Dominating performances were prevalent as world famous Texas Motorplex plays host to the AAA Texas Fall Nationals….

It was “all Texas all the time” when Steve Torrence powered past his father, Billy, to win the 35th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals.

Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Matt Hartford (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the ninth of 11 races during the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

Points leader Steve Torrence won for the second time in three years at Dallas in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster, going 3.716 seconds at 328.78 mph in the finals to beat Billy’s 3.810 at 323.43. It gave Torrence, who has won back-to-back world titles, his fourth victory in 2020 and 40th overall, as well as another strong showing in front of family and friends. The Torrence family won for the third straight year at the race, as Steve advanced to the final round with wins against Cameron Ferre and Shawn Langdon.

Steve Torrence collected his 40th career win in Top Fuel when he won at the Texas Motorplex.

His father beat Clay Millican, Tony Schumacher and then Doug Kalitta in a pivotal semifinal matchup. By ousting Kalitta, it set up the fourth Torrence father-son final round matchup and also helped extend Steve Torrence’s points lead. Following the win, he now leads Kalitta by 51 points with two races remaining.

“Going into the final, you’re racing your dad and that car is bad to the bone,” said Steve Torrence, who was also the No. 1 qualifier. “He’s done a great job driving and I didn’t know what was going to happen up there. You’re just worried about getting there first and it was just an unbelievable weekend for the Capco team. To represent Capco, to represent Texas and put both cars in the final round, you can’t have a better weekend than that. The semifinal round had huge implications. We’re just battling it out toe-to-toe with Kalitta, and we’ve really kept our nose on the grindstone and we’ve tried to make every lap count.”

Jack Beckman won for the 33rd time in his career to continue the amazing Funny Car class winning ways at DSR

Jack Beckman inched closer to the points lead in Funny Car, racing past teammate Matt Hagan in a thrilling final round with a run of 3.908 at 328.46 in his 11,000-horsepower Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. The win, which is Beckman’s third this year and 33rd in his career, also extended Don Schumacher Racing’s incredible streak of consecutive Funny Car wins to 12, and pulled Beckman to within four points of Hagan, who went 3.943 at 324.20 in the championship round. Beckman reached the finals by defeating Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson and Bob Tasca III, making four consistent passes in the low-3.90s to win Dallas for the first time in his standout Funny Car career.

“We have a phenomenal car,” Beckman said. “I had a good feeling all day today and I think our car is as good as any car out there every time we go out there. I’ve won Indy, I’ve won Pomona and a lot of the major races, but Dallas, since I came here in 1986 to spectate at the very first national event here, was one I would have loved to win. I had 14 shots at it before I finally closed the deal. To have your name listed as the first (to win a Camping World Wally), that can never be taken away from you and it’s just awesome.”

Hagan, who qualified No. 1, remained in the points lead thanks to victories against Todd Simpson, J.R. Todd and teammate Ron Capps. It gave Hagan back-to-back final-round appearances and his 64th overall final.

Matt Hartford was remarkable on the starting line when it mattered in Pro Stock, earning back-to-back holeshot wins, including in the finals to beat Greg Anderson. Hartford went 6.625 at 206.39 in the championship round in his Total Seal/CIP1/Nitro Fish, beating Anderson’s 6.588 at 207.94 thanks to a stellar .018 reaction time. It gave Hartford his first win in 2020 and third overall. Hartford beat Chris McGaha, Bo Butner and defending world champ Erica Enders to reach the finals, slipping past Enders on a holeshot before doing the same to Anderson a round later.

Matt Hartford upset the Pro Stock class at Dallas on Sunday — it was his 3rd career NHRA victory.

“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.”

Anderson beat Kyle Koretsky, Alex Laughlin and longtime rival Jeg Coughlin Jr. to reach his first final round this year and 158th in his career. Enders remained atop the points standings after advancing to the semifinals, with Jason Line dropping 31 points back.

In Pro Stock on Saturday — it was home state favourite female racer and defending Pro Stock world champion Erica Enders moving back into the points lead in impressive fashion. She beat Jason Line in the rescheduled final round for the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Pennzoil event — which was completed during qualifying that day.

Homestate Texas favourite Erica Enders assumed the points lead in Pro Stock – when she won a weather deferred final round (from St. Louis) on Saturday.

Enders won for the third time in 2020 and 28th time in her career, going 6.572-seconds at 208.49 to beat Line in the high-stakes final round. To reach the championship round, Enders also beat Chris McGaha and Greg Anderson on Saturday in Dallas. Line, who was in the points lead entering the round, beat Aaron Stanfield and Matt Hartford on Saturday to reach the finals.

Two Wheel Wizardry

The AAA Texas Fall Nationals weekend included some terrific two-wheeled action with 3 winners determined.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle during Saturday’s event schedule — points leader Matt Smith beat teammate Scotty Pollacheck in the final round of the previously postponed Midwest Nationals (from St. Louis).

