One round after clinching his fifth Camping World NHRA Pro Stock championship in a thrilling side-by-side race against reigning champ Erica Enders, Greg Anderson finished off one of the most rewarding weekends of his career when he defeated teammate Kyle Koretsky to win his 99th career NHRA Wally trophy. Ironically, Anderson needed a holeshot to finish the job as his 6.574 crossed the finish line before Koretsky’s quicker 6.567.
“Apparently, I’m not too old. Don’t throw that dirt on the grave just yet,” said Anderson. “I’m so proud to wear the colors of Hendrick cars.com. This weekend things just couldn’t go wrong. I didn’t’ screw it up. This class is awesome. The competition is so close and the rivalries are so intense. Thank you to all our competitors. I can’t wait to come back next year.”
Anderson dominated the Auto Club NHRA Finals from start to finish, setting low elapsed time of all three qualifying rounds on Friday and Saturday and three of the four elimination runs on Sunday. Anderson kicked off eliminations with wins against Mike Callahan and Deric Kramer before facing championship rival Erica Enders in what could have been the most pressure-packed round of his career.
With the championship at stake, Anderson powered to a 6.578 to beat Enders’ tire-shaking 6.742, putting a lock on his fifth championship. Anderson celebrated the win, but it was brief as he returned an hour later to beat Koretsky to claim his 99th career win.
"She’s a bad-to-the bone driver; one of the best there is and you don’t want to go up there and think too much about that," Anderson said. You need to focus on your own lane. My teammate [NASCAR champion] Kyle Larson gave me a shot in the arm. I watched him come from behind with a great pit stop to win and that’s what I needed to get my head together. I did not want to drop the ball. We got it done and I’m bringing home the trophy and another Wally.
"To win 99 races is pretty doggone incredible," said Anderson. "To get to that number and be one away from 100 is amazing. I passed Warren Johnson, my old time mentor. Now 100 is the goal but I don’t want to stop there. Hopefully, I can come back here at the Winternationals and win another.”
As frustrating as the loss may have been, there is no denying that Koretsky has become one of the better drivers in the Pro Stock class. Finishing his second year as a pro, the second-generation driver has now been to five final rounds and earned his first win in Charlotte.
Koretsky was second-quickest in qualifying with a 6.571 and wheeled his Lucas Oil/Nitro Fish Camaro to wins against Troy Coughlin Jr., Aaron Stanfield, and his teammate, Las Vegas winner Dallas Glenn. Koretsky finished the season as the No. 4 ranked driver in the class behind Anderson, Enders, and Glenn.