Hagan, S. Torrence, Enders and M. Smith Celebrate NHRA World Championships at The Strip at LVMS
Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were all crowned NHRA world champions at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday at the Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil, with Hagan and Enders celebrating both championships and race wins.
Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Angie Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also took home Wallys in their respective categories at the final event of the 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Matt Hagan completed a dominant season of Funny Car competition in his Mopar/Pennzoil/Sandvik Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for Don Schumacher Racing by clinching his third NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series championship as well as the event win. In a year dominated by DRS’s Funny Car four drivers who monopolized all the wins throughout the 11-race season, Hagan won the final slugfest at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway by outlasting teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Jack Beckman.
“It’s been a dogfight the whole time; this championship was for my brother that I lost three years ago,” said an emotional Hagan. “I can’t say how proud I am of each and every one of my guys. I can’t say enough about everyone who’s been a part of this and our NHRA fans who support our sponsors.”
Hagan ended the day by beating DSR teammate Ron Capps in the finals with a run of 3.914 seconds at 326.40 miles per hour.
Steve Torrence became just the third driver in NHRA Top Fuel history to win three straight world championships as the two-time and defending champion locked up the 2020 Camping World Drag Racing Series title during final eliminations. Torrence clinched the title when Doug Kalitta, the only driver with a chance still to unseat him, was defeated in the first round by Justin Ashley.
“I’m proud of my team, all of those guys who give heart and blood to be out here and do this -– it’s unbelievable," said Torrence, who reached seven final rounds with four wins this season. "Three championships in three years. I’ve had a lot of highlights in my career and this is going to be right up there at the top.”
S. Torrence made it to the final round before being ousted by Antron Brown in his Matco Tools Dragster who won on a holeshot at 3.759 seconds at 315.34 mph. The win was Brown’s first since 2018.
Erica Enders won her second-straight Camping World NHRA Pro Stock championship and fourth overall ending the day with a race win in her Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro on a red light by Kyle Koretsky.
Enders came into the event as the championship leader but struggled during qualifying and landed No. 12 on the grid. Enders then watched while rivals Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Jason Line were both upset in round one via holeshot losses, officially locking up the title in Enders’ favor. It was a bitter ending for Line and Coughlin who have both announced that this is their final season in Pro Stock.
“It’s no secret that I’ve struggled this year, the last couple years honestly. It’s been an uphill battle for me,” said Enders after receiving the championship trophy. “My team, I speak so highly of them, I mean that from the bottom of my heart. All these guys; they give their lives to this. I’m so blessed. I love this life I get to live.”
With a fourth championship, Enders becomes the series winningest female and joins Bob Glidden (10 Pro Stock championships), Warren Johnson (6), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (5), Greg Anderson (4), and the late Lee Shepherd (4). Enders also has 29 wins in 55 final rounds during her professional Pro Stock career.
Matt Smith has been dominant this season on his Denso EBR and secured his fourth Pro Stock Motorcycle NHRA world championship in the second round of finals eliminations when Hector Arana beat championship contender Eddie Krawiec by a holeshot. Smith entered the season-ending Dodge NHRA Finals presented by Pennzoil as the points leader over teammate Scotty Pollacheck and Harley-Davidson rivals Krawiec and Andrew Hines. He officially clinched the title by reaching the semifinal round.
“This was a long hard deal today,” said Smith. “That [Vance & Hines] group played their cards right and I had to race them in the first and second rounds. If you want to be the champ, you have to beat the champ and I just beat the champ [Hines] to win this.”
Smith won titles in 2007, 2012 and 2018, came close to winning last year’s title but suffered a heartbreak on the final day of the season when he suffered a mechanical failure and ultimately finished third behind Hines and Jerry Savoie.
With four championships, Smith joins some distinguished company in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class including six-time champion Andrew Hines, five-time champion Dave Schulz, and Krawiec, who also has four titles. Smith also has 26 wins in 57 final rounds.
On the same day that she celebrated her husband’s world championship, Angie Smith took the race win home aboard her Denso/Stockseth Racing EBR with a 6.917 second run at 194.83 mph over veteran racer Steve Johnson.
“Never give up on your dream. You can do anything if you put your mind to it,” said A. Smith.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway twice in 2021 with the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 16-18, and the Dodge NHRA Nationals Presented By Pennzoil, Oct. 29-31. For more information, visit LVMS.com, follow @LVMotorSpeedway on social media or call 800-644-4444.