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Wed, 04 Oct 2017, 16:00 PM

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship Starts Second Half at
Courtesy of NHRA Communications
Photo copyright 2017 NHRA/National Dragster

ENNIS, Texas -- Texas Motorplex

The second half of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship starts with Texas-sized championship aspirations for the stars of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series at the 32nd annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Oct. 12-15, at Texas Motorplex.

It is the fourth event in the NHRA's six-race playoffs, starting the final stretch to determine world champs in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle during what has already been an action-packed 2017 season. The pivotal race at Texas Motorplex will create even more highlights, as the ground-shaking action of the 10,000-horsepower machines will come to life on the dragstrip's all-concrete surface that promises to deliver one spectacular run after another.

Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year's winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), including live final eliminations coverage starting at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 15.

Brown helped cement his second straight Top Fuel world championship with his second win at the facility. The three-time world champ is after his third straight title and starts the Countdown to the Championship in second, trailing only Texan Steve Torrence, who has a career-best seven victories in 2017. Torrence, the points leader, is after his first world title, but must hold off a talented field that includes four-time 2017 winner Leah Pritchett, six-time FallNationals winner Tony Schumacher, Doug Kalitta, Brittany Force, Clay Millican, Scott Palmer, Terry McMillen and Shawn Langdon.

Hagan's second victory at Texas Motorplex came a year ago, but he couldn't track down Ron Capps, who claimed his first world title in 2016. Capps, a finalist at the race last season, has six wins thus far in 2017 and has the points lead in hopes of securing a second straight world title. It won't be easy against a loaded Funny Car Countdown to the Championship field of Robert Hight, Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman, seven-time Texas Motorplex winner John Force, Courtney Force, Indy winner J.R. Todd, Tim Wilkerson and Cruz Pedregon, who has four wins in Dallas.

Brown, Hagan, Skillman and Krawiec
celebrate wins at Motorplex.
Defending Pro Stock winner Skillman has been red-hot during the second half of the season to jump into championship contention. He has four victories in the last six races, including his first victory at Indy, and will be a major threat in the Countdown to the Championship. But he'll have to track down points leader Bo Butner and also deal with the likes of rookie Tanner Gray, who also has four wins, Greg Anderson, reigning world champion Jason Line, two-time world champ Erica Enders, Vincent Nobile, Chris McGaha, Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin.

Krawiec's second victory at Texas Motorplex kept him in championship contention in Pro Stock Motorcycle a year ago, and he enters the 2017 Countdown to the Championship with momentum after winning in Indy. But Jerry Savoie was impressive down the stretch last season to claim his first world title, while his teammate, LE Tonglet, has been brilliant this year, winning five races. Other potential Dallas winners include Countdown participants Andrew Hines, Matt Smith, Hector Arana Jr., Angie Smith, rookie Joey Gladstone, Scotty Pollacheck and Karen Stoffer.

The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where the future stars of the sport earn their racing stripes. After Nitro qualifying, stick around to see the spectacular Larsen Motorsports jet dragsters sponsored by Florida Tech and Matrix System. Known for their exciting pre-run flame shows and after burner pops, jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines.

Along with the exciting on-track action, the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will honor first responders with NHRA's "Salute to First Responders" celebration.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they're granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA's popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 14, at 1:15 and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-668-6775. Tickets also are available online at Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.

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