The mark of a champion is to never accept defeat.
And that’s precisely the mindset of five-time Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson, even as he comes to terms with his ninth-place standing in the championship as the NHRA season winds down.
Since beginning his professional Pro Stock career in 1998, Anderson has learned plenty of lessons. He’s endured winless seasons, and he knows what it’s like to feel undefeatable.
This season, he’s lived in the in-between.
Anderson’s year has been neither terrible, nor great, though he admits it hasn’t been an “up to par” season according to his standards. He’s hovered in the mid-pack, primarily moving between sixth and seventh in the standings.
“I’ve kind of dropped the ball too many times, so we’ve just made little mistakes all year long. We’ve got a great race package, we’ve got a great car, we’ve got a great engine,” Anderson said. “So that’s not the problem. It’s just minor, minor mistakes. Half of them are mine, and half of them are the race car’s.”
But to Anderson, there’s no sense in pointing fingers.
There’s also no point in living in the past. The KB Titan Racing driver is planning to fight tooth and nail to the very end, no matter where his HendrickCars.com machine ranks.
“It’s not too late,” Anderson said. “I still have a race car that can get it done, can go to the top and I’m not going to be satisfied with anything less than number one. That’s why you come, that’s why you go to the races.”
The North Carolina resident recognizes that it will be an uphill battle, especially with a class full of dark horses who could flip a win light at any race.
Anderson simply hopes that the next Pro Stock driver to surprise on the drag strip is himself.
“I’m definitely one of them that can get it done. Just gotta do it,” Anderson said.
His performances near the end of the regular season provided the flicker of hope he was looking for, with his first runner-up of the year coming at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kan., on Aug. 13. As far as his remaining season record goes, Anderson has finished in the semifinals twice, made six quarterfinal appearances and exited the first round at four races.
“I can look at 80 or 90 percent of the races I went to this year and if things just went this much different,” Anderson said, making a pinching motion with his hand, “I probably could’ve won the event.”
The sting of of the near-misses has guided Anderson’s strategy for the Countdown, as he looks to execute error-free performances in the final five races of the year.
“We definitely will never give up — that is not in our vocabulary and it never will be. No matter how bad it seems today, tomorrow can always be a complete turnaround,” Anderson said. “You have to have that killer instinct and you have to believe in yourself.”