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Fri, 04 Oct 2019, 12:28 PM

The Stakes are Raised as NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Starts Second
Courtesy of NHRA Communications
Photo