Greg Anderson raced to his first Pro Stock victory of the season Sunday at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.Larry Dixon, Tim Wilkerson and Matt Smith also were winners in their respective categories at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
In winning the Pro Stock final, three-time world champ Anderson pocketed more than $125,000 for the weekend by sweeping today's eliminations and Saturday's K&N Horsepower Challenge all-star event, which includes a $25,000 double-up bonus from NHRA.
Anderson outran Allen Johnson in the final round for his 61st career victory. Anderson's Summit Racing Pontiac GXP posted a winning performance of 6.722sec at 204.54mph to hold off Johnson's Team Mopar Dodge Avenger, which slowed at midtrack and finished in 6.982 at 159.38.
“This is beyond a dream weekend,” said Anderson, who also swept both races in 2004. “I couldn't have even dreamed anything this big before we came here this week. I just hoped and prayed that we came here with a good performance and functioned properly throughout the weekend and just had a slight chance of sneaking a few round-wins and maybe a lucky victory away, and we ended up sweeping the weekend and taking every doggone nickel they had to give. It's been a long time since we've had a weekend like this. I guess I've got to go back three or four years when we had a car that could do these things.”
Anderson outran Johnny Gray, Jeg Coughlin and Jason Line to advance to his first final since the 50th Winternationals at Pomona in February. He was happy to take his first win of the season in front of his sponsor Summit Racing Equipment, who also sponsors the event and the track.
“We treat this race like our Super Bowl of the season because this is the biggest race,” Anderson said. “It's got the K&N Challenge. It's got Summit's name all over it. We've got all the great Summit employees out here with their families, so you just want to do something special for them. You just can't try too hard sometimes or you'll just screw up, but things went so smoothly and we kept our heads.”
Mike Edwards continues to lead the Pro Stock standings by a wide margin despite a rare first round exit.
Dixon claimed his seventh victory of the season in Top Fuel, beating Antron Brown in the final round. Dixon finished in 3.880 at 313.29 in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster while Brown trailed with a 3.907 at 307.65 in his Matco Tools dragster. It was Dixon's second consecutive win at this event and the 55th of his career.
“Seven for seven, I feel fortunate,” said Dixon, who defeated Troy Buff, Doug Foley and rival Tony Schumacher in the first three rounds and extended his series lead with the win. “There's been a lot of tight races (this year). Out of this four-race swing, to have three wins out of four that's huge. That's the only way you can stay ahead in the points. Nobody can catch you if you're winning rounds. We got four more races before the Countdown starts, and we'll go from there.”
In Funny Car, Wilkerson took his second win of the season and 15th of his career by getting revenge over John Force, who beat him last weekend in Bristol, Tenn. Wilkerson's Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Mustang posted a 4.191 at 300.40 to hold off Force, who finished in 4.272 at 290.88 in his Castrol GTX High-Mileage Mustang. Wilkerson beat Bob Tasca, Jeff Arend and Del Worsham to make the final and defeat Force.
“It was great to win over John because he's so good, and he's coming into his own again,” Wilkerson said. “After one bad year, he's making us all look like we don't know what we're doing again, so we're happy to have that win over John. Last weekend, we let him off the hook. We need to do our deal and keep going down the track run after run after run. There's still four races left [in the regular season], so we have to keep on our game.”
With the runner-up finish Force increased his series lead to 73 over teammate Robert Hight.
Smith raced to his second victory of the season and 12th overall in Pro Stock Motorcycle, beating defending world champion Hector Arana in the final. Smith clocked a 7.076 at 188.36 on his Al-Anabi Racing Buell, to hold off Arana's Lucas Oil Buell, which finished in 7.080 at 188.52.
“We came here to run with the best of the best, and we ran with them this weekend,” said Smith, who now sits in second place in the points order. “Our goal is to try and be in the top five come Indy, and that just helped our progress.”
Defending world champ Arana continues to lead the series standings, despite not winning a race this season in four final round appearances.
The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series continues July 9-11 with the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways near Seattle.