Texas Motorplex Fetes Fall Champs at Annual Stampede

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, October 13 2022

Pro Stocker Greg Anderson was honored at the Motorplex on Wednesday. (File photo courtesy of the NHRA)

By John Sturbin | Senior Writer

ENNIS, Texas _ Day 6 of the second annual Stampede of Speed at Texas Motorplex featured launch of an event envisioned to become a champions tradition, and one champion’s untraditional ask.

Motorplex co-owners Billy Meyer and Christie Meyer Johnson feted the four professional class winners from last October’s Texas NHRA FallNationals during Wednesday night’s inaugural Champions Dinner.  Justin Ashley (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) revisited their victories before a full house inside the track’s upscale Champions Club.

“It’s a tradition we really wanted to start,” said Motorplex founder Billy Meyer, a former Funny Car driver and International Drag Racing Hall of Famer.

“Our goal is to grow drag racing. That’s what we’ve been doing the last six days,” said Christie Meyer Johnson, Billy’s daughter and Motorplex president. The Stampede of Speed is a 10-day festival of music, drag racing and fan experiences in advance of the Camping World Drag Racing Series’ only national event in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

During his Q&A session on-stage, Anderson jokingly raised the ante. “I’d like to ask Billy to start another tradition this weekend_ triple points _ because I need a miracle,” said Anderson, the five-time/reigning Pro Stock world champion from Ken Black Racing.

Anderson will roll into the opening two rounds of qualifying Friday afternoon for the event’s 37th annual edition fifth in the “Factory Hot Rod” standings, 160-points/eight rounds of racing behind arch-rival Erica Enders of Elite Motorsports. This weekend’s race is Round 4 of the six-event Countdown to the Champions playoffs.

“It seems like every year in Pro Stock this is the pivotal race,” said Anderson, who wheeled his Chevrolet Camaro SS to his 98th career victory here last year to break a tie with retired mentor/six-time world champ Warren “The Professor” Johnson. “Every year we come here it’s an honor _ the first ‘super-track.’ We as Pro Stock drivers, we love that. It was built by a racer.

“This is the coolest event I’ve been to in years. I would not leave my race shop on a Wednesday for just any event. I’m thrilled to be here with you.”

Anderson added his landmark 100th career victory on Sept. 5 during final eliminations of the 68th annual Dodge Power Brokers NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park. Greg since has watched Enders win two of the first three Countdown events in her Melling/Elite Motorsports Camaro. A four-time world champ, Enders has fashioned a 120-point/six rounds of racing lead over runnerup and teammate Aaron Stanfield with 12 point-paying rounds remaining.

“I need a lot of miracles to happen,” said Anderson, referring to the three-race stretch that begins at The Plex and continues at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif.

“Erica Enders has had a fantastic year and deserves this title,” said Anderson, acknowledging the Houston native’s class-leading eight wins in 16 Pro Stock events. “Not that we won’t stop trying, but there’s never been that kind of a (points) collapse.”

The honors will continue for Anderson this weekend, when he and longtime drag racing publicist Dave Densmore will be recognized as Texas Motorplex Legends during opening ceremonies. Anderson is the second driver in NHRA history to reach 100 career victories, joining 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force. “Brute” Force scored his 155th career win on May 1 during the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C.

A 61-year-old native of Duluth, Minn., now residing in Charlotte, N.C., Anderson is the winningest Pro Stock driver in Motorplex history with six FallNationals titles, including that historic 98th career win on Oct. 10, 2021. Anderson has prevailed down The Plex’s all-concrete surface in 2003, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2019 and 2021.

Densmore, a 77-year-old resident of Elgin, outside Austin, received the prestigious Jim Chapman Award for Excellence in Motorsports Public Relations in 2007. “Densy” and Anderson will join this list of Texas Motorplex Legends: Cory McClenathan (2019); Tony Schumacher (2020); Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Richard Shute (2021).

