August 18, 2011
Duluth-area rivals keep it friendly on
and off race track
By Jon Nowacki
George Nylander of Island Lake had some simple
advice for drag racer Greg Anderson on Wednesday outside the Powerhouse
Bar in Proctor.
“You’ve got to quit tuning that guy’s
car,” Nylander said.
“That guy” would be Anderson’s
teammate, Jason Line, who has had the upper hand when the Minnesota
natives have gone head to head this season on the NHRA Full Throttle
Drag Racing Series going into this weekend’s 30th annual Lucas
Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway.
“Who?” Line said when asked about
the rivalry. “I’ve had Greg’s number this
year, but it hasn’t always been that way. Nothing lasts forever,
and it won’t stay that way because Greg’s too good.
You’re not going to beat him every time. When we go head to
head in a final, it’s a win-win for the team, and by that
point it’s almost more about bragging rights and who gets
to carry the Wally (the nickname for the first-place trophy) around
Line, a native of Wright, hopes he can keep his
streak going if the two meet this weekend at Brainerd, the track
where both drivers essentially grew up.
The Pro Stock drivers made an appearance at the
11th annual Powerhouse Car
Show on Wednesday in Proctor as part of fundraiser on behalf of
Minnesota-North Dakota chapter of the ALS Association. Between 250
classic cars took part, as well as Anderson and Line’s Pontiac
GXPs, making it look like the Hoghead Festival street dance already
was in full swing.
“This is what it’s all about,”
said Anderson, a Duluth native who appeared at a smaller version
of the event last summer. “The goal is to grow these events
bigger and bigger and get the word out.”
The NHRA Nationals at Brainerd have certainly
grown in their 30 years at
BIR, as has the NHRA, which is celebrating its 60th year this season
and is one of the largest motorsports sanctioning bodies in the
Longtime drag racing fans Ron McVean and Rod Barber
of Duluth have a
weeklong pass for camping and activities at Brainerd but drove all
the way back to Duluth to meet with Anderson and Line.
“These are local guys doing great things
at a national level. Holy smokes,”
It’s an added treat for local fans and the
Summit Racing Equipment team when Anderson and Line meet in the
finals, as happened at the last series stop two weeks ago in Seattle
when Line edged Anderson with a 6.553-second pass at 210.87 mph.
Line, the 2006 national Pro Stock champion, is
4-0 against Anderson this season and 3-0 against him in finals.
Against everyone else, Anderson is 3-0 in finals. That has helped
give him a 37-point lead (1,110-1,083) over his teammate atop this
year’s season points standings.
Overall, the two have met 38 times, with Anderson,
a four-time national champion, holding a 21-17 edge.
The two teammates are friends off the drag strip
and continue to tune each
other’s cars, something Anderson calls the “ultimate
Anderson has two victories at Brainerd, including
two years ago, when he denied Line his first victory at their home
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen
a look on anybody’s face like I saw on Jason
after that race. He wanted to win it so bad,” Anderson said.
“I was his teammate, but it was like I was the biggest villain
in the world. That’s how bad he wants to win this race. This
means more to him than anything, and I guarantee, he hasn’t