Chevy Racing–NHRA at Pomona

FEBRUARY 13, 2016

· Greg Anderson Puts Camaro SS in No. 1 Qualifying Position in Pro Stock for Winternationals
· In first race with EFI on Pro Stock, 11 Camaro SS drivers claim spots in 16-car field for final eliminations
· John Force Racing Camaro SS teams come out strong for first race of 2016 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series

POMONA, CALIF – February 13, 2016 – The new era of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock class began in a big way for the Chevrolet Camaro SS by capturing seven of the eight slots that make up the top-half of the 16-car finals field. For the first time in the history of the class, the Pro Stock cars went to the line with fuel injection under the hood, and without the trademark hood scoop to give the cars a look much closer to that of the production Camaro SS.

Four-time NHRA Pro Stock Champion Greg Anderson put his candy apple red Summit Racing Equipment KB Racing Camaro SS in the No. 1 Qualifier position with a run of 6.585 seconds/209.62 mph. Summit/KB Racing teammate Jason Line, two-time NHRA Pro Stock champion, set the top speed in qualifying and second quick ET of 6.592 seconds/210.34 mph. Bo Butner in the Jim Butner Auto Camaro SS gave KB Racing the trifecta with the third quickest ET of 6.594 seconds/210.14 mph.

“To be where we are at right now and where we are sitting at, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot,” said Anderson. “I am so proud of the guys around me and it has been such a team effort with KB Racing and we had a lot of help outside the building. It feels fantastic and I knew when they changed the rules like that, I don’t remember if it was the Saturday night after qualifying, but I shed a tear knowing that was the final time with carburetors. Right now I am able to forget about it and I am ready to move on, embrace the new challenge, and learn to like EFI. So, I can’t believe I am saying that, but I am learning to like it.”

Anderson will face Matt Hartford in Round One while Line will take on V. Gaines. Butner will take on Deric Kramer.

2015 Rookie of the Year Drew Skillman put his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro SS fourth in the order for Sunday’s Winternationals final eliminations with a run of 6.616 seconds/209.20 mph. Vincent Nobile, Mountain View Tire Camaro SS, grabbed fifth in the final qualifying order with a run of 6.623 seconds/208.49 mph.

Skillman will run Joey Grose in the Round One pairing and Nobile will be up against Aaron Strong.

Chris McGaha (6.632 seconds/209.52 mph) and Alex Laughlin (6.634 seconds/208.07 mph) qualified their Camaro SS in sixth and seventh respectively. McGaha will face Shane Gray in Round One, and Laughlin faces Allen Johnson.

In total, 11 Camaro SS drivers qualified for the 16-car field. Round one of final eliminations for Pro Stock in the 56th running of the Winternationals are set to begin Sunday at Noon PT.

The Camaro SS Funny Cars of John Force Racing were in the hunt for the No. 1 qualifying position from the start of first round on Friday. When the fourth and final round concluded late Saturday afternoon, Robert Hight, Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS, claimed the third spot in the order for Round One of Final Eliminations with a fastest pass of 3.913 seconds/322.19 mph. Hight will face Tommy Johnson, Jr. in Round One.

Courtney Force, Traxxas Radio Control Cars Camaro SS qualified sixth with a run of 3.945 seconds/319.29 mph. She will have a bye run if Gary Densham can’t make the call Sunday for Round One following damage received in a third round crash. John Force landed in ninth spot in the final order behind the wheel of his Peak Antifreeze Camaro SS. His quickest pass was 3.964 seconds/322.34 mph. He will face Tim Wilkerson in Round One.

In the first qualifying session of the 2016 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series for Top Fuel, Brittany Force put her Monster Energy/Chevrolet Top Fuel car in sixth position for Final Eliminations with a run of 3.744 seconds/320.66 mph.

The first live broadcast of the NHRA final eliminations on FS1 (Fox Sports 1) will begin Sunday at 2:00 p.m. PT; 5:00 p.m. ET


GREG ANDERSON, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT/KB RACING CAMARO SS PRO STOCK: HOW SPECIAL IS THAT TOP QUALIFYING EFFORT AND HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT TO GET A HOT START HERE AT POMONA? “It feels great. When you come to the Winternationals, and the same thing happens every Winter, when you don’t have major rule changes….you are scared to death thinking about what the competition has done over the Winter and what kind of gains have they made. This year, we were incredibly scared, incredibly worried about what everybody was going to have coming to Pomona. It was a huge challenge with the changeover and I don’t think anybody in this car class had any knowledge about this so it was a learning curve for everybody. And a very steep one.

