ENNIS, Texas -- Momentum
Everything is bigger in Texas, and the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is sure to pack an extra-large dose of chest-thumping excitement when it arrives at the Texas Motorplex. After all, the legendary facility is one of four all-concrete dragstrips on the NHRA circuit, which provides crew chiefs with an excellent opportunity to achieve national record performances. The event, which is the second chance for Countdown to the Championship teams to earn points, takes place just a week after the playoff series-opener in Charlotte, making for a quick turnaround for the championship contenders.
The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals is the 20th of 24 events in the 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the second of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Last season, defending world champion Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Bob Tasca III (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle) earned victories at the event that will once again be televised on ESPN2 HD.
In Top Fuel, five-time event winner Tony Schumacher and his U.S. Army Dragster team wants nothing more than to seal a sixth race victory in Dallas to help him finish off his season with an eighth series world championship title. But there are several drivers with the same objective, including points leader Shawn Langdon, who has four season wins in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster and defending event winner and world champ Brown, who drives the Matco Tools dragster. Others to watch include 2012 event runner-up Massey of Fort Worth, Texas, who has three season wins in his Schumacher Electric dragster, Kilgore, Texas' Torrence and former Texas Motorplex champs Brandon Bernstein, Doug Kalitta and Bob Vandergriff.
In Funny Car, Virginia cattle rancher Matt Hagan leads the series standings with four season victories at the controls of his Magneti Marelli Dodge Charger and will be trying to earn his second victory at the Motorplex. He will need to hold off a couple of determined veterans in Cruz Pedregon, a three-time event champ, and Ron Capps, the '98 winner there, if he's going to be successful. Others to watch include the Force powerhouse that includes 15-time world champion John Force, his youngest daughter Courtney, a two-time winner this season, and two-time Motorplex winner and Auto Club Ford Mustang driver Robert Hight. Second year driver DeJoria, who pilots the Tequila Patron Toyota Camry, recently relocated to the Austin area and is looking forward to racing at her new home track.
In Pro Stock, Oklahoma native and series points leader Mike Edwards aims to bring his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy Camaro back to the Motorplex winner's circle as he did in '98. But defending world champion Johnson is determined to defend his 2012 title as he has earned four season wins in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger. His teammates, Jeg Coughlin and Vincent Nobile have scored multiple wins as well this season in their Avengers. Rodger Brogdon of Tomball, Texas and Chris McGaha of Odessa, Texas are also local favorites seeking wins in front of a large contingent of family and friends.
Pro Stock Motorcycle sensation Hector Arana Jr. is leading the way this season with four wins aboard his Lucas Oil Buell while battling a tough group of challengers in the two-wheel category, including two-time season winner and New Braunfels, Texas rider Ray and his Sovereign-Star Racing Buell. Former world champs Eddie Krawiec , Hector Arana Sr., Andrew Hines and Matt Smith are all hungry to earn a Countdown playoff victory.
The NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series also will thrill the crowds during the weekend with intense competition on the track.
As always, every ticket purchased for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals is a pit pass, which offers an extraordinary look behind the scenes in the world of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics service their high-horsepower machines between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans will also want to check out NHRA Nitro Alley and the popular NHRA Manufacturers Midway where manufacturers and sponsors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and freebies. Fans will also want to take advantage of Championship Sunday featuring driver introductions and a special Track Walk at 9:30 a.m. It's free to all Sunday ticket holders.
The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals qualifying opens on Friday, Sept. 20, with sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 22.
Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals are available now, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5. For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.
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