Defending Pro Stock champ Anderson seeks 100th win

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Jun. 23—NORWALK — It would have been fitting for Greg Anderson to get his 100th win last weekend in Bristol at the track where he earned his first career Pro Stock victory.

But while that didn't happen, getting that milestone win at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park would be just as fulfilling for the defending world champ.

Anderson has long been a standout driver at the fan-favorite facility, and he'll look to grab a Pro Stock-best fourth win in Norwalk at this weekend's Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk.

It's always been a marquee race for the five-time world champion, and with continuous improvements, the 99-time event winner seems on the brink of getting that incredible 100th victory in his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro.

Doing it in Norwalk would mean a great deal for Anderson, who has put together many memorable finishes at the track for the KB Racing team. Getting No. 100 would surely go straight to the top of the list for the legendary driver.

"The Summit Racing Equipment event is in just a few days at one of the nicest tracks we go to, and I'm looking forward to getting there," said Anderson, who is currently fifth in the Pro Stock points standings. "That's been a good race for us, a good race for me, personally, and I would really like to have a get-well weekend there."

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) won the 2021 event, and this year's race will be broadcast on both FOX and Fox Sports 1 (FS1). It is the eighth of 22 races during the 2022 Pro Stock season and Anderson believes his team is about to hit its stride after an uncharacteristic slow start.

His team dominated a season ago as he posted five victories and 12 No. 1 qualifiers en route to the world title and becoming the all-time wins leader in Pro Stock. This year, it's been a different story thus far as Anderson is still after his first win and No. 1 spot of the season.

But he's show positive signs this month after a five-week break for the class. That tells Anderson the team put in work during the down time and he's ready to take advantage over what will be a busy summer.

That started last weekend in Bristol and continues in Norwalk, where Anderson will look to avenge last year's final-round loss to rival and current points leader Erica Enders, who already has four victories this year.

Others to watch includes Gainesville winner Dallas Glenn, Aaron Stanfield, who won last weekend, Mason McGaha, 2017 event winner Bo Butner, Kyle Koretsky, Matt Hartford and 2019 winner Chris McGaha, but Anderson believes his time is coming — and soon

"I haven't exactly showed my colors, but I felt in Bristol I was about to hit my groove," Anderson said. "It's not to the point where I'm panicking yet. We've got great equipment and we've got a great car, and we've got great crew chiefs on this race team. I feel like we have progressed at each and every race, and it's close if we keep what we're doing.

"I've got confidence in this race team and I'm just going to keep focused on what we're doing. We know we've got power and we've definitely made some gains, and we're ready to get down to the grind of racing every week and go the distance now."

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Jerry Savoie played the underdog role perfectly in Bristol, picking up his first victory in nearly two years. He'll try to keep that going in Norwalk, bringing all sorts of momentum into the weekend.

He jumped to eighth in points and beat an impressive list of contenders on his way to the Father's Day victory. In Norwalk, things won't get any easier for Savoie, as he'll have to take on points leader Steve Johnson, who has a pair of wins this year, defending world champ and event winner Matt Smith, three-time race winner Eddie Krawiec, Angelle Sampey, Angie Smith, Gainesville winner Karen Stoffer and Joey Gladstone.

But Savoie and his team, led by tuner Tim Kulungian, made a strong impression last weekend and the veteran is ready to keep it rolling.

"It's been a while since we've won and we've been struggling," Savoie said. "I'm having fun, but it's a tough class, trust me. You get to be my age, if you can run with these youngsters, you're doing something right. I've got a lot of trust in my guys and Tim's got a lot of experience, so I feel really good about this team."

In Top Fuel, Steve Torrence, the four-time defending world champ, will look for his third straight win in Norwalk and fourth in five years. Trying to prevent that is a host of stars, including points leader Brittany Force, Bristol winner Justin Ashley, Mike Salinas, who has three wins in 2022, 2014 race winner Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta, Tony Schumacher, Clay Millican, Josh Hart, and Leah Pruett.

Nobody in the current Funny Car ranks has more than one win at Norwalk, something defending event winner Cruz Pedregon will look to change this weekend. But defending world champ Ron Capps, who won in Bristol, is also after a second Norwalk win, as is points leader Matt Hagan, 16-time world champ John Force, Tim Wilkerson, and Bob Tasca III.

The event also will feature the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which has some of the sport's top drivers, as well as the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.

After nitro qualifying at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday, fans can enjoy a fireworks display that has been the perfect capper to night qualifying over the years.

The Midwest Nostalgia Pro Stock Association will be making exhibition runs throughout the weekend as well. The race also features the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League shootout, with eight young drivers competing for the win. The final round will take place on Sunday and will be featured during the FOX broadcast.

For autograph-seeking fans, they can attend one featuring riders in Pro Stock Motorcycle at the Suzuki Display at 3 p.m. on Friday, while an autograph session featuring Toyota drivers will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Toyota Display.

On Saturday, fans can also attend Nitro School to learn more about how the cars operate and reach their high speeds.

Fans in attendance can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday, which includes the fan favorite "Track Walk." The final experience is the winner's circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals event winners.

As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass in Norwalk. This unique opportunity gives fans a chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers and more.

Fans can also visit NHRA's popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors have interactive displays, simulated competitions, food and merchandise.

The new Pep Boys midway display will include tire change challenges, oil change challenges, a slot car track and more.

After Friday's action, the final two rounds of qualifying will be at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 10:30 p.m. Friday; 1:30 p.m. Sunday, and then eliminations at 3 p.m. on FOX on Sunday.