Fans can visit www.stampedeofspeed.com for additional information and to purchase tickets. The remaining Stampede of Speed schedule (subject to revision):

Thursday, Oct. 13, Texas NHRA FallNationals Sportsman Qualifying and Fan Fest in Downtown Waxahachie _ Racing continues as the FallNationals begin with Sportsman qualifying from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (CDT). The free Fan Fest will start in downtown Waxahachie at 6 p.m., highlighting race cars, interactive games, live music and family-oriented activities through 9 p.m. A driver autograph session will cap an evening including food trucks and games for kids.

Friday, Oct. 14, Friday Night Live at Texas Motorplex _ For the third consecutive year, Friday Night Live will modify the traditional qualifying format as music, exhibition runs and a guest DJ will complement NHRA’s pro qualifiers. The night will conclude with a free after-party on the starting line.

Saturday, Oct. 15, Final Texas NHRA FallNationals Qualifying _ Last chances for Countdown drivers and their crews to fill the 16-car ladders for Sunday’s eliminations. Teams will have two runs to make the show or be relegated to spectator status.

Sunday, Oct. 16, Texas NHRA FallNationals Race Day _ Following opening ceremonies, top drag racers from around the country will move one step closer to an NHRA world championship at the only Countdown playoff race in the Lone Star State. As always, the pits will be open for fans to mix-and-mingle with racers throughout the day. At the conclusion of racing, fans will be allowed to join the Winner’s Circle celebration on the starting line.


Countdown to the Championship point standings (top-10) heading into this weekend’s 37th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Ennis:

Top Fuel _1. Justin Ashley, 2,305; 2. Steve Torrence, 2,291; 3. Brittany Force, 2,275; 4. Mike Salinas, 2,270; 5. Antron Brown, 2,262; 6. Josh Hart, 2,241; 7. Doug Kalitta, 2,217; 8. Clay Millican, 2,179; 9. Shawn Langdon, 2,162; 10. Austin Prock, 2,161; 11. Leah Pruett, 2126; 12. Tony Schumacher, 2118.

Funny Car _1. Robert Hight, 2,404; 2. Ron Capps, 2,358; 3. Matt Hagan, 2,301; 4. John Force, 2,290; 5. Bob Tasca III, 2,234; 6. Alexis DeJoria, 2,187; 7. J.R. Todd, 2,185; 8. Tim Wilkerson, 2,175; 9. Cruz Pedregon, 2,159; 10. Jim Campbell, 2,085.

Pro Stock _1. Erica Enders, 2,427; 2. Aaron Stanfield, 2,307; 3. Kyle Koretsky, 2,274; 4. Troy Coughlin Jr., 2,270; 5. Greg Anderson, 2,267; 6. Dallas Glenn, 2,257; 7. Matt Hartford, 2,233; 8. Mason McGaha, 2,125; 9. (tie) Bo Butner, 2,117; Camrie Caruso, 2,117; 11. (tie) Fernando Cuadra Jr., 2095; Deric Kramer, 2095; 13. Cristian Cuadra, 2086; 14. Chris McGaha, 2054; 15. Fernando Cuadra Sr., 2043.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _1. Matt Smith, 2,290; 2. Joey Gladstone, 2,269; 3. Angie Smith, 2,200; 4. Eddie Krawiec, 2,184; 5. Steve Johnson, 2,183; 6. Jerry Savoie, 2,182; 7. Angelle Sampey, 2,174; 8. Marc Ingwersen, 2,138; 9. Karen Stoffer, 2,109; 10. Ryan Oehler, 2,088.



Sept. 15-18 _ Pep Boys NHRA Nationals, Maple Grove Raceway, Reading, Pa: Austin Prock (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Joey Gladstone (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Sept. 23-25 _ Charlotte NHRA Nationals, zMAX Dragway, Concord, N.C.: Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock).

Sept. 30-Oct. 2 _ NHRA Midwest Nationals, World Wide Technology Raceway, Madison, Ill.: Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Oct. 13-16 _ Texas NHRA FallNationals, Texas Motorplex, Ennis.

Oct. 27-30 _ NHRA Nevada Nationals, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Nov. 10-13 _ Auto Club NHRA Finals, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Calif.

Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1995) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service, Ford Racing and Used Car Dealer magazine).


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Thursday, October 13 2022
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