Jack Beckman, Steve Torrence, Matt Hartford, Jerry Savoie claim the NHRA FallNationals

With the championship looming in the background, the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association) visited the Texas Motorplex this past weekend for the ninth race of the 2020 season.

Don Schumacher Racing continued their winning ways in the Funny Car division Sunday afternoon by scoring their 12th consecutive victory by a Don Schumacher entry when No. 6 qualifier Jack Beckman ousted his teammate Matt Hagan in the final.

Beckman defeated Hagan going 328.46 mph and 3.908 seconds to Hagan’s 324.20 mph and 3.943 ET. The victory was Beckman’s third of the season and the 33rd of his career. In addition, the victory was also Beckman’s first at the Texas Motorplex.


American Muscle

“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.”

Jack Beckman Wins At Texas MotorPlex, Photo Courtesy of Auto Imagery.

Unfortunately for Hagan, he had to settle for a second-place finish, which was the 29th runner-up of his Funny Car career.

“All-and-all another really good day here at Dallas for this Pennzoil/Mopar team. Jack Beckman just had a little better day. They have a great race car, but we have a great race car too. We’ve been keeping pace and we’re going to keep doing our thing for the next two races and see how this thing plays out. I’m super excited we get to do it again in a few days at Houston next weekend. We have a lot of momentum. The team is working great. The guys are doing a great job. We just have a little more work to do.”

In the Top Fuel division, father and son, Steve and Billy Torrence, once again squared off with each other. Prior to getting to the finals, Steve defeated Shawn Langdon in the semis, while Billy got the victory beating Doug Kalitta when Kalitta ended up smoking the tires. Steve had a much quicker reaction time of .058 to Billy’s .076, and winning with an ET of 3.716 seconds, 328.76 mph to score his 40th career win as a Top Fuel competitor, the fourth win of the season. His dad Billy had to settle for his second runner-up of the year.

“That was huge,” admitted the younger Torrence, “My dad was a little late (reacting to the starting signal). I was, too (against Shawn Langdon). But those bad-to-the-bone Capco Boys pulled it out (with better performing race cars). I’m just thankful to the good Lord that we’re out here and we can do this. We’re having a blast.”

Torrence was able to increase his championship points by 51 over Kalitta.

“I’ve said it multiple times – Doug Kalitta is probably the best driver who never won the championship,” Torrence said. “I have a ton of respect for him and for that team and I think that’s why they bring out the best in us.”

Smoke billows from Steve Torrence’s Capco Contractors dragster after it won the Top Fuel champion in Sunday’s 35th annual AAA Texas Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex in Dallas.  The NHRA Camping World tour moves this week to Houston for the 33rd Mopar Express Lane Spring Nationals postponed from last April by the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo Courtesy of Mark Rebilas.

Unlike the weather conditions in St. Louis a few weeks ago, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle were able to finish all of their rounds at the Fall Nationals Sunday afternoon. Matt Hartford in the Total Seal Pistons Rings Chevrolet Camaro picked up his first win of the 2020 season. Hartford’s victory came against Greg Anderson, as Hartford edged Anderson with an ET of 6.625 and 206.39 mph. The ET and mph were slower than Anderson’s 6.588 and 207.94 mph, but the hole shot ultimately gave the victory to Hartford. Hartford went .018 off the line, as Anderson could only manage .066 reaction time. He reached the finals by getting the holeshot against Enders as well. The FallNationals victory was Hartford’s third of his NHRA Pro Stock career.

“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 (Enders) 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.”

Matt Hartford Earns Victory No. 1 of the season at Texas Motorplex, Photo Courtesy of Chevy Racing.

Anderson will have to wait for the Houston Nationals next weekend if he wants win No. 64 of his career.

“My guys did a great job, and they saved my bacon all day long,” said Anderson, who moved up to the No. 5 position in the Pro Stock points with his performance. “They tried again in the final and I dropped the ball. I have to figure out what I’m doing wrong. I’m not a guy who cuts a .060 light. I’m doing something wrong, I just don’t know what yet. That’s what I’m going to be working on before we get to Houston next week, because if I can get that figured out, we’re going to win.”

Greg Anderson at the 35th annual AAA Texas Fall Nationals, Photo Courtesy of Auto Imagery.

Finally, in the Pro Stock Motorcycle division, Jerry Savoie won for the 13th time in his NHRA career. Savoie defeated rider and competitor Jerry Gladstone to earn his first victory of the 2020 NHRA season. Savoie won with an ET of 6.910 seconds and 191.16 mph to Gladstone’s 7.005 and 192.69 mph. Like Hartford’s victory, Savoie got the holeshot by having a reaction time of .050 to Galdestone’s .072 to give him the victory.

“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.”

Jerry Savoie Enjoys FallNats Victory at Texas Motorplex, Photo Courtesy of NHRA.

Updated Points Standings following the FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.

Funny Car Standings

  1. Matt Hagan, 762 points
  2. Jack Beckman, -4
  3. Tommy Johnson Jr, -77
  4. Ron Capps, -174
  5. Bob Tasca III, -224
  6. Tim Wilkerson, -224
  7. J.R. Todd, -236
  8. Alexis DeJoria, -348
  9. Paul Lee, -411
  10. Cruz Pedregon, -427

Top Fuel Standings

  1. Steve Torrence, 764 points
  2. Doug Kalitta, -51
  3. Leah Pruett, -148
  4. Billy Torrence, -166
  5. Shawn Langdon, -273
  6. Antron Brown, -306
  7. Justin Ashley, -311
  8. Terry McMillen, -328
  9. Clay Millican, -383
  10. Tony Schumacher, -470

Pro Stock Standings

  1. Erica Enders, 696
  2. Jason Line, -31
  3. Jeg Coughlin, -93
  4. Matt Hartford, -181
  5. Greg Anderson, -208
  6. Alex Laughlin, -228
  7. Chris McGaha, -314
  8. Deric Kramer, -325
  9. Aaron Stanfield, -328
  10. Bo Butner, -331

Pro Stock Motorcycle Standings

  1. Matt Smith, 503 points
  2. Scotty Pollacheck, -50
  3. Andrew Hines, -61
  4. Angelle Sampey, -92
  5. Eddie Krawiec, -116
  6. Angie Smith, -196
  7. Ryan Oehler, -202
  8. Steve Johnson, -232
  9. Jerry Savoie, -236
  10. Hector Arana Jr, -251

Up Next: The NHRA will remain in Texas, as the series will travel to Baytown, Texas for the Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals Presented By Pennzoil at Houston Raceway Park on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 24 and 25, with eliminations on Sunday, Oct. 25.


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