Smith went 6.775 at 200.50 on his Denso/Stockseth/MSR EBR to beat Scotty Pollacheck and pick up his second win this season and 26th in his career. Smith also beat Steve Johnson on Saturday of the previously postponed race, going 200 mph on each of his three runs. Pollacheck knocked off Hines in the semifinals to advance to the final round.

Points leader Matt Smith racked up career win #26 on Saturday.

“I tried a little something (in the final) and it worked,” Smith said. “It went fast. It was worth it for me to try something, and things worked out. Hopefully we can be fast again tomorrow. All I can do is my job and hopefully we can turn on win lights. We’ve learned a lot of stuff and to have the quality of bikes we have right now, I think we’re the team to beat.”

Sunday’s Pro Stock Motorcycle eliminator proved to be very good for Louisana’s Jerry Savoie, as he picked up his second straight win at the track by going 6.910 at 191.16 in the final round on his White Alligator Racing Suzuki. It was Savoie’s sixth straight final round at the facility, and he picked up his third career win in Dallas by racing past Joey Gladstone in the championship round. Savoie, who won for the first time since Dallas last year and 13th time overall, beat Marc Ingwersen, Cory Reed and Eddie Krawiec to reach the final round.

Jerry Savoie continued his amazing record at the Texas Motorplex — his win on Sunday marked his 6th straight final round appearance at the fabled facility

“There’s just something about Texas,” Savoie said. “To come here and be in the finals six times and win three, it’s just awesome and a great deal. We’ve really been struggling and (crew chief) Tim (Kulungian) has been working really hard at the shop. We didn’t have the fastest bike today, but luck was on our side and we just out-raced them.”

Gladstone advanced to his first career final round in the class with victories against Hector Arana Jr., Michael Phillips and Angelle Sampey. No. 1 qualifier Matt Smith maintained his points lead despite losing in the first round when his bike would not start, and Scotty Pollacheck stayed in second, 50 behind his teammate.

The race also included the most recent round for the M/T Tires and Wheels present Top Fuel Harley division and that class also included continued domination when Randall Andras prevailed — winning for the 6th time (!) this season.

Andras (who is also from Louisana) qualified #1 with a track record 6.201 secs) and defeated class icon Jay Turner in the final round by a 6.437 secs 227.08 to 6.606 secs 220.87 mph.

Soon to be crowned NHRA World Champion Randal Andras — roared to his 6th win of the season in the Top Fuel Harley class.

The E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod class featured a first time winner when Brandon Snider prevailed driving his potent supercharged C7 Corvette. Snider managed to defeat defending NHRA World Champ Steve Jackson in the title bout using a hole shot.

For more detail on Snider’s victory – link to our VP Racing Fuels Pro Mod Portal report – HERE

Pro Mod class racing produced a much overdue first time NHRA win for Brandon Snider.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown

Oklahoma’s Megan Meyer has inched closer to a successful NHRA Lucas Oil Top Alcohol World Championship title defence — when she won for the 2nd time this season driving her NGK-sponsored dragster.

Megan saved her best for the last when she unloaded low ET of the race – 5.126 secs – to defeat Aaron Cooper and win her 2nd consecutive AAA Texas Fall Nationals event — and with that increased her overall points lead margin.

Defending NHRA Lucas Oil World Champion Megan Meyer — scored a very timely win.

Sportsman level racing highlights also included Aaron Stanfield who won his 3rd race if the season within the School of Automotive Machinists Factory Stock Showdown eliminator. Stanfield (who qualified #2) raced past David Kramer in the all COPO Camaro final round.

The winner’s ledger for the AAA Texas Fall Nationals also included Doug Gordon (TAFC), Brad Plourd (Comp), Hayden Trumble (Super Stock), Lowell Gerber (Stock), Chris Dodd (Super Comp), Evan Kowalski (Super Gas), John Leibham (Super Street) and Scott Barker (Top Dragster).

Lowell Gerber was the winner in Stock eliminator.

For the second straight year at the Dallas event — John Leibham prevailed in the Super Street (10.90) class.

The TAFC final was a marquee affair with Doug Gordon (near lane) besting Sean Bellemeur

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series will now move to a rapid conclusion with back-to-back events scheduled to end it’s season. Oct. 23-25 will see the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals (presented by Pennzoil) also in Texas — at Houston Raceway Park — followed by the NHRA Dodge World Finals at Las Vegas (Oct 30-Nov. 1).

Link to our event photo gallery posted at LMLCMedia:  HERE

Posted with files by NHRA Communications and Bruce Biegler
Photos courtesy of NHRA and Mopar/SRT and by Randy Anderson