Texas Motorplex has made its NHRA Fall Nationals into a real happening, a week-long event that keeps both competitors and fans involved in the magic of straight-line racing. The 37th annual Texas Fall Nationals Stampede of Speed is billed as the Fastest Ten Days in Texas, starting October 7th and culminating with eliminations on October 16th this year.
Track owners Billy Meyer and daughter Christie Meyer Johnson employ music, fan experiences and, of course drag racing at the multi-use facility located about 35 minutes south of Dallas and Fort Worth. Beginning with Funny Car Chaos on the 7th and 8th of October, including Outlaw Fuel Altereds and a Party in the Pits concert, the celebration continues on October 9th with Stars over Texas Music Fest at the Ennis, Texas facility. October 10th features Scott Palmer’s Nitro Sideshow, a celebration of some of the wildest race cars Palmer can put together on the track for an evening of racing.
On the 11th the Stampede of Speed Shootout takes place on the Motorplex’s quarter-mile, featuring Pro Mods and other high-performance racers. Both door-slammers and dragsters are intending to battle for bragging rights and the Shootout trophy. On the 12th, professional testing is available for Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle, Top Alcohol Funny Car and Top Alcohol Dragster, together with the Champion’s Dinner featuring last year’s winners: Justin Ashley, Ron Capps, Greg Anderson and Matt Smith.
Sportsman qualifying begins on Thursday, October 13th and off-site activities include the popular Fan Fest in downtown Waxahachie, while the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors in all four classes, together with Pro Mod and Top Fuel Harley, begin their qualifying on Friday, have final qualifying on Saturday and compete for Wally winner’s trophies on Sunday, October 16th.
For the past three years, the Meyer family has inducted superb members of the NHRA drag racing community as members of its Texas Motorplex Legends. In 2019 Top Fuel standout Cory McClenathan got the nod, followed by eight-time Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher in 2020. Last year those honors went to Don “Snake” Prudhomme and 50-year NHRA photographer and owner of Auto Imagery Richard Shute.
This year’s honorees are Greg Anderson, the five-time NHRA Pro Stock champion who is the overall winningest driver in this class, having earned his 99th victory at the 2021 season closer when he secured his fifth title – Anderson won his 100th at this year’s Dodge Power Brokers U.S. Nationals – and ace drag racing publicist Dave Densmore, who, over four decades has worked both with the NHRA sanctioning organization, the Texas Motorplex track and with some of the most successful teams in the business, including John Force Racing and Torrence Racing.
Anderson began his career as a crew member and, later crew chief for the legendary Warren Johnson, whose win record he broke en route to his 5th title. He worked on three of Johnson’s six Pro Stock championships. Anderson began driving in 1998 and became a member of Ken Black’s team in 2001, which took the name KB Racing when Black and Anderson became partners in 2002. Since then Anderson has won 100 national titles and five championships.
As he thanked Billy Meyer and Christie Meyer Johnson for the honor, Anderson noted, “Winning at Texas Motorplex is always special. When they gibe you that cowboy hat it is pretty cool. The Texas fans are some of the best in the country. I have been lucky to have a lot of success in Texas (six wins) and last year’s win was one for the record books.” Literally – at last year’s Stampede of Speed Anderson broke his former boss WJ’s victory record.
The smiling Texan Densmore – just call him Densy as so many do – began his career as a writer for the Amarillo (TX) Globe-News in the 1970s, where he covered NHRA’s Finals. He moved to the PR side, joining NHRA’s publicity department, then forming Denswood Sports Marketing in 1982 with good friend Steve Earwood. Their clients include Raymond Beadle, Gary Beck, Kenny Bernstein Candies & Hughes, John Force Racing, Billy Meyer, Reher & Morrison and Torrence Racing. Densy was honored with the prestigious Jim Chapman Award for Excellence in Motorsports Public Relations in 2007.
Densmore’s 25-plus years in the trenches with John Force and his eponymous team came during that legend’s most successful campaigns in the Funny Car universe. He has continued to be a publicity and public relations consultant for Texas Motorplex in recent years. “I really don’t think I deserve to be a Legend,” Densmore stated. “I have been fortunate to work with some great teams and drivers, but I liked being in the background. This is a huge honor and I have to thank Billy and Christie for thinking of me.”
The duo will be recognized during pre-race ceremonies on the 16th, before the first round of Camping World eliminations. Last year John Force bowed before Richard Shute as he was honored; will he do the same for Densmore?
By Anne Proffit