ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando Speed World Dragway continues to bring out the best in Pro Stock legend Greg Anderson.
The four-time world champion rocketed to the top of provisional qualifying at Friday’s CTECH World Doorslammer Nationals presented by JEGS, impressing the crowd with a run of 6.531 seconds at 210.14 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro. Anderson is a longtime standout in the Pro Stock shootout events and advanced to the final round of the inaugural race at Orlando a year ago.
He was also the provisional No. 1 qualifier on Friday in 2020, putting him in strong position to again contend for the $75,000 prize on Sunday.
“I feel confident and things are definitely going the right way,” Anderson said. “We tested for a couple days and we got a good handle on the car, and now I’m working on the engine tuneup. I feel like we can run really well. That’s great and that’s reassuring, but there’s a lot of cars that can run really well. You feel like you’re on top of the mountain and then you see you’ve got less than a hundredth on the next car. But we’ve got a car that can compete and challenge for big money.”
Joining Anderson as the provisional No. 1 qualifier was Khalid Al-Balooshi in Pro Mod.
Anderson tested earlier in the week and made a pair of solid runs on Friday as he looks to take it one step further than he did last year and claim the largest single-race prize in Pro Stock history. It would be another monumental achievement for the 94-time race winner, but it’s not going to be easy.
Troy Coughlin Jr., racing the same car his uncle, Jeg Coughlin Jr., drove to the winner’s circle in Orlando last year, is qualified second after going 6.540 seconds at 210.41 mph in his JEGS Camaro, and Kyle Koretsky is third with a 6.543 seconds at 211.16 mph. Defending Pro Stock world champ Erica Enders sits fourth with a 6.548 seconds at 211.06 mph heading into the final day of qualifying on Saturday before Sunday’s eliminations.
Temperatures are expected to dip heading into raceday and Anderson knows he must be prepared for that as well.
“You’re going to have a weather change and a track change, so you’ll have make changes,” Anderson said. “It’s another challenge and that’s good. You’ve got to be ready because everybody here is going to have to make adjustments. That’s great and an extra challenge, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Al-Balooshi put in extensive work over the off-season adapting to the new manual shifter in his Bahrain 1 Racing ProCharger-powered ’19 Camaro.
Through two qualifying sessions in Orlando, the early results are promising.
Al-Balooshi made the quickest run in both of the sessions, with his impressive blast of 5.659 seconds at 251.25 mph during the second qualifying session leading the way.
Al-Balooshi estimated he made 30 runs with the manual shifter — which is now required in NHRA Pro Mod cars — in Bahrain in the off-season and he appears to have adjusted well.
Al-Balooshi said he was a little off during the first qualifier when he went 5.735 seconds at 235.39 mph, but he more than made up for it just a few hours later.
“Everything felt good. The first run, I missed the shifter,” Al-Balooshi said. “We’ve got some new stuff in the car and made a couple of good runs. In my opinion, we’re comfortable with the car, but I’m sure the other cars will be there (Sunday). I still don’t shift perfectly with the new (manual) shifter, but I’m more comfortable with it. Everybody will be fast (on Sunday), but we are ready. We changed some things around and I think we learned a lot over (in Bahrain).”
Jason Scruggs is currently second in qualifying after going 5.704 seconds at 252.76 mph and Brandon Snider is a spot behind with a 5.745 seconds at 250.46 mph.
Scruggs made a solid run as the sun started to go down on Friday, but he knows the potential for more is there. He went 5.67 seconds during testing on Thursday under the lights and believes it will take multiple passes in that range to win the $50,000 prize.
Scruggs ran well at the facility a year ago during the inaugural race, but with much cooler temperatures on deck for Saturday and then eliminations on Sunday, the veteran standout knows he will have to keep pushing.
“Truthfully, I felt like we can run better than we did that second run,” Scruggs said. “It was kind of in between there, but Sunday is going to be a lot different. I think we’ve got a good combination and can go in the 5.60s, and that’s what it’s going to take to be successful. The ProChargers may have a bit of an advantage, but it’s still anybody’s race, and I feel like we can run with everybody.”
In Top Sportsman, Cheyenne Stanley went to the No. 1 spot with a 6.154-second pass in his twin-turbocharged ’07 Mustang. Mike Lubniewski followed in the No. 2 spot, with Derrick Brown going 6.211 seconds in his ProCharger-boosted ’14 Camaro to round out the top 3 in the 27-car qualifying order.
The provisional low qualifier in Ray Skillman Auto Group Factory Shootout is Bill Skillman with a 7.78-second pass at 178.24 mph in the Ray Skillman Ford Mustang Cobra Jet. Former Pro Stock star Mark Pawuk drove his Empaco Equipment Dodge Challenger Drag Pak to No. 2. John Cerbone ended up No. 3 in his Saw Mill Auto Sales Chevy COPO Camaro.
Record holder Jimmy Pelcarsky shot to the top of the $hameless Racing Pro 632 presented by C&C Pumping qualifying sheet in his small-block-powered ’15 Camaro with a 4.194-second pass at 170.45 mph. Wes Distefano took the No. 2 spot in his nitrous-fed $hameless Racing ’68 Camaro. Florida’s own Dillon Voss is No. 3.
The 17-car Comp Eliminator field is topped by Joseph Arrowsmith in his ’06 Pontiac GTO. In Strange Engineering Stock/Super Stock, Craig Gualtiere is the provisional No. 1 qualifier.