(Tim Marshall photo)

Greg Anderson, Pro Stock Camaro Drag Racer

Greg Anderson of Mooresville, NC, is driver of the Summit Racing-sponsored Camaro that runs in the National Hot Rod Association’s Pro Stock class. Earlier this year he announced that he would be sitting out the first six races of the 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season in order to have heart surgery. Swedish racer Jimmy Alund was named to take over the driving duties of the Ken Black Racing team while Anderson was out.
Chris Haverly had a chance to talk to Anderson during the Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, NC. As it turned out, Alund became the first European to win an NHRA national event at this race. 

Although Anderson was scheduled to sit out one more event, his doctors cleared him to return to racing on the Monday before the next NHRA event at Houston on April 25-27.

: Can you put it in layman’s terms exactly what your health issue was? We’ve all heard the medical diagnosis, but just as a general guide. I know you had some heart valve problems.

Greg Anderson: I had what they call, in official terms, a bicuspid aortic valve, which comes down to my aortic valve was born malfunctioning, dysfunctional, misshaped, whatever you want to call it. It had two platelets instead of three. Supposed to have three, had two. What it all means is the blood does not flow through linearly; it shoots through the valves straight to the sides just like when you hold your finger on the end of a garden hose. Water goes shooting out to the side just like the blood did.

The problem being that, after many, many years of doing that, the main artery behind the aortic valve gets aneurized from the blood shooting sideways at the arterial wall. And that the tear, the artery bursting because it swelled up from the blood coming crooked out of the valve. So when it finally got to the size that they feared it bursting, I had to go in and get it replaced. So I had my aortic valve replaced and the aortic tube behind it, which I believe they called the ascending aorta. So that’s the medical and, as far as I know, the laymen’s terms to it. Bottom line in racer’s terms is I got a valve job and I feel as good as new. So I should have a whole lot of miles left in, shouldn’t have to worry about my heart for the rest of the years I’m on this earth.