Don’t say that Greg Anderson didn’t offer a fair warning. He just didn’t allude that he’d be the one the competition had better look out for. 

After running a 6.536 to take the provisional top spot, Anderson counseled, “It’s not safe, and we’re going to have to come out and give it all we got tomorrow to get those three points and try and keep that pole.”

Anderson upped the ante with a 6.519 in Saturday’s Q3 session at the NHRA Midwest Nationals outside of St. Louis, Mo. 

“That one was very good,” Anderson admitted. “This morning we were a little disappointed. We definitely missed on the morning one, which obviously everybody did. We should’ve all run better this morning. I expected a whole bunch of cars to pick up on the second run, and still, several apparently missed it; we hit it pretty good. Didn’t leave a lot on the table on that one. That’s the way we should have run in the morning and pretty darn close to a perfect run. I’ll take that and a great day at the office. We got all the points they had to give today. So that’s what you call a great day at the office.”

Anderson races Fernando Cuadra in the first round on Sunday. 

“You have to forget about who’s in the other lane, period. It doesn’t matter if it’s Fernando. It doesn’t matter who it is. You got to find a way to race your own lane and your own side of the Christmas tree and just do the best you can, because any distraction you get, whether you’re thinking about the other person in the other lane or you’re watching them run away down the racetrack, you’re going to cost yourself ET. So the best game plan you can have is to forget about who’s in the other lane, don’t even look over there, act like you’re out testing. 

“You’re making a single round and stage that tree like you’re making a single test run and focus on down the racetrack and blind out beside you. But if you can do that, then you’re going to be better off. So that’s what the game plan is. That’s what I try to do every run and try to do it again tomorrow.”

This season has been one of highs, lows, coming up big and coming up short for the driver on the cusp of becoming Pro Stock’s winningest driver. 

“It’s put a smile on my face all year long,” Anderson said. “First of all, every race I’ve gone to this year, I’ve had a chance to win. And you can’t say that every year. You can’t say that at every race you go to, usually. You usually get some bunkers in there where you just don’t have it. Your car’s not right, or you’re not driving right, whatever it is. Every race we’ve been to this year with this car it’s been on point. The car’s been great, and I’ve said to myself, ‘I’ve got as good a chance to win this race as anybody.” 

“That’s not an automatic. That’s not a given, so when you get that, you got to be happy. So I’ve been happier than heck all year long. I really wish I could have closed the door at a few more races this year and had a few more wins, but that just tells you what this class is. Anybody can beat anybody and no matter how good your car is, that gives you maybe a hundredth advantage on some guy in the other lane. That’s nothing. So that goes away in an instant, so you got to execute. You got to be perfect every time and still got to have luck on top of that to win an event.”

Anderson, now one of the older drivers in the division, doesn’t mince words when he says the younger pilots have pushed him.

“They’ve absolutely pushed me to find a way to be better,” Anderson admitted. “I’ve had no choice. I don’t have a choice. I have to find a way to be better and find a way to cut a light out there or I go home, regardless of how my car runs. So they don’t fear anything. And I do. I know what they can do. I see what they can do every day and I don’t know that I can do that every day. So it’s a scary thought and you roll up there wondering, ‘If I don’t find a way to have the best possible light I can possibly have, I’m going home, regardless how my car runs.” 

“It’s a scary feeling.”