NORWALK, Ohio --
The Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, which will be televised on ESPN2HD, showcases the intense side-by-side racing in all four NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series categories: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle.
A win at this event can mean great momentum as drivers aim to qualify for the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs, as it is the 13th of 24 races in the NHRA Mello Yello Series season and the final race on the tour before teams head west for the grueling Western Swing. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Mike Neff (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals.
After watching the 8,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars thunder down the track on Friday night, fans will be treated to a signature Fourth of July fireworks show presented by Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park. Long known as one of the best fireworks shows on the NHRA circuit, this Fourth of July celebration will be sure to thrill fans and keep them buzzing for years to come.
So far this season has not been shy of drama or emotional wins. In Top Fuel, seven-time world champion Schumacher has led the way with three victories and three runner-up finishes. The U.S. Army dragster driver aims to return to the winner's circle at Norwalk as he did in 2007. He will be challenged by defending world champ Antron Brown, track speed record holder and defending event winner Massey, series points leader Shawn Langdon with three wins this season, and nearby Michigan native Doug Kalitta, among others.
In Funny Car, Johnny Gray is making waves in his Pitch Energy Dodge Charger with three event wins this season, but Virginia cattle rancher Matt Hagan leads the points standings after a victory at last weekend in Joliet, Ill. But the two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon and his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry is coming up right behind Hagan and Gray with two season wins. This season, defending event winner Neff traded in his racing helmet for crew chief duties on John Force's Castrol GTX Ford Mustang but fans can rest assured that the Force camp will be on their best game. Courtney Force has already scored two wins and one runner-up performance while Robert Hight continues to push forward in his Auto Club Ford Mustang. Reigning world champ and 2009 winner Jack Beckman, and 2010 winner Tim Wilkerson are also in the hunt for Wally trophies and a pound of ice cream in the winner's circle.
Two-time Pro Stock champ Nobile has earned one victory this season but he'll face some strong contenders including defending world champion Allen Johnson, points leader Mike Edwards, two-time Norwalk champ Greg Anderson, Erica Enders-Stevens, Ohio native Jeg Coughlin and Jason Line, the 2009 Norwalk champ.
The Pro Stock Motorcycle season has been dominated by Hector Arana Jr. who has raced to three victories aboard his Lucas Oil Buell, but the Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson tandem of Eddie Krawiec, a 2011 event winner, and three-time event winner Hines are eager to put an end to that streak. Surging Scotty Pollacheck, veteran Suzuki rider Steve Johnson, 2008 winner Arana Sr., recent winner Michael Ray and John Hall are all among the top contenders in the two-wheel category at the event.
As always, every ticket purchased for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals is an exclusive pit pass, allowing spectators to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their sophisticated hot rods between rounds. Fans can also meet many of the drivers in the pits and get autographs.
Mello Yello Series qualifying begins on Friday, July 5 with the first session at 4:45 p.m., followed by another session under the lights at 7:15 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, July 6 at 11:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, July 7.
The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series also will be showcased during the event, featuring exciting side-by-side racing action at more than 250 mph.
To purchase tickets for the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals this Fourth of July weekend, please call Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park at (419) 668-5555 or visit www.SummitMotorsportsPark.com. For more information about NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.
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