Karl and Kim Clement’s Coffman Tank Trucks V-Twin. “The Motorplex is my sponsor’s and owner’s home track. I want to qualify better and go rounds there, too.” She was a semifinalist there last year.
“My bike ran really well in Charlotte and I think we are picking up the momentum again. We had Steve Nichols helping us and we learned a lot about some of the new parts we are using.”
Her best time of the weekend was 6.961 seconds and it came in the unseasonably hot conditions, which is what is expected at Ennis.
Auburn Hills, Mich. — Allen Johnson’s championship hopes took a hit at the NHRA stop last weekend at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., with Johnson falling from second to fifth in the Countdown to the Championship Pro Stock playoffs. The Mopar® Dodge Avenger pilot is focused on making up the ground he lost in his title quest at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Super Start Batteries NHRA Fall Nationals, scheduled to take place Sept. 23–26 near Dallas, Texas.
“I’m fired up to go into Dallas and begin to climb back into the title hunt,” said Johnson, a native of Greeneville, Tenn. “There are still four races left in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, and that’s more than enough time to close the gap between us and Mike (Edwards, the current Pro Stock points leader).”
Johnson cites two reasons he feels optimistic about his chances in the Pro Stock championship fight: the skill of his J&J Racing team and the power of the Mopar HEMI® engine under the hood of his Mopar Dodge.
“The way the J&J Racing team has been preparing the Mopar Dodge Avenger all year, we’ve qualified at or near the top of the field in almost every event,” said Johnson, who has captured a career-high four No. 1 Qualifier Awards already this season. “Dad (Roy Johnson, Allen’s father and engine builder) continues to make tons of horsepower with our Mopar HEMI engines. You can’t count us out.
“I’m only about 30 more points out than what I was heading into last weekend. The way the whole deal worked, with Mike getting knocked out early, I’m still in the hunt. All I need is one good race, and I can be right back in it.”
Johnson to take part in Greg Morris Memorial Golf Tournament
Allen Johnson will join a number of participants from the NHRA community scheduled to take part in the Greg Morris Memorial Golf Tournament on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at the Old Brickyard Golf Course in Ferris, Texas. The tournament was founded to help support Heather Morris, daughter of Greg Morris, a track worker at Texas Motorplex who passed away following a battle with brain cancer. Greg was diagnosed six months before Heather lost her mother in a tragic car accident.
“The Greg Morris Tournament is one of my favorite charitable events,” said Johnson, who has taken part in the tournament for several years. “The racing community comes together to help a little girl whose parents both passed away. It’s a great tournament and a lot of good people get involved.”
For more information on the Greg Morris Memorial Golf Tournament, visit http://texasmotorplex.com.