Rain abbreviated qualifying to just one session on Friday at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods, and after a single session, KB Racing Pro Stock driver Greg Anderson was the leader in his red Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro. If it should hold, the No. 1 would be the 82nd of Anderson’s career and second of the 2016 season of NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
In the lone qualifying session on Friday at zMAX Dragway, Anderson – who currently holds the track record for speed with a 215.48 set at the 2015 rendition of the annual Four-Wide event – raced to a 6.577-second pass at 209.65 mph to move into the lead.
“The forecast didn’t look good at all coming into today, so we’re thankful to even get that one run,” said Anderson, who is No. 2 in the Pro Stock points heading into the fifth race of the season. “We got some good intel today, and it is becoming very clear that the rest of the pack is making some gains. But it’s all good – that just means it’s time for us to go back and get to work to try to find some performance for tomorrow so that we can protect that No. 1. The racetrack was great today. It was perfect. So now we know what we’ve got, and we can go back, tune it up, and come back tomorrow for more.”
The second-quickest car of the day wasn’t far behind; Elite Performance driver Drew Skillman, in the Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro, clocked an efficient 6.583, 209.72. Third in the qualifying order was Anderson’s teammate, Jason Line, on a 6.585, 209.10 in the blue Summit Racing Camaro.
Mooresville, N.C.-based Shane Gray, who is racing with IDG backing on his Gray Motorsports/Valvoline/Nova Services Chevrolet Camaro this weekend, powered to the No. 4 spot with his 6.602, 208.68, while Elite’s Vincent Nobile, driving for Mountain View Chevrolet, was fifth thanks to his 6.605, 209.46. KB Racing’s Bo Butner, Harlow Sammons Racing driver Chris McGaha, and Mopar Dodge Dart GT pilot Erica Enders rounded out the top 8.
Two more qualifying sessions remain before the the field is set, and although grateful to have gotten one pass down the quarter-mile in the books on a day that was projected to be a wash, Anderson lamented the loss of data.
“I really wanted that second run,” he admitted. “You always want as many runs as you can get, and you value that information a lot. You need it all to really master [the racetrack] every weekend. The more on-track time you get, the better off you are. But it’s the same for everybody. Nobody got a second run today, and we’ll just have to get sharper with what we learned today.
“My hat is off to my competitors. They did their homework since the last race, and they’ve made some gains. Now, it’s up to us to answer the call. Today was a good day, but you can bet we’ll come out swinging tomorrow.”