Posted on Sunday October 18, 2020

WINNERS CROWNED AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX FALLNATIONALS

WINNERS CROWNED AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX FALLNATIONALS 

DALLAS (October 18, 2020) — The 35th annual AAA Texas FallNationals wrapped up with new and familiar winners at the inaugural NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series national event. In front of an excited and vocal motorsports crowd drivers and riders were showered with cheers as win lights lit up at the end of the day for Texan Steve Torrence in Top Fuel, Jack Beckman in Funny Car, Matt Hartford in Pro Stock and Jerry Savoie in Pro Stock Motorcycle. 

“We had an awesome weekend and I would like to congratulate all the winners at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals,” said Andy Carter, Texas Motorplex General Manager. “From Friday Night Live to qualifying to the opening ceremonies today and all the great racing we could not be happier. Everyone at the Motorplex has to thank Governor Greg Abbott and Ellis County Judge Chad Little for their efforts to allow us to host thousands of fans this weekend. We had a great, safe and fun event.” 

Jerry Savoie won back to back Pro Stock Motorcycle titles defeating Joey Gladstone in the final round. It had been a year since Savoie’s last Pro Stock Motorcycle win which was also here at the FallNationals. 

“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.” 

In Pro Stock Matt Hartford took out two of the toughest competitors in the history of the class in the semifinals and finals to record his FallNationals win. In the semis her defeated Texas favorite Erica Enders and he followed that up with a win over 94-time Pro Stock winner Greg Anderson. 

“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.” 

All season Don Schumacher Racing has had a stranglehold on Funny Car victories and today was no different as the team was guaranteed their ninth consecutive Funny Car win of 2020 as Jack Beckman raced point leader and No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan for the FallNationals title. It was a tremendous race that saw Beckman defeating his teammate and reinserting himself in the championship discussion. 

“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.” 

The biggest roar from the Texas Motorplex crowd rained down on the starting line when the pair of Torrence Racing Top Fuel dragsters pulled up to close out racing in the Top Fuel final round. The Torrences, two-time world champion Steve Torrence and father Billy Torrence, live in Kilgore and for the past two seasons they have dominated the FallNationals. They did not disappoint as Steve narrowly defeated his father to take his second AAA Texas FallNationals title. 

“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.” 

Photos by Randy Curtis