Three Pro Stock races at the 2020 AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals were decided by .001-second, two of which played a major part in the event’s outcome and one of them may have a major impact on the season championship.
Few people gave Matt Hartford much of a chance against Erica Enders in the semifinals. The points leader was hot off of her win the previous evening in the rain-delayed Midwest Nationals final and intent on doubling up in front of the partisan Texas crowd.
Neither driver was in a hurry to pre-stage or stage, with Enders going in first each time, and the ploy paid off for Hartford with a .008 reaction time to her .025 and paid off with a 6.641 to 6.625 holeshot victory by just .001-second to avenge his final-round loss to her at the U.S. Nationals.
Prior to the semifinals, Hartford had defeated another Texas favorite, Chris McGaha, in the Reher-Morrison-Shepherd tribute car with a 6.609 and former world champ Bo Butner in round two with a 6.629.
Hartford was quick on the light again in the final round against Greg Anderson, reacting with a .018 light to Anderson’s .066 and pushed his Total Seal Camaro to a holeshot victory over the former world champ, 6.625 to 6.588.
“The final was big because I’m now at three wins, but really the semifinal run was what set it apart for us,” Hartford said. “Erica is just so dominant on the tree and I just decided I was going to take my time, take a couple deep breaths and not be in a hurry. There was a lot on the line and to come back in the final round and win, it’s incredible to have another Wally. To hold the first ever Camping World Wally in Pro Stock, that never gets forgotten. For me, it’s just incredible. It wasn’t an easy road today, but we’ve had a good car all year long. To have the fans out here supporting us, it was great.”
Runner-up Anderson barely escaped his first-round race with rookie of the year finalist Kyle Korestky, surrendering a starting-line holeshot to the second-generation driver, only to eke past him at the stripe by .001-second with a 6.56. Anderson raced past Gatornationals champ Alex Laughlin in the second round with a 6.59, then defeated Erica Enders’ Elite teammate, Jeg Coughlin Jr., in the semifinals, 6.61 to 6.62, to reach his 16th career final.