Horsepower Challenge history: Anderson wins No. 5

02 Apr 2016
Candida Benson, NHRA National Dragster Senior Editor
Anderson win

Greg Anderson drove his Summit Racing Chevy to the 2016 K&N Horsepower Challenge title, his fifth win in the bonus race. Anderson got a single in the final when teammate Jason Line was unable to make a run due to fluid leaking from his engine after the burnout.

Greg Anderson became the winningest driver in K&N Horsepower Challenge history when he outlasted KB Racing teammate Jason Line to take home this year’s trophy and the $50,000 top prize. Anderson adds this year’s title to the ones he earned in 2004, 2006, 2010, and 2011.Anderson’s fifth win breaks a tie with Kurt Johnson, who has four victories in bonus events.

“It’s really cool. Kurt and I have a great history; we go back a long way, we raced together a long time. I owe so much of what I’m doing today to those people. I owe a lot to them. I respect them, and it’s great any time you can beat either one of their records. I feel great about that,” said Anderson. “I look forward to finding way to make the number bigger, but it’s cool to be the winningest driver. I didn’t even realize it’s been 30 years we’ve had this race. That’s a lot of chances for people to win, and somehow I’ve won the most of anybody over 30 years. That’s incredible to me. I’m going to take that win and move forward and try to add to it when we come out next year, and the first thing that I have to realize is it’s not an easy deal. You have to do the best you can for a year to qualify for it. The last two years I haven’t been able to qualify for it — that shows you how tough it is. I’ll do the best I can racing this year because I love racing this race, and hopefully we can come back next year and shoot for No. 6.”

Anderson entered this year’s race-within-a-race as the No. 1 qualifier thanks to his strong qualifying showing over the past year, and that pitted him against longtime rival Jeg Coughlin Jr., the fan-vote winner, in the first round. Anderson left the starting line first and outran Coughlin, 6.69 to 6.80, to advance. Anderson then clocked a 6.74 to easily defeat Chris McGaha, who shook the tires early, in the semifinals.

Waiting for Anderson in the final was teammate Line, who had the second-quickest car behind Anderson in the first two rounds, in which line bested Shane Gray and defending champ Erica Enders. The final ended up being a little anti-climactic when Line’s car started leaking fluid after his burnout, and he was shut off and pushed off the starting line. Adding insult to injury for Line, who has never won the Horsepower Challenge, Anderson’s car shook early, and he coasted to a 12.33 victory.

“That’s the third race in a row that I’ve kind of dodged a bullet,” said Anderson, who has also defeated Line in two finals this year, both on holeshots. “He’s got a bad hot rod right there. He’s going to be the man to beat this year. He’s driving great. Obviously, something went wrong, and I feel bad for him. It’s a heck of a letdown. I’m sorry that we didn’t put on a better show for you.”

In addition to getting the trophy and winner’s check for his team, Anderson also earned fan Eva Mack of New Hope, Pa., the 2016 K&N Horsepower Challenge special-edition Toyota Tacoma. Mack was one of eight lucky fans drawn in K&N’s online contest, and she was paired with Anderson during a special on-site drawing Saturday.