National Hot Rod Association Media Conference
August 22, 2013
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much for your time today, Michael. Next up, Greg Anderson. Greg, are you with us?
GREG ANDERSON: I am.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Greg, for taking time out of your day to give us a call. Greg Anderson, the racer of the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro is a six‑time Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals champion. His most recent coming in 2011. Greg, to kind of start it off, what does it mean coming into this event that now has Chevrolet on the title as one of the Chevrolet Pro Stock racers?
GREG ANDERSON: It's cool. It's absolutely cool. I'm glad to be one of the banner carriers for Chevrolet. It's been a while since they've been on a billboard that big. So it's good to have them back. They kind of eased back into the sport a year or so ago. This year they stepped up their involvement. It's great for us in Pro Stock, and it's great to have them on the big billboard at Indy.
So going to feel very proud when I look up and see that big Chevrolet sign and look down at my race car and see the same old bowtie right there. That's going to be a cool feeling.
Q. Greg, obviously, everybody talks about the competition level in Pro Stock every year. It just seems like that is the first thing before the season starts and then they get into it and the competition level continues to be really strong. Could you talk a little about that?
GREG ANDERSON: It is. It absolutely is. It seems like more and more competitors every year figure out the game. Really learn what it takes to run at the top level, so you get more and more of them every year. Also, the class in general, the whole class goes forward each year. I think I'm a pretty good example of that. Apparently, I haven't gone forward much this year and the rest of the class has. Just like that, you're left behind.
So you can't sit on what you have regardless of what you have. You can be the man one day and be a complete also ran the next day if you don't go forward from today to tomorrow. You have to look at every day going forward, no matter how fast you are. Looks like I kind of got left behind in the off‑season. Apparently, some other teams did a better job of making the race cars faster, and just taking me‑‑ what are we, into August now‑‑ so it has taken me into August to catch up.
So it's been a tough season for me, but that shows you how great Pro Stock is. If you sit still on what you have and think what you have is good enough for one day or one week, you're going to get left behind.
Q. What attributes do you, being a four‑time champion, what really would you put a finger on as far as what gave you the desirability and everything to get to that level that is so difficult to get to?
GREG ANDERSON: I'm not sure what it is. We got this‑‑ when I say we, I think it's pretty much everybody that's involved in the sport‑‑ when we get it into our blood, it's just you want to do it so bad, you want to win so bad, you want to be the best so bad. We don't just come out here to compete and be one of the guys and have a chance some day of winning a race here and there. We come out to prove we're the best of the best, the baddest dog on the block every week. I'm not the only one. I certainly have that goal. Jason Line, my partner has that goal, my entire team has that goal. But now we're seeing 15 other teams in Pro Stock that have that same goal. So it just makes the sport all that much better, all that much tougher.
It's an addicting sport to say the least. Once you get it in your blood. I got it in my blood when I was a teenager chasing back ask forth to the racetrack with my father. Once I got it in my blood, you're not going to get it out. You're going to dig harder and harder every day to make yourself more successful and prove you can do it the best.
It's a neat sport. I tell everybody that comes to a race for the first time, this is something that you've never seen before, and I will guarantee you, you will not leave here saying this is not for me. You will love it once you see it the first time. I've never had a failure yet as far as bringing a new person to a race, and they haven't liked it. So it's just a unique, absolutely crazy sport that people love. It's just sometimes hard to get them out to it. Once you get them out to it, they love it whether they're watching from the grandstand or working on the race car.
Q. Well, you know I'm not going to ask you any easy questions. Let's talk about your frustration level this year. I mean, we're used to seeing Greg Anderson with about four or five wins in the bank by about this time this year. In a non‑PC kind of response, describe the level of frustration you've experienced this year by not living up to the same level as the previous years?
GREG ANDERSON: It's been one heck of a challenge, Bobby. I can't lie to you. My frustration level has been on red line all year, so has Jason, so has our entire team. I can make up all the excuses I want. We've got the Countdown. It really doesn't matter until the Countdown. Baloney. I never bought into it. I don't believe T I go to every race to win a race.
I haven't been capable of winning a race all year. I haven't rolled in on Sunday morning with the feeling that I had a chance to win a race until the last race we had at Brainerd. That's been the first time all year.
It's been a struggle. It's been a battle. And we have worked extremely hard this year, and we certainly do it at all times, but when you get your back to the wall like we've had this year, I can guarantee you every hour that you're not working on that race car in some way, you feel, well, if I don't work that next hour, I'll never catch these guys.
I am behind. Reality is I got left in the dust this year somehow, some way, performancewise, and I'm not prepared to win the race. I don't enjoy going to the racetrack not being able to win a race.
So we work very hard. The good thing about it is even though the frustration level for all of us has been at max level, there's been no in‑fighting, no finger pointing, no in‑fighting, there's been no it's his fault, it's this person's fault, the engine's fault, the car's fault, the driver's fault. There's been none of that. We win as a team, and we lose as a team, and we've stuck together very well through all the adversity.
That's what I think defines your team is if you can drive through those low times. And let me tell you, this has been a low time, and to come out of it with the same group of people, and everybody wants to race with each other and hang out together.
