Denfeld News

August 18, 2011
Duluth News Tribune

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 the shop.”

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 the
Minnesota-North Dakota chapter of the ALS Association. Between 250 and 300
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 world.

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,”
McVean said.

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 trust builder.”

Anderson has two victories at Brainerd, including two years ago, when he denied Line his first victory at their home track.

“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 forgotten it.”

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