NHRA: Greg Anderson, Karen Stoffer have storybook finishes in Gatornationals

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Just over 13 months ago, Greg Anderson didn’t know if he’d ever compete in another drag race in his life.

Beset with a significant medical issue, the four-time NHRA Pro Stock champ missed several races in the early part of the 2014 campaign recovering from heart surgery.

And heart was what Anderson showed in Sunday’s final eliminations of the 46th Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., earning his 75th career victory and first in nearly three years.

Anderson’s run of 6.538 seconds at 213.43 mph defeated teammate Jason Line, making it Anderson’s first Pro Stock win since Englishtown, N.J., in 2012. It was also Anderson’s third career triumph in the Gatornationals.

“It’s a special day and weekend,” Anderson said. “It was my birthday yesterday so it’s pretty darn cool. A year ago I couldn’t even come to this race [due to the surgery]. It was a great day for Greg Anderson, KB Racing and everyone involved with us.”

It was also a special day for Karen Stoffer, who had not competed in an NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle race since Labor Day weekend in 2013 at the U.S. Nationals In Indianapolis.

But it was pretty clear Stoffer had no rust this weekend from her hiatus, defeating three-time world champ Eddie Krawiec in Sunday’s final round to earn her seventh career PSM win and the first since 2011.

It was also Stoffer’s second career Gatornationals win, covering the quarter-mile in the first PSM event of the 2015 schedule in 6.900 seconds at very stout 195.11 mph on her Suzuki.

“We had a lot of heart and a lot of passion,” Stoffer said. “We don’t have a big budget but we certainly have a big heart.

“We certainly tried to get some high performance out of it and we were able to do it. The boys worked hard, worked till about midnight each night and gave us a good bike on Sunday.”

In Top Fuel, a great jump at the starting line powered Spencer Massey past Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher in the final round.

Massey ran 3.882 seconds at 320.74 mph. But his jump at the starting line overcame Schumacher’s quicker 3.873 second run (at 313.29 mph).

It was Massey’s first career win at Gainesville and 18th of his career, tying him with Shirley Muldowney and Darrell Gwynn for 12th place on the all-time NHRA Top Fuel wins list.

“I know that (Schumacher) can step his game up and be deadly when he needs to on the starting line,” Massey said. “We’ve got four new members on the team and three of four haven’t won a race. Now they’ve won the Gators.”

In Funny Car, Ron Capps earned his 44th career win and third at Gainesville with a run of 4.115 seconds at 311.05 mph over first-time finalist John Hale.

The win moves Capps into a tie with Tony Pedregon for second place on the all-time Funny Car wins list.

“When you’ve got a race car like today, you almost wait for something to go wrong,” Capps said. “I’ve driven for almost 18 years and I feel like I find myself driving the car as if I am driving something that’s just so far behind the other cars. I think that really helped me this weekend.”

The fourth and next event on the 24-race Mello Yello Drag Racing Series takes place March 27-29 in the sixth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C. (suburban Charlotte).


FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Spencer Massey; 2.  Tony Schumacher; 3.  Shawn Langdon; 4.  Antron Brown; 5.  Richie Crampton; 6.  Brittany Force; 7.  J.R. Todd; 8.  Clay Millican; 9.  Doug Kalitta; 10.  Dave Connolly; 11.  Steve Torrence; 12.  Terry McMillen; 13.  Chris Karamesines; 14.  Leah Pritchett; 15.  Morgan Lucas; 16.  Larry Dixon.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Ron Capps; 2.  John Hale; 3.  Tim Wilkerson; 4.  Blake Alexander; 5.  Jack Beckman; 6.  Alexis DeJoria; 7.  Cruz Pedregon; 8.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 9.  Tony Pedregon; 10.  Courtney Force; 11.  Chad Head; 12.  Del Worsham; 13.  Matt Hagan; 14.  John Force; 15.  Robert Hight; 16.  Dave Richards.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Greg Anderson; 2.  Jason Line; 3.  Rodger Brogdon; 4.  Chris McGaha; 5.  Shane Gray; 6.  Jimmy Alund; 7.  Drew Skillman; 8.  Vincent Nobile; 9.  Larry Morgan; 10.  V. Gaines; 11.  Alan Prusiensky; 12.  John Gaydosh Jr; 13.  Allen Johnson; 14.  Erica Enders-Stevens; 15.  Jonathan Gray.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Karen Stoffer; 2.  Eddie Krawiec; 3.  LE Tonglet; 4.  Shawn Gann; 5.  Hector Arana; 6.  Angie Smith; 7.  Andrew Hines; 8.  Angelle Sampey; 9.  Jerry Savoie; 10.  Steve Johnson; 11.  Chaz Kennedy; 12.  Scotty Pollacheck; 13.  Jim Underdahl; 14.  Hector Arana Jr; 15.  Mike Berry; 16.  Matt Smith.


