Anderson searching for the sweet spot
KENT, WA – The sweet spot. It is a phrase used by baseball players, golfers and racers to describe that area of the bat, club or tune-up which provides the maximum performance. As each will tell you, it can be an elusive target, the pursuit of which can be rather lengthy and, at times, somewhat frustrating. Such has been the experience of Greg Anderson and his Summit Racing team with their new Chevrolet Camaro.
In their first six races with the legendary muscle car they have certainly experienced their share of success, with one win in three final round appearances, a statistic made even more impressive by the fact that the KB Racing crew has yet to get fully acclimated to the needs of their still-new race car. Even so, as Anderson prepared to head to the Evergreen State for this weekend’s NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle, Wash., he admitted that both he and his team still had some work ahead of them.
“Ever since we started racing this Summit Racing Camaro, we’ve been working non-stop to find its sweet spot, getting the right balance of performance,” said Anderson. “Right now, it doesn’t want to run the first part of the track. Anything down track is more related to the aero or engine packages, and even though we still have some work to do in that area, our biggest issue remains in the first 330 feet.
“Obviously, we’d love to spend a week at a track testing, but that’s not an option at the moment, so we turn our qualifying runs into learning sessions. You hate to race that way, but it’s what we need to do at the moment in order to get these cars dialed in.
“Until we get the performance back where we need it to be, we’re also probably going to have a little inconsistency, as we make wholesale changes trying to make them better. These Camaros are completely different cars than the ones we ran before, presenting us with a new challenge that we just haven’t conquered yet.
“The good news is that we got closer with Jason’s (teammate Line) blue car in Sonoma, so now we just need to find something that my red car likes as well. That’s why we’re in test mode right now, working to have them ready for the Countdown. We know they are going to run, we just have to determine what they want.”
For the second consecutive week, the “factory hot rods” will enjoy conditions that are conducive to creating horsepower, with cooler temperatures and plenty of oxygen. Nestled among the trees in the Seattle suburb of Kent, Pacific Raceways will test the teams as they try to match their 1,400-horsepower hot rods to a racing surface that, as Anderson describes, has a personality all its own.
“The track at Pacific Raceways is pretty quirky, and it all comes down to the weather,” said Anderson. “For some reason, it does not seem to like sunshine at all. You have to know when you’re racing there that it can be a very, very good track if it doesn’t have direct sunlight on it. If it’s cloudy with cool temperatures it’s one of the best we race on and with the power we make you can run really fast.
“However, that will change in a heartbeat once the sun pops out. When it gets over 80 degrees, you had better be ready to make some major changes trying to hook all that power up to the track. It’s one of the racing surfaces on the circuit that changes more from cool to hot conditions, which can be tough, but we know that going in. The key is knowing when to make the changes and when not to, and doing it better than your competition, which will be the test facing this Summit Racing team this weekend. It’s going to be a battle, but I believe we’re up to it.”