If Greg Anderson was a baseball player he would be batting .800.
The 43 year old is about the hottest thing on four wheels in the National Hot Rod Association this summer. He has been virtually unbeatable in the Pro Stock division with 12 victories in 15 events (.800).
He is first in Pro Stock season points (1,625) and is the defending season champion in his class and in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals that run Thursday through Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway.
Most significantly, Anderson is attempting to become the winningest single-season driver in NHRA history. He is chasing the record of Funny Car legend John Force, whose record for wins in any category is 13, set in 1996.
At BIR, Anderson can set the all-time Pro Stock record for single-season wins as well as tie Force's all-time mark.
Greg Anderson can set a single-season victory record in Pro Stock as well as tie the single-season record for victories in one class with a win in the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals next weekend at Brainerd International Raceway. NHRA photo
"John's record is my next goal, I guess," Anderson said from his shop in Charlotte, N.C.
Anderson is on the verge of destroying the records he set last year on his way to 12 Pro Stock victories and his first Powerade season championship.
The native of Duluth has set 16 track records this season. He has been the No. 1 qualifier 11 times. He can clinch the season championship as early as the Mac Tools U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. If Anderson can earn 41 points more than his teammate and second-place driver Jason Line (1,057 points) in the next three races, he will clinch Sept. 6 at Indianapolis.
Anderson is 53-3 in elimination rounds this season (a .946 winning percentage).
If you go
The Lucas Oils NHRA Nationals run Thursday through Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway.
"I thought last year was unbelievable," he said. "This year we've gone even faster. It's gotten more ridiculous. It's been so equal all year. There are a lot of great minds in this class. Somehow we've jumped on top.
"I don't know how long it will last, but so far so good. We're on a heck of a wave right now. I hope it doesn't come crashing down any time soon."
Last season he was a finalist at 15 national events, the No. 1 qualifier in 14 and set the record for elimination rounds won in a season (67).
"I've got a bull's-eye on my back," he said of being the defending season champion. "Every guy I come up against seems to have his best reaction time against me. They're not laying over and playing dead for me. Everyone throws his best shot at us. I have to throw my best shot at everyone else.
"I would like to see the average reaction time of my opponents. It's probably pretty spectacular. It seems like every guy running against me kills the (Christmas) tree."
Anderson sprints into Brainerd following a record-setting weekend at Sonoma, Calif. He clocked a 6.728-second run at 205.51 mph in his Pontiac Grand Am.
"We thought we had a chance at the national record of 6.67 that I set last year," Anderson said. "We missed by 2/100ths of a second but we were still the only car in the 6s. It was a case of perfect execution on the part of the crew and driver. It wasn't a cakewalk. It was not easy but we still ended up getting the trophy."
Anderson would like nothing more than to capture his second straight trophy at BIR. Many family members still live in Duluth and will be in Brainerd.
"There will be a big crowd in the pits," he said.
The avid golfer will be in the Twin Cities for media interviews Wednesday, then drive to Duluth and stay with family before coming to Brainerd on Thursday.
Unfortunately, time won't permit him to play a round of golf on one of the lakes' area's spectacular courses.
"It's the same with any sport or any hobby," Anderson said. "You've got to give up something to do this. Racing is all-consuming, seven days a week, many hours a day. You better enjoy the racing part, which we do."
Mike Bialka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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