The Western Swing sweep is in sight for Greg Anderson -- again. The veteran racer went a year without a victory but has now won back-to-back races after defeating Alex Laughlin at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. He started the Western Swing with a win at the Dodge NHRA Mile-High Nationals and followed it with a win in Sonoma. Anderson needs to win next week in Seattle to complete the sweep.
"I think sweeping the Swing is so difficult because all three tracks have totally different characteristics," said Anderson. "Winning this one gives me a lot of confidence that I can still do it, you know what I mean? That's a big boost to my confidence and to the team's confidence. I always say that I won't keep doing this when I feel that I can't win anymore, but I think this shows that we still can."
He was second off the starting line against Laughlin by .006-second, but quickly took the lead as the Texan shoved the clutch back in. Anderson got close to the wall down track, but was able to keep his Summit Chevy Camaro in the center of the track to turn on his eighth-straight win light.
Anderson did not have an easy route to the final. He beat K.B. Racing teammate Jason Line in the semifinals on a holeshot by cutting a .022-second reaction time. That got him a narrow victory as Line was late with a .064-second light. Anderson got a lucky break in the second round when Elite Performance racer Jeg Coughlin Jr. was not able to get his car to fire. He beat Kenny Delco in the first round by .03-second.
Laughlin qualified on the pole for the second time in his career and defeated a red-lighting Bo Butner, who is the points leader and the 2017 Pro Stock world champion. Butner also earned the first Super Gas win in his career at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals. Laughlin narrowly avoided Erica Enders in the second round of racing despite leaving second and beat Val Smeland in the first round.
Butner retained his massive lead on the Pro Stock standings despite his semifinal exit, while Anderson remained in second place. Laughlin sits in third place. Jason Line got past K.B. Racing driver Deric Kramer in the second round by .013-second.
Pro Stock is racing an 18-race schedule in 2019 but will be at every race for the remainder of the season. The next race on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series tour is the Magic Dry Organic Absorbent NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle. It's set to begin on August 2.