FINAL ROUND RESULTS:

Top Fuel — Spencer Massey, 3.882 seconds, 320.74 mph  def. Tony Schumacher, 3.873 seconds, 313.29 mph.

Funny Car — Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.115, 311.05  def. John Hale, Charger, 4.208, 289.32.

Pro Stock — Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.538, 213.43  def. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.554, 212.96.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.900, 195.11  def. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 7.884, 122.23.


FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Antron Brown, 8.690, 76.90 def. Larry Dixon, broke; Clay Millican, 3.866, 312.93 def. Leah Pritchett, 7.612, 96.15; Shawn Langdon, 3.781, 318.77 def. Morgan Lucas, 10.084, 78.74; J.R. Todd, 3.795, 322.81 def. Doug Kalitta, 3.809, 321.58; Spencer Massey, 3.768, 329.02 def. Chris Karamesines, 5.421, 122.29; Tony Schumacher, 3.775, 325.45 def. Terry McMillen, 3.863, 309.98; Brittany Force, 3.792, 323.12 def. Dave Connolly, 3.856, 316.60; Richie Crampton, 3.783, 320.05 def. Steve Torrence, 3.859, 321.81;

QUARTERFINALS — Brown, 3.850, 314.90 def. Todd, 4.008, 270.48; Langdon, 3.830, 312.06 def. Crampton, 3.866, 310.13; Schumacher, 3.887, 320.13 def. Millican, 7.009, 87.61; Massey, 3.911, 299.13 def. Force, 3.926, 285.47;

SEMIFINALS — Massey, 3.858, 308.07 def. Brown, 5.182, 144.98; Schumacher, 3.838, 320.58 def. Langdon, 4.323, 241.24;

FINAL — Massey, 3.882, 320.74 def. Schumacher, 3.873, 313.29.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.088, 311.20 def. Tony Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.094, 306.26; John Hale, Dodge Charger, 4.541, 203.16 def. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 5.899, 122.27; Blake Alexander, Charger, 4.151, 303.43 def. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.689, 189.55; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.044, 312.42 def. Dave Richards, Toyota Solara, 10.363, 79.91; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.114, 310.55 def. Chad Head, Camry, 4.126, 300.46; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.145, 303.78 def. Matt Hagan, Charger, 5.312, 241.54; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.099, 311.27 def. Robert Hight, Chevrolet Camaro, 7.619, 87.62; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.112, 312.42 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.105, 315.86;

QUARTERFINALS — Wilkerson, 4.082, 311.63 def. Beckman, 4.096, 308.50; Alexander, 6.302, 128.20 def. Johnson Jr., broke; Capps, 4.130, 310.55 def. C. Pedregon, 4.728, 190.43; Hale, 4.196, 277.37 def. DeJoria, 4.509, 238.22;

SEMIFINALS — Hale, 4.203, 301.20 def. Alexander, 7.443, 93.94; Capps, 4.120, 308.71 def. Wilkerson, 4.112, 308.85;

FINAL — Capps, 4.115, 311.05 def. Hale, 4.208, 289.32.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Vincent Nobile, Chevy Camaro, 6.562, 209.95 def. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 20.384, 33.89; Jimmy Alund, Pontiac GXP, 7.032, 209.59 def. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 13.824, 62.06; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.580, 210.97 def. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 8.041, 124.76; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.533, 212.59 def. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.562, 211.49; Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.528, 212.90 def. John Gaydosh Jr, GXP, 6.728, 206.54; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.498, 213.64 was unopposed; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.515, 213.00 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Avenger, 6.644, 208.97; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.532, 212.79 def. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.588, 211.86;

QUARTERFINALS — Anderson, 6.561, 212.63 def. S. Gray, 6.567, 212.69; Brogdon, 6.542, 212.69 def. Skillman, 12.857, 67.53; Line, 6.528, 212.46 def. Alund, 6.571, 209.30; McGaha, 15.316, 54.94 def. Nobile, broke;

SEMIFINALS — Anderson, 6.560, 213.67 def. McGaha, 21.386, 37.10; Line, 6.535, 213.40 def. Brogdon, 6.540, 213.47;

FINAL — Anderson, 6.538, 213.43 def. Line, 6.554, 212.96.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.880, 195.65 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.950, 194.66; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.923, 194.74 def. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, foul; Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.949, 191.29 def. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 15.609, 43.17; Hector Arana, Buell, 6.928, 193.57 def. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, broke; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.874, 194.77 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.085, 187.99; Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.913, 189.26 def. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, foul; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.883, 193.96 def. Mike Berry, Buell, broke; Angie Smith, 7.070, 179.30 def. Matt Smith, broke;

QUARTERFINALS — Tonglet, 6.927, 194.52 def. Sampey, broke; Krawiec, 6.900, 196.19 def. Arana, 6.902, 195.00; Stoffer, 6.933, 196.07 def. A. Smith, 6.985, 187.91; Gann, 6.953, 192.33 def. Hines, 7.703, 130.67;

SEMIFINALS — Stoffer, 6.917, 196.62 def. Gann, 6.959, 192.58; Krawiec, 6.890, 195.11 def. Tonglet, 6.934, 194.38;

FINAL — Stoffer, 6.900, 195.11 def. Krawiec, 7.884, 122.23.


POINTS STANDINGS:

Top Fuel — 1.  Shawn Langdon, 281; 2.  Tony Schumacher, 268; 3.  Spencer Massey, 250; 4.  Antron Brown, 241; 5.  Doug Kalitta, 184; 6.  Richie Crampton, 159; 7.  (tie) Larry Dixon, 140; Brittany Force, 140; 9.  J.R. Todd, 139; 10.  Steve Torrence, 121.

Funny Car — 1.  Matt Hagan, 267; 2.  Ron Capps, 241; 3.  Del Worsham, 213; 4.  Robert Hight, 177; 5.  John Hale, 173; 6.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 172; 7.  Alexis DeJoria, 162; 8.  (tie) Courtney Force, 157; Cruz Pedregon, 157; 10.  Tim Wilkerson, 145.

Pro Stock — 1.  Rodger Brogdon, 284; 2.  Jason Line, 277; 3.  Drew Skillman, 229; 4.  Chris McGaha, 220; 5.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 217; 6.  Greg Anderson, 203; 7.  Shane Gray, 166; 8.  Allen Johnson, 142; 9.  Larry Morgan, 121; 10.  Vincent Nobile, 119.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1.  Karen Stoffer, 115; 2.  Eddie Krawiec, 98; 3.  (tie) Shawn Gann, 72; LE Tonglet, 72; 5.  Angelle Sampey, 66; 6.  Andrew Hines, 59; 7.  Hector Arana, 54; 8.  Angie Smith, 51; 9.  Matt Smith, 43; 10.  (tie) Steve Johnson, 34. Jim Underdahl, 34.

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Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX
Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2