|L-R: Crampton, Worsham, Enders, Savoie|
|Rhonda McCole AutoImagery
Erica Enders became the winningest female in a single season in NHRA history with her victory in Pro Stock Sunday at the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals.
Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Del Worsham (Funny Car), and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also victorious at the 22nd of 24 events of the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and the fourth of six races in the Countdown to the Championship.
Enders powered her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro to a 6.467-second run at 214.48 mph to defeat Jonathan Gray and earn her eighth victory of the year, breaking Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Angelle Sampey’s record of seven wins in 2001. The Houston native also claimed her 20th career victory and first victory at Texas Motorplex just outside of Dallas.
“I have been talking about a cowboy hat for months – wanting to come here and win a cowboy hat – so I’m excited to be able to get that done in front of all of our friends and family," said Enders, who extends her points lead to 154 over Greg Anderson heading to Las Vegas. “It’s just a huge blessing. You know I didn’t drive my best in the final round, and my guys stepped up to the plate and picked up my slack, so I’m so appreciative to them. We just have such great team chemistry and great horsepower, so I’m a happy girl."
Gray was appearing in his second final of the season in his Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro. He defeated Alex Laughlin, rookie Bo Butner, and Allen Johnson to reach the final.
In Top Fuel, Crampton pushed his Lucas Oil dragster to a 3.972 at 283.07 win over Texas native Steve Torrence. Crampton, the 2014 Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner, earned his seventh career victory, fifth of the year and first in Dallas. The naturalized U.S. citizen and native of Australia moves to third in points with two races remaining.
“We started out pretty strong in qualifying," said Crampton. “You figure you might have an easy first-round if you qualify in the top half, but we pulled Doug Kalitta, and that team is tough. We were really lucky to throw that 3.70 down and get around him. Our race car fought us all day long from that point on. I was helping the guys change clutch controls between rounds twice today, and that’s a pretty big process. At the end of the day, I’m just beat."
Local favorite Torrence pushed his Capco Contractors dragster to his third final of the season and first in Dallas, beating Larry Dixon, Shawn Langdon, and Clay Millican.
Points leader Antron Brown and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher held on to first and second place, respectively, in points. Brown holds a 132-point advantage over Schumacher, who fell in the first round to Millican. Brown reached the semifinals, falling to Crampton.
Worsham came up big in Funny Car with a 4.041 at 272.17 win in his DHL Toyota Camry over Jack Beckman’s 4.077 at 286.25 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T during the final round. Worsham, the current points leader, earned his 37th career victory (29 in FC) and has won three of the first four Countdown to the Championship races.
“It was a great weekend," said Worsham, who now owns a 38-point lead over Beckman. “The car ran well all weekend other than the final round, where it got a little squirrely. It was challenging today. We didn’t have the fastest car all day. Being in the right lane one round didn’t seem to matter, and we got ourselves in a final round. We kind of showed the depth we have right now at Kalitta Motorsports to come back from that explosion [in the St. Louis final] and win all these rounds."
Beckman, who was coming off a victory at the most recent event in Reading, powered past Tony Pedregon, 16-time world champion John Force, and teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. en route to his ninth final-round appearance in 2015.
Savoie rode his Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki to his third Pro Stock Motorcycle victory of 2015 with a 6.744 at 198.44 win over Eddie Krawiec. The result was the fourth career win for Savoie, the event’s No. 1 qualifier, and his first in Dallas. The win moves the alligator farmer to third in points.
“When you're making the power like we had this weekend, and I can't thank Vance & Hines enough for that, you don't want to throw it away on a red-light," said Savoie. “We tried to set up the clutch and myself for .050 reaction times, and we ended up a bit slower than that. But we managed to get away with a couple of close ones, so all is good."
Krawiec, who is second in points, raced past Angie Smith, Hector Arana Jr., and Chip Ellis in the earlier rounds.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series next travels to Las Vegas for the NHRA Toyota Nationals, Oct. 29-Nov. 1, for the fifth of six NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship events.