Greg Anderson entered the 2020 NHRA campaign with 94 career Pro Stock victories, three shy of the class’ all-time leader (and former boss and mentor) Warren Johnson, but the four-time series championship went winless in a tumultuous and abbreviated season. However, with a win at Gainesville, Florida, the 2021 season looked to be on a much brighter path.
Anderson added a second crown two races later at Atlanta, placing him on the cusp of history. The addition of a new primary sponsor in HendrickCars.com only added to the positive energy of the season, but Anderson then lost three consecutive final rounds — two to Aaron Stanfield, one to Erica Enders. Despite leading the points the entire regular season and proving himself ad the championship favorite in a super-tight field of drivers, Anderson couldn’t seem to get that one final victory he needed. That was, until Sunday’s Mopar ExpressLane NHRA Nationals at Mapler Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa., when he avenged his Norwalk, Oh. Loss to Enders with a decisive 97th career victory.
He was simply not to be denied this time, besting Enders at the tree (.021 to .049) and outrunning her at the stripe, 6.578 to 6.604.
“I don’t know where to start,” said Anderson. ”It was a big day. A lot of things happened today, and we tied Warren Johnson, how about that? I respect the heck out of him; I learned a ton from Warren, and to be tied now – this just feels fantastic.
“I kept dropping the ball after winning Atlanta earlier this year, I couldn’t seem to get the job done, but you have to keep going. You have to keep doing what you’re doing, and you can’t give up. It was a great day today, and to get HendrickCars.com and Hendrick Automotive Group the win was really special.”
“It’s been a tough run the last few races, but we really haven’t been that far off,” said Anderson. “I just had to stick to my game, keep doing what I was doing, and clean up some of the details. We were able to do that today, the boys hit it on the nose for the final, and it feels pretty darn cool to make history.
Anderson will have six more chances this season to earn win number 98 and become Pro Stock’s all-time winningest driver, and his first opportunity will come at his home track — and in front of sponsor Rick Hendrick — at the zMax Dragway in Charlotte, N.C. this weekend at the second of seven stops in the NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship, and he will do so with a 41-point lead in the standings.
“To reach this milestone with HendrickCars.com on the side of my Chevrolet Camaro means so much to me, and I want to thank Rick Hendrick – thank you so much, Boss. Next week, we get to race in front of Mr. Hendrick and everyone from Hendrick Automotive Group, and we just can’t wait.”