Greg Anderson Drives to History Making Victory at Texas NHRA Fall Nationals

 

Photos Courtesy of NHRA Media

On a wild final day at this weekend’s Texas NHRA FallNationals at Ennis, TX’s own Texas Motorplex, one driver who was recently inducted into the North Carolina Auto Racing Hall of Fame, would carve his place into Pro Stock history. After tying his mentor Warren Johnson for the most career wins in mid-September in Reading, it only took three more races and two more finals to break this tie and become the new Greg Anderson – the winningest driver in NHRA Pro Stock history. After coming up short against KB Racing teammate Kyle Koretsky in Charlotte and an upset second-round loss two weeks again in St. Louis. Anderson left no doubt in Dallas and clinched his history making win after Chris McGaha’s final-round red-light in Sunday’s final. While Greg Anderson’s 98th Pro Stock win was all the talk at this weekend’s Texas NHRA FallNationals, another well known name in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series also made history this weekend after Ron Capps closed the gap on his points-leading teammate Matt Hagan by beating him in a clutch performance in the final round of the Texas NHRA FallNationals. Capps defeated Hagan on a holeshot, 3.93 to 3.91, to collect his second win of the season and the 68th of his career in his 130th final-round appearance. History was also made in Top Fuel after the king of this series had to hand over his crown to a rookie on Sunday after Justin Ashley pulled off a major upset in the Top Fuel final at the Texas NHRA FallNationals defeating points-leading world champion and home state favorite Steve Torrence by just .005-seconds.

Pro Stock

The newest king of Pro Stock began his weekend with a No 1 qualifying spot with a solid effort in his HendrickCars.com Camaro, making the best run in three of the four qualifying sessions. As the sun rose on Sunday’s final eliminations Anderson beat red-lighting Marty Robinson and the tire-shaking efforts of Matt Hartford and Troy Coughlin jr. to reach Sunday’s final round against Chris McGaha.

Although Anderson had his sights set high to pull off his most important victory of the season, he also admits that he did not know if he would see that final win light. That is until, “I saw McGaha’s red-light on the scoreboard,” said Anderson. “I had a difficult time getting to the finish line from third gear on down,” he said. “I think I took my arm off the shifter and pumped my fist a couple of times in between gears. I knew that I should not even be looking at the scoreboard, but for some stupid reason I looked at the scoreboard and I saw mine was on. That was a helluva relief!”

Thanks to his 98th career win, the four-time world champion finally surpassed his mentor, Warren Johnson, as Pro Stock’s winningest driver. “I am not going to make any bones about it. I respect Warren Johnson,” said Anderson. “He taught me a ton and I would not be here without everything that he taught me and everything he did for me.”

Funny Car

Greg Anderson was not the only driver to make history at this weekend’s Texas NHRA FallNationals. NHRA Funny Car World Champion Ron Capps began his weekend from the No. 2 qualifying spot. After this Capps continued his hot streak on elimination day with a 3.89-second finish in round one to defeat privateer Jay Wyatt. After this Capps raced to a pair of 3.92-second finishes to take down Paul Lee and Cruz Pedregon before moving on to his points-leading teammate Matt Hagan in Sunday’s final. Hagan, who beat Capps in the 2016 Dallas final for his second of three Motorplex wins, qualified his Western Tech University Dodge No. 4 in the field, then raced past Dale Creasy Jr., Bob Tasca III, and J.R. Todd with a trio of consistent runs (3.91, 391, 3.90) to reach Sunday’s final.

Although Hagan came into Sunday’s final with a recent win at the NHRA Midwest Nationals, after recovering from COVID-19, Capps defeated Hagan on a holeshot with a 3.93-second finish to collect his second win of the season and the 68th of his career in his 130th final-round appearance.

“We have a great race car, a real hot rod, but it is rare to beat Hagan on a holeshot,” said Capps. “I am just so focused for my team, for NAPA Auto Parts, because there is just a lot of stuff going on right now a lot of thoughts rolling around in your brain at this time of year and the Countdown, and I am just trying to focus.”

Thanks to his latest victory Capps now only trails Hagan by just 33 points from the points lead going into the next Countdown race at Bristol Dragway.

Top Fuel

The final history making victory of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series at the Texas Motorplex came in the Top Fuel Series after rookie Justin Ashley pulled off a major upset in the Top Fuel final where he defeated points-leading world champion and home state favorite Steve Torrence by just .005-seconds for his second win in the class.Ashley, a two-time Alcohol Dragster winner whose first Top Fuel win came at last year’s Indianapolis event, which led to him being named 2020’s rookie of the year, qualified in the No. 4 spot. Ashley’s history making weekend continued as he took down Keith Murt in round one, then avenged his loss to 2019 Dallas winner Billy Torrence on a holeshot in round two. Ashley, renowned as the best leaver in the class, again lived up to that reputation by slaying the event’s performance monster, low qualifier Brittany Force’s David Grubnic-wrenched Monster Energy dragster, beating her on a 3.74 to 3.72 holeshot, taking the stripe by just .007-seconds. This would lead Ashley to a final round that he is sure to remember forever.

After lining up alongside his biggest challenger of the weekend, who was looking for his 10th win in 17th events this season and his 50th victory in Top Fuel, Ashley took down Torrence after both drivers left with brilliant .035 reaction times but Ashley’s Mike Green-tuned Smart Sanitizer/Vita C Shot entry got to the finish line first by .005-seconds, with a 3.759-second finish to Torrence’s 3.764-second attempt.

“This win was amazing and definitely one that was a result of pure teamwork” said Ashley. “Everybody did their job. I think that the best teams in the world are the ones who have everyone do their job and do it to the best of their ability. And it was a complete team effort today. You know, I was fortunate and did my job behind the wheel. Mike did an awesome job tuning this race car all weekend and this is why I was able to pull off the wins that I did this weekend.”

These three history makers will have a chance to continue on their successful pace as the Countdown to the Championship continues at the NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals (Oct. 15-17) at Bristol Dragway. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for the latest news from the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

About Ellen Richardson 491 Articles
Ellen Richardson is the author of Behind The Wheel for RacingJunk.com. This automotive sports junkie has a passion for telling an athlete's story while also covering various racing activities. Find out more about her at ellennrichardson.wordpress.com or follow Ellen on Twitter at @ellennrich or Instagram at elnrich33.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


I agree to receive emails from RacingJunk.com. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy