NHRA Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson grew up
in Duluth, Minn., and got his start in drag
racing by helping his father campaign regionally
with a 68 Barracuda Hemi car in both Super
Stock A and B Modified Production. Heck,
when I was 10 years old I was on the racetrack
with him, carrying water buckets to cool down
the car between runs, Anderson recalls.
Thats where I learned and thats
where I progressed for four or five years.
has certainly continued that progression up
to the present, where he is well on the way
to defending his POWERade crown after winning
nine of 12 events in the first half of this
season. Early in June, Anderson sat down with
DRO at his Mooresville, NC-based shop for an
in-depth discussion of his career and the current
issues facing drag racing and Pro Stock in particular.
Here, in Part I, Anderson describes his career
development and how he came to build a championship-caliber
DRO: How did
you get started in professional racing?
Anderson: My dad pulled back when he knew the
cost and the time for travel was starting to
get crazy. He was trying to raise four children
and it was tough to do that. But when he pulled
back I decided that I didnt want to pull
back. So he got me hooked up with a good personal
friend of his by the name of John Hagen, which
was in 78 or 79. I raced with John
who ran Pro Stock in Division 5 against Warren
DRO: How old were you at the time?
Anderson: I was probably 16 years old. In between
school and weekends Id run down there
and work with him part-time and during the summer
when I was out of school I went to races with
John Hagen and as soon as I graduated I started
doing it full time.
John was killed in 1983 at the national event
in Brainerd. I was there, I was part of his
crew, and I saw it first hand right in front
of my eyes and it certainly knocked the wind
sails. That was the toughest thing I had ever
been through in my life. It knocked the desire
to do it right out of me for the next couple
of years. For a couple of years I went back
to work at my fathers car lot and just
worked on used cars. My father had a used-car
lot and I would do all the service work on the
cars, engine work, body work, whatever it took
to fix up and sell the used cars.
I did that for a couple of years until I was
at the Brainerd national event in 1986 and I
ran into Kurt and Warren (Johnson) and he asked
if I was interested in getting back into the
sport. We had been racing against them. They
were the two main rivals in division 5, Warren
and John, they kinda swapped off and would
win races between the two of them.