Team Summit Pro Stock Camaro NHRA Finals 2020
(Image/Richard Shute)

The final race of the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series concluded with a semifinals finish for Greg Anderson. The Pro Stock championship came down to the very last race of the season, the Dodge NHRA Finals, with Jason Line just missing adding a fourth title to his already impressive catalog.

Anderson, competing in the 480th Pro Stock race of his storied career, had the car to beat all weekend long at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The four-time Pro Stock champion claimed the 106th No. 1 qualifier award of his career with an absurdly quick 6.601-second pass. The phenomenal run down one of his very favorite racetracks stood strong through the course of the weekend as the quickest of them all. On raceday in Las Vegas, the driver with more wins than any other Pro Stock competitor brought crushing horsepower to the table every run.

His 6.629, 207.02 obliterated Aaron Strong’s 6.708, 204.08 in the first round, and his 6.620, 207.53 was well ahead of everyone else in round two – including opponent Aaron Stanfield, who put up a 6.648, 205.76. Anderson was again best of the round when it came down to the numbers on the scoreboard with his 6.625, 207.66 (top speed), but Erica Enders left the starting line first to claim a very narrow triumph with a 6.642, 206.42. The margin of victory was just .009.

“I’m pretty darn proud of our race team,” said Anderson, who will ride with the No. 4 on his window next year. “Our Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaros were great, especially these last three or four races. This is the best car I’ve had in a long time. You look at this class and the talent within it, and you can’t help but see good things for the future of Pro Stock. I’m looking forward to being part of it for many more years.”

Diverse drag racer Bo Butner is trading out full-time Pro Stock racing for a more a la carte schedule going forward. He isn’t retiring from racing but made his last journey down the racetrack in the KB Racing-equipped Strutmasters/Jim Butner Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Qualified in the No. 11 position, Butner was at a disadvantage in the first round but used effective driving to put teammate Deric Kramer on the trailer. Butner was .028 at the tree and clocked a 6.658, 204.57 to his challenger’s .050, 6.636, 205.57. In round two, though, it was another KB Racing-powered driver who got the nod – Koretsky. The young gun was .028 to Butner’s .049 and carried the advantage to a 6.645, 205.98 win over a 6.696, 106.33.

Pro Stock Legend Retires

Line finished his Pro Stock career No. 2 in the world, and although a first-round loss was disheartening, the 51-time Pro Stock winner was satisfied to turn the page on this chapter of his career. Line will now transition away from the driver’s seat to focus fully on his role in the engine shop and dyno room at KB Racing. The transition will allow the father of two to spend more time with his family.

“There will be a lot of things that I will miss – the fans, the relationships you build with people you get to see out here – but I won’t miss driving the car,” said Line. “It’s been a good ride. Pro Stock is a very humbling class, and despite the times when I’ve come up short or underachieved, I still have no regrets. I’m certainly looking forward to this next chapter.”

2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Pro Stock Standings

(after NHRA Finals)

  1. Erica Enders, 922
  2. Jason Line, 755
  3. Jeg Coughlin Jr., 747
  4. Greg Anderson, 693
  5. Matt Hartford, 628
  6. Alex Laughlin, 582
  7. Aaron Stanfield, 563
  8. Chris McGaha, 487
  9. Bo Butner, 477
  10. Deric Kramer, 458

Wilkerson puts on quite a show

The conclusion of the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series could have come out better for Tim Wilkerson and his Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford Mustang nitro Funny Car team, but no one can say that they didn’t put on one heck of a show on Sunday at the Dodge NHRA Finals. Wilkerson logged out of the season, his 25th behind the wheel of a nitro Funny Car, with a 13th consecutive top 10 finish.

Wilkerson flew down the dragstrip to a 3.940-second pass at 322.88 mph in the first round of qualifying and backed it up with a 3.963 in the second session. Qualified in the No. 8 position, he drew J.R. Todd as a first-round opponent.

“It’s not a good draw for us, but it’s not a good draw for them, either,” said Wilkerson ahead of their match. They had met six times before in the first round and were split, 3-3.  Two of their previous first-round meetings were this season, and they were split there, too.

It was anyone’s game in their match at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and they were fairly close leaving the starting line. Wilkerson had surged ahead by the time they reached the 330-foot timer, but he then began to smoke the tires. Todd followed suit, and they were both on and off the throttle trying to get to the finish line first.

Just as Todd was approaching the finish line stripe, Wilkerson’s Levi, Ray and Shoup Ford was launched into the lane behind him, and Wilkerson got a face full of parachutes as Todd was unaware of the situation.

“It dropped three holes on the left side when I pedaled it,” said Wilkerson, breathless after the run that had him working the steering wheel without much of a view. “It was pretty interesting; I was just doing my best not to hit J.R. Thank God he didn’t slam on the brakes or anything, or it would have been ugly.

Wilkerson was in a position to win the round until his engine decided to let three of the cylinders go silent.

“I pedaled and got back into it real easy, and I could just see his nose and then he was disappearing,” Wilk explained. “I was like, ‘Oh man, I’m gonna get there.’ I was leaning on it, and then it just goes ‘woosh.’ As soon as it started to turn, I lifted off the gas completely, then his parachutes came out and hit me in the windshield. It hit the car like, ‘clunk clunk’ and I thought, ‘gosh dangit.’ It was ugly. There isn’t much you can do about it after it happens, but I’m just glad we didn’t run into each other.”

Wilkerson had hoped to end the season on a positive note and add another trophy to the 20 he has already claimed in the class, but his focus is now turned to next season.

“We’re going to head home and analyze our part situation, see what we need, then start working on next year,” he said. “I’m excited and grateful for all of the help that we’ve had this year, and hopefully next year we can have some of these great folks on board again and get them to the winner’s circle. We’ve been associated with some great folks for a long time, and I have to thank Dick Levi and everyone at Levi, Ray and Shoup, Jason Curry and everyone at Curry’s Transportation, Summit Racing Equipment, and especially Ford Motor Company. We’re just so pleased to be associated with them, and we really want to make them proud. Next year should be even better.”

2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series Funny Standings

(after the NHRA Finals)

  1. Matt Hagan, 1020
  2. Tommy Johnson Jr., 915
  3. Jack Beckman, 848
  4. Ron Capps, 828
  5. Bob Tasca III, 679
  6. J.R. Todd, 663
  7. Tim Wilkerson, 615
  8. Alexis DeJoria, 605
  9. Paul Lee, 464
  10. Cruz Pedregon, 436

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