So I think we're finally turning the corner. Brainerd was definitely a season changer for us in performance. Like I said, for the first time all year we had a legitimate chance to win that race. If I hadn't made a mistake in the semifinal, we very well could have been walking out of that race with a trophy. And not because of luck, but just flat performance.
So that's what KB Racing is used to, that's what we want to get back to. Looks like we're making our way back to there. That is one race, and we're not going to call ourselves back yet. But it's definitely a big step forward. We're out at zMAX right now, testing today and tomorrow and trying to make up more of that performance. So when we go to Indy, we can prove that Brainerd wasn't a fluke for us, and we can find a way to get win number six possibly for me, and Jason he hasn't won that race yet at all, so it would be big for him.
I couldn't even think about that a month ago or two months ago. It wasn't even a consideration in my mind. Could I get number six at Indy or could Jason win his first? We weren't prepared to win a boat race, for God sakes.
It's a good feeling right now, but we also know we're not where we need to be yet. We're closer, but we're not where we need to be yet. We're going to continue to work a dogged effort to get back there.
The class itself has raised the bar this year. Unlike past years, a lot of those years I was the one that raised the bar and they had to catch up. This year the rest of the class has raised the bar and I have to catch up.
Q. Which frustrates you more, not winning as many races as you had hoped to or seeing Mike Edwards dominate so much?
GREG ANDERSON: I'm proud of all these guys. They're doing what they're supposed to do. That's what you're supposed to do. You're supposed to try to go out, find a way to dominate and be the baddest dog out in. They've done that. I can't be mad at them for that. I appreciate that.
The onus is back on us to find our way back there. So I'm definitely more frustrated with our performance. We are definitely not running the way we can and should. It's up to us to figure it out. Not for them to come back to us; it's for us to come back to them.
Q. Pro stock this year has been a tough season for filling fields and everything. And by your own admission and for those of us who witnessed it, you work night and day and pour your life into this Pro Stock. Do you ever sit down and ask yourself sometimes if the reward is worth the investment?
GREG ANDERSON: Seldom I do, but not very often. I think you get so wrapped up into it and you enjoy it so much. I think what we really like about it the most is the competition. The ridiculous amount of competition. That's what we get off on, I guess.
Yeah, you want to be the best, but you don't want to be the best when you don't have much competition to be the best over. We've got a ton of competition in this class right now. It gets tougher every year, and that's what makes you drive harder and enjoy it more, and want to do it even more so than you ever did. And as sick as that sounds, that's obviously what we get off on.
I doubt very much that the New England Patriots enjoy whipping up on whoever the worst team is in the league anywhere near as much as they enjoy whipping up on the best team in the leagues.
That's the same way we are. You're glad the competition is there, and you want them to succeed. You just want to find a way to do a better job than they are.
Q. Greg, I've watched you over the years and I've watched a lot of your competition over the years. What are you searching for during the off‑season? Because it appears that most are searching for hundreds or thousands of a second. How overall difficult is that?
GREG ANDERSON: Well, it is difficult. It's not only difficult to find that gain, it's difficult to quantify did you make the gain or not. When you're talking about thousands of a second, it's difficult to make two runs down the racetrack that everything is the same to the thousandth. That really doesn't happen.
So you have to figure in all the fudge factors. Did we gain or did we not? Same thing goes with the engine Dynamometers. We feel we've got one of the very best engine dyno operators in the country with Jason Line and the best set‑up with the dyno facility, and the best repeatability dyno you can get, and it still comes down to time.
When you're talking about two or three horse or 1475 horsepower, whatever you're talking, it's difficult to repeat two poles on the dyno with a couple horse to really quantify did you make a gain or didn't you? That's kind of the tough part about it.
As you go through the process, you're not going to get those gains by 10s or 20s. You're going to get them by ones or twos, and you have to quantify accurately, did we gain two, did we gain one? Did we lose one or two? And nothing is perfect. Every time cars go down the racetrack, the driver does something different, the club says something different, and it's hard to repeat it. If you didn't touch the car at all between runs, it would be difficult to repeat within thousandths.
That is the tough part not getting yourself lost or not getting yourself fooled with the changes you make. What did that really do? Obviously, we make a ton of changes and you have to keep track of it.
I think quite honestly, that's probably what happened to us more than anything over the last six months. Some of those gains we thought we made ended up being possible negatives and it kind of got us chasing our tails a little bit. It took us a little while to find our way back home and actually go forward.
Q. What move in your life does it take for you to finally believe, yes, we've made a positive move forward, if it's as difficult to understand as you just said?
GREG ANDERSON: You have to be at the same racetrack with all the same competition that you run with every week, you have to be with them and run yourself up against them as your scorecard. It doesn't really matter if you're at a test track somewhere and you're testing by yourself and you run fast or you run slow. It's hard to quantify because you don't know what the rest of the class would have done. Same with the Dynamometer. There are times of the year it makes bigger horsepower numbers than other times of the year because of the air itself.
You have to be with your peers on the same day, same race course, same time. Then when that gap is different, you know you've made a gain or a loss.
But you're not going to get ten of us to go test together at the same test facility. You're not going to get us to play together all the time. So we understand and learn from each other where we're at. It's very difficult sometimes to realize, if you did, in fact, make a gain until you get in the same room, same racetrack same day, same time.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Greg, for taking time out of your day with your test sessions. That will conclude Greg Anderson's portion of the interview.
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