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Greg Anderson Reaches Bristol Final to Inch Closer to Points Lead in HendrickCars.com Chevrolet

Auto Imagery / Gary Nastase photo

Famed Bristol Dragway is close to Greg Anderson’s heart. It’s the first place he ever hoisted a coveted NHRA trophy, and he nearly claimed a third Bristol win at this weekend’s 23rd annual Super Grip NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals. The five-time world champion qualified on the pole in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet and reached the 179th final round of his well-decorated career to move up to No. 2 in the Pro Stock standings.

“I love racing here, it’s just so much fun, and the last couple of days have been a blast,” said Anderson, who most recently won in Bristol in 2004. “I wish that we could have closed the deal today; it would have meant a lot. But to have a hot rod that could handle nearly everything the conditions threw at us, that just shows us what’s possible with our HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro. I can’t wait to get to the next one.”

After securing the 126th No. 1 of his career under bright blue skies and steady sunshine that warmed the racing surface, raceday dawned with a threatening cloud cover and the promise of rain in the forecast. Eliminations were moved up from noon to a 10:00 a.m. start time to get ahead of the weather, and Anderson was up-and-at-’em for the early wake-up call.

In his first-round meeting with longtime competitor Larry Morgan, a driver he had met in eliminations 37 times before, Anderson made the quickest pass of the round to move ahead, 6.633, 204.82 to 6.713, 202.55.

Utilizing lane choice over young and capable driver Cristian Cuadra in the quarterfinals, Anderson ran low elapsed time of the round, 6.660, 204.35 to 6.699, 204.01. Lane choice over KB Titan Racing teammate and the current points leader Dallas Glenn came in handy in the semifinals, where he was first to leave the starting line, .023 to .034, and first to the finish with a low of the round 6.658, 205.10 to 6.833, 179.11.

That set up one of the most familiar stand-offs in Pro Stock: a Greg Anderson vs. Jeg Coughlin Jr. final round. While the two have raced one another 108 times in eliminations, the Bristol final marked the 22nd time they’ve gone toe-to-toe for the trophy in the final moments of an NHRA Pro Stock event.

This time around, Anderson left the starting line with a near-perfect .001-second reaction time to his opponent’s .023, but the vision of claiming his 106th win dissolved in brutal tire shake as he passed the tree, and Anderson was forced to push in the clutch to tame his suddenly feisty race car.

Although race wins are always the desired outcome, Anderson was optimistic as he and his KB Titan crew tore down camp and loaded their haulers to head home to Mooresville, N.C.

“I was really happy with how this HendrickCars.com Chevy performed these last couple of days,” said Anderson. “I’m disappointed we didn’t win the prize, but you can’t deny that we have a car that can win. This was an exciting day, up until the very last minute. You can bet that we’ll be heading to Virginia looking for redemption.”

The next event in the 2024 Mission Foods Drag Racing Series will be the NHRA Virginia Nationals in Richmond, Va., June 21-23.

This story was originally published on June 10, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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