The Summit drivers have added pressure to win at the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. Greg Anderson made his sponsor go home happy after he won in Pro Stock.
“It’s pretty cool because we come here with high hopes,” said Anderson of his third win at one of his sponsor’s marquee events on the circuit. “We want to do so well in front of all the folks from Summit here. You put a lot of pressure on yourself. I keep saying it, ‘Most people would come in and say we don’t want that pressure, we’re going to dread this weekend. It’s just going to be too much stress.’ We love it. Then, when we went through qualifying and didn’t do that well, we thought we were embarrassing ourselves, so we put our heads together overnight and we got it right today. When [teammate] Jason [Line] and I were the two quickest cars in round one, we forgot all about qualifying. We raced like we’re capable of and I’m proud to be part of this team.”
This is Anderson’s third win since the Toyota NHRA Summernationals a month ago and his fourth of the season. This was a close race, as the veteran won by 0.0067 seconds, which is about two feet.
The Summit driver had a slight advantage off of the startling line, before Skillman led when the cars went past the Christmas tree. Skillman had the lead through half track, before Anderson ran past him.
This is the first time that they’ve faced each other in the final round. However, Anderson is now a perfect 3-0 against the rookie.
“There is so much competition in this class,” Anderson said. “It is such a battle every weekend. It is so hard to win and it feels so good when you do win. I’m having a ball. It’s a dog fight every week. You feel fantastic at the end of the day if you can find a way to win, to conquer it. This is no less gratifying than it was with my very first win back in 2001.”
Stoffer went 6.984 at 193.10. The Louisiana native went 6.929 at 194.30 after being -0.014 red on the light.
“I certainly can’t imagine the way this season has gone,” said Stoffer, who defeated a trio of world champs – Matt Smith, Krawiec and LE Tonglet – to reach the final. “I’m still pinching myself, but we never planned how this season was going to go. I didn’t think I’d be here for a second. We just wanted to put our best foot forward, and to end up winning, that is icing on the cake.”
Sampey was frustrated with herself after going red. Now, they are 1-1 against each other in final rounds, even though Sampey holds a 12-5 overall advantage.
This is Stoffer’s second Wally on the season and her eight overall in 20 final rounds.
“Racing Angelle in a final for the first time since 2002 was interesting,” Stoffer said. “We both struggled here, so we had to race a couple of times in qualifying. It was great to race her in the final. I would have liked to have seen two green lights, but we all live and die by the Tree in this class. We managed to get our tire hooked up, and we went down the track, so I think we’d have been in good shape no matter what.”
“This race was awesome for what we had to overcome and the fact that we beat all of the Force cars,” said Beckman, who ousted the 16-time champ John Force in the opening round and then beat Robert Hight and Tim Wilkerson before defeating Courtney in the final. “It was a fabulous win.”
She was leading for the first 60 feet and then through the 330 foot barrier, but then lost traction. Once that happen, Beckman went by for the win.
Beckman is 2-0 against Force in the final rounds, as she was making her first final round appearance of the season.
Yet, they are 5-5 all-time against each other. The former cancer survivor picked up his 18th Wally of his career with his second this season in 22 final round appearances.
“We didn’t make a great run in the final,” Beckman said. “The interesting thing about a nitro Funny Car is that they are fast. At half-track, you think you’re in the fastest thing on the planet, but at that point, you can’t wait until the win light comes on. The finish line can’t come up fast enough.”
“This is our hometown track and it was great having a lot of family and close friends here, so it doesn’t get much better than that,” said Kalitta, whose team is based in Ypsilanti, Mich. “Even my mom actually showed up. I think she’s only shown up one other time in my entire career. She watches it on TV quite a bit but doesn’t come too often. I’m going to have to tell her that she has to come out [again since] we won with her here.”
Brown at the early advantage and led through half track, before he started to drop a cylinder – possibly even two, it appeared. Then, Kalitta continued to go straight in his groove for the win.
This is his second win this second and his 37th overall. He’s also 4-1 against Brown in final rounds.
However, Brown holds a 23-16 win advantage against Kalitta all-time.
“It was a great team effort today,” Kalitta said. “It’s tough to win out here and I’m glad we were able to pull it off today. You have to be on your game. It was a great weekend and the Bader family put on a heck of a show.”