- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
Bruce Anderson could easily take a modest outlook at Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen Late Model 300 Presented By Danville Toyota at South Boston Speedway. He could simply say his goal is to just finish the race – something that has eluded him in his three previous tries. Given how he and his team closed out the points season in the NASCAR Late Model Stock Car Division at South Boston Speedway, that just wouldn’t be good enough.
Anderson closed out the South Boston Speedway points season with four top-five finishes in his last four starts, with three of them being second-place finishes to NASCAR Whelen All-American Series National Champion and South Boston Speedway NASCAR track champion Philip Morris.
The South Boston resident finished the season with eight top-five finishes and 13 top-ten finishes in his 20 starts, with a fifth-place finish in the final points standings.
The strong close to the South Boston Speedway points season gives Anderson confidence and hope for a good outing this weekend.
“To come out here and get a top five or possibly a win would definitely be the highlight of my career,” Anderson said during a break in a test session at the track this week.
“It would be a great end to the season. With the caliber of cars and drivers that will be here, it would be a huge accomplishment for us. I think with a little bit of luck we can be there at the end and have a shot at top five and possibly pull out a win.”
Anderson’s strong runs at the end of the South Boston Speedway points season gives him a good boost of confidence entering this weekend’s event, which starts this afternoon with practice and qualifying time trials.
“We got to lead some laps and race Philip (Morris) hard,” Anderson noted.
“Anytime you can be in the company of someone like him it definitely boosts your confidence. I feel like Philip and Lee (Pulliam) will be the cars to beat. We’ve run well with both of them this year. I’ve beaten Lee some, but I haven’t beaten Philip this year.
“I think we have a good shot having a good run,” he added.
“It’s just going to be a tough race.”
Anderson points quickly to the fact that being in the race at the end and not using up the equipment and tires are big factors in the outcome.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned from in the past is being there at the end,” Anderson said.
“Eddie Johnson won it a few years back and started right in front of me. We wrecked and he (Johnson) was still there. Survival is the name of the game. If you can get up in the top four or five and kind of conserve and set your own pace, you have a good possibility of having a good day.
“From fifth (place) on back you’ve really got to run hard and try to stay in line and try not to lose too much ground,” Anderson continued.
“That’s where a lot of the wrecks and stuff happen.”
Track position is important, Anderson points out, and that starts with the ability to qualify well when qualifying time trials start at 4 p.m. today to determine the top 15 starting positions for Saturday’s 300-lap race.
“The first big part of the race is trying to make it into the race on time the first day and not have to run a heat race and take a chance on getting your car torn up before you even get a chance in the race,” Anderson said.
“The last two years I’ve had to run a heat race and I won a heat race last year. I hope we can avoid that, but if we have to run a heat race we’ll just work hard and do what we have to do to get into the race and then try to be there at lap 300.”
The bottom line, Anderson says, is that everything is going to have to go well during the race.
“I feel like we have a good package,” Anderson said.
“We’ve just got to put it all together and dot all of the “Is” and cross all of the “Ts” and be ready for this weekend. The deal is going to be keeping your nose clean and being there on lap 300. We’re going to have to have a little luck, a good car and the driver’s going to have to do his job all day.”