Anderson reaches final at first national event
ENNIS, Texas - NHRA Top Alcohol Funny Car rookie Paul Anderson, one of the winningest drivers to come out of the Jr. Dragster ranks, is quickly making his mark in the big cars as he reached the final of his first national event, this past weekend's O'Reilly Fall Nationals presented by Castrol Syntec at the Texas Motorplex just south of Dallas. Anderson, 21, won 53 events in 97 final rounds behind the wheel of a Jr. Dragster, just missed his first Top Alcohol Funny Car win when his mount went up in smoke in the finals.
Anderson, of Erie, Colo., qualified his Vern Moats tuned machine second in the field with a 5.724 at 247.02 mph. In a strange twist of fate, Anderson faced off against his tuner and mentor, Moats, in round one and defeated him with a 5.710 at 247.29 mph, then defeated last year's No. 3 finisher Steve Gasparrelli with a 5.633 at 248.16 mph in round two. His semifinal opponent would be another slugger, last year's No. 4 finisher Jay Payne, who redlighted and gave Anderson the victory.
Anderson's final round opponent would be Dallas local Kebin Kinsley. Anderson went up in smoke immediately, giving the win to Kinsley who took the win with a 5.682 at 253.14 mph.
"We're real happy with the weekend," said Anderson. "To go to the final round at our first national event is just awesome. We ran a new career best every run until the semifinals. I can't say enough about the help Vern Moats and Dave Allison have been to us. There's no way we would be where we're at without them. I just hate to have to keep racing them in the first round. What are the chances of that?"
There will be little time to savor the strong outing as the team heads north for the resumption of the rain-delayed Earlville, Ia., Division 5 meet, where Anderson is qualified No. 2.
"Things have been going well for us," stated Anderson. "We qualified No. 2 in Earlville, then came here and ran well, so hopefully we can go back up to Earlville and follow up what we did here. We'll finish the year up out in Pomona, then get ready for next year. Right now we're actively seeking sponsorship for next season, so hopefully we can have these kind of weekends more often."