“To be where we are at right now and where we are sitting at, we have come a long way and we have learned a lot. I am so proud of the guys around me and it has been such a team effort with KB Racing and we had a lot of help outside the building. It feels fantastic and I knew when they changed the rules like that, I don’t remember if it was the Saturday night after qualifying, but I shed a tear knowing that was the final time with carburetors. Right now I am able to forget about it and I am ready to move on, embrace the new challenge, and learn to like EFI. So, I can’t believe I am saying that, but I am learning to like it.”

WAS THERE A PART OF YOU THAT HATED IT (EFI) SO BAD THAT YOU ACTUALLY STARTED TO LIKE IT? “Yeah, I don’t know how to explain it. I am from Minnesota, I am a stubborn person, and I don’t like change I guess. And this is a major, major change especially at the age I am at and Jason (Line) and all the guys. We aren’t Spring chickens anymore. To completely change our world like that and rock our world like that it was a shock. But I think we finally came to grips with it. We had a great trip overseas to Kuwait to see the troops and I think it got Jason and my mind straight about what we had to do when we got back. So I feel fantastic about the whole team and the progress we made. To qualify 1-2-3 with our three KB Racing teams – that is quite an accomplishment. I don’t think we have ever done that as a team, so it’s quite a feather in the hat. I am a lucky man to be behind the wheel of one of these fast hot rods right now. The Summit Chevrolets are a dream to drive right now and are probably friendlier to drive than they used to be. It’s a little bit less RPM and it seems if we look in the past, if we had trouble with tire shake it would always happen in that last four or five hundred RPM. In that range, that is where all the stuff broke loose, so we don’t have to deal with that right now. They are a little bit safer to drive and they are a little bit easier to tune. I think because of that, when you fast forward a few months from now, the competition is going to be tighter than it’s ever been. We knew it would be spread out a little bit when we got here to Pomona but we knew a couple months down the road it’s going to be tighter than ever. Everyone will learn more as we go forward and we are certainly nowhere near fuel injection experts right now but maybe six months down the road we will know a little more.”

WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR YOU TO WIN THE FIRST EFI RACE? “You know, I don’t know what to think about it but I can guarantee you a lot of our competition, because of the RPM range we used to run thought it was going to be a major change for us. Against the rest of the class, it was no secret that we ran our stuff higher. They probably kind of snickered and said, ‘well, KB is going to kind of be behind the eight ball for a while to make that changeover’. So I feel extra proud of the job these guys have done. Just goes to show the talent we have on this team. As much as I drag my feet when there is change, when we do finally accept it, there is no stopping us. We all love to race, love to win, and this is a new chapter and new opportunity. The sky is the limit.”

WITH ALL THE CHANGES WITH THE CAR, HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED VERSUS LAST YEAR AS A DRIVER? “Well, that is different too and they are more tricky to drive right now. We all as a group are struggling with the drive-ability of the cars and to be able to do the proper burnout to stage the cars. They are real shallow, and real smooth and you need to do that in Pro Stock cars to make good runs. We are all a little bit off of that part of the game right now and it’s really tough for the drivers. The visibility is better because they don’t have the hood scoop. We don’t have the hill to climb to look around on the starting line. We can see the tree better so there is really no excuse as a driver right now when you get that car staged. You should be able to do a good job. We will see if we can do that tomorrow and see if we can be the first to win in the new fuel-injected era.”

JASON LINE, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT/KB RACING CAMARO SS PRO STOCK: NOT A BAD WAY TO START THE FIRST RACE OF THE SEASON WAS IT? “Not a bad start for us for sure. There were a lot of unknowns coming into this. We are certainly not fuel injection experts by any stretch of the imagination. So to come out of here 1-2-3, that is pretty exciting for KB Racing.”

“I think I would have a hard time pinpointing one. But to learn something new, it’s a hard deal. You know, I am more of a carburetor guy because we have run those for a big portion of my life. To do something different and be forced out of your box, it’s something new, but we all learned some stuff and it’s been fun.”

BO BUTNER, JIM BUTNER AUTO CAMARO SS PRO STOCK: FIRST QUALIFYING ROUNDS OF THE YEAR ARE OVER, ARE YOU HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU GUYS GOT? “Very happy. I mean, 1-2-3, that is what we came here to do. It’s a shame we can’t finish 1-2-3, but hopefully we will be in the final four.”

SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME TO DO A WHOLE LOT OF CHANGES. WHAT WAS THE HARDEST FOR YOUR TEAM? “I don’t think there is anything too hard for these guys because they work so hard. It was probably the anticipation of what it was going to be like, but they don’t drive that bad.”

DREW SKILLMAN, RAY SKILLMAN CHEVROLET CAMARO SS PRO STOCK: YOU GUYS CAME A LONG WAY IN A COUPLE DAYS “Yeah, we learned a lot. There is still some stuff we have to work out but this Chevrolet Camaro is working really, really well. It’s just the small stuff. We will get there.”

YOU HAPPY WITH WHERE YOU ARE STARTING FOR THE FIRST RACE, WITH ALL THE CHANGES? “Last year was my first race ever at this race. Qualified fourth and got to the finals. So maybe its fate, but I think we will be fine.”

VINCENT NOBILE, MOUNTAINVIEW TIRE CAMARO SS PRO STOCK: YOU HAVE ALL THE QUALIFYING ROUNDS IN THE FIRST RACE UNDER YOUR BELT, HOW DO YOU FEEL? “It feels good and I am not even sure where we ended up. The last pass wasn’t too bad but we saw a few things wrong with the run which is good because we can improve. But all-in-all I am pretty happy because the car ran pretty good, the teammates ran pretty good and looking forward to race day tomorrow.”

CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CAMARO SS PRO STOCK: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT QUALIFYING WITH ALL THE NEW STUFF ON THE CARS? “It’s a good place to start. I think we are sixth and it’s a good place to start considering all the changes. I am real pleased with that.”

HOW DIFFERENT WAS IT FROM WHAT YOU WERE USED TO? WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHANGE? “Just getting it to where it would do the simple stuff. Dry start, drive through the water, do a burnout, and back up. I mean I was good with it, but making the computer do everything like it simulates like it had a carburetors on it. But we got over it.”

SHANE GRAY, GRAY MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY CAMARO SS PRO STOCK: “The guys did a lot of work between now and the last time we were here. We’re not where we want to be, of course, but only one guy is today. We’ve got some good speed in the car, and we’ll keep working in it to get some better ETs. We like the speed, for sure, because that shows we have some good horsepower. That says a lot about all the guys who worked on these new fuel-injected engines, and I’m thankful for them. We just need to figure out a way to be a little more consistent and make some better runs through the entire quarter-mile. We’ll get there. We’ll line up and do the best we can tomorrow. I have a lot of faith in my guys, for sure.”

ROBERT HIGHT, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CAMARO SS FUNNY CAR: “It will be very similar conditions tomorrow morning to what we just saw in Q4. It is not going to heat up a lot by 11 o’clock. You are going to have to run a low 3.90 if you want to jump up there and beat Tommy Johnson Jr. That is what you are going to have to run anymore if you want to get wins. We are learning a different way of racing and a new approach. My car went down the track pretty good on three runs. We are not complaining about a 3.91 but were we hoping for more? Yes. We are not complaining. That was a nice aggressive run and we are progressing. It dropped a couple cylinders down track and could have run a little quicker. I am ready for first round. The start of the season is finally here.”

COURTNEY FORCE, TRAXXAS RADIO CONTROL CARS CAMARO SS FUNNY CAR: “Overall, I can’t complain with how this weekend has gone so far. My team has been awesome. They have been behind me 100% and our Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS has been flying, running a 3.94 for both sessions on Friday and running a 4.0 second pass today. Dan Hood and Ronnie Thompson are doing an awesome job to start the year and we’re all happy to be back at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona kicking off a new season with Traxxas.”
“We missed it on that last run, but still managed a No. 6 starting spot for race day. That puts us in the top half and gives us lane choice against Gary Densham. Densham is a great competitor and is a veteran in our sport. I have a lot of respect for him as a driver and hope he can make the call tomorrow to race us. Anything can happen on race day so we’re going to get this Traxxas machine turned around tonight and we’ll be here bright and early tomorrow for race day.”

JOHN FORCE, PEAK ANTIFREEZE CAMARO SS FUNNY CAR: That was a good run for us, and not so good for him. We put the 96 (3.964 seconds) out there and there were a lot of folks out there watching us today. Peak Antifreeze and Monster is on board now, Chevrolet and Lucas Oil. We have to make our race cars get in the game. My daughters and Robert, they looked pretty good. The old man choked some, but I’ve got the fire in there and we ran okay. I got some new guys out there and I had a meeting with Chevrolet. I am just really excited coming out here.”

BRITTANY FORCE, MONSTER ENERGY/CHEVROLET TOP FUEL: “That was exactly what we wanted. We made four solid runs to start the season. This whole Monster Energy team is excited and we are at my home track and ready to go.