The day simply could not have gone any better for Greg Anderson. Not only did the four-time world champion finally surpass his mentor, Warren Johnson, as Pro Stock’s winningest driver with his 98th career win, but he also benefited from the early losses of his closest points pursuers on a wild final day of the Texas NHRA FallNationals.
After tying Johnson’s mark in mid-September in Reading, it only took three more races and two more finals to break the tie with his HendricksCars.com Camaro. 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 it on Chris McGaha's final-round red-light.
"I saw [McGaha's red-light] on the scoreboard and I had a difficult time getting to the finish line from third gear on down," he said. " think I took my arm off the shifter and pumped my fist a couple of times in between gears. I shouldn't 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
"As soon as I stepped out of the car I got a call from Mr. [Rick] Hendrick at the finish line and [NASCAR teammate] Kyle Larson won today in the HendrickCars.com Chevrolet then Jim Campbell, the president of Chevrolet, jumps on the phone as excited as can be. I'm just I'm honored to be part of it.
"I'm not gonna make any bones about it. I respect Warren Johnson]. He taught me a ton and I would not be here without everything that he taught me and everything he did for me."
Anderson, five times previously a winner in Dallas (2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2019), qualified his HendrickCars.com Camaro No 1 with a solid effort, making the best run in three of the four qualifying sessions, then looked as dominant in eliminations Sunday where he capitalized on his opponents’ miscues who were trying to make up their performance disadvantage.
Anderson beat red-lighting Marty Robinson and the tire-shaking efforts of Matt Hartford and Troy Coughlin jr. to reach the final, the 166th of his hall of fame career.
Second-round losses by his closest points rivals, Erica Enders and Dallas Glenn, and a first-round loss by fourth-place Kyle Koretsky give Anderson a big advantage heading into the final three races of the season. His lead over Enders, which was at 17 before the event, now stands at 81 points.
McGaha reached his first final since winning the 2019 Norwalk event. McGaha, who lives just five hours from Texas Motorplex in Odessa, Texas, had a heroic day behind the wheel of his Harlow Sammons Camaro, cutting reaction times of .011, .005, and .013 en route to beating his son, Mason (for the first time in four meetings this season), red-hot rookie Dallas Glenn, and Aaron Stanfield. A round before facing McGaha, Stanfield dropped jaws by beating Enders on a 6.67 to 6.65 holeshot, then died by that same sword against McGaha, 6.695 to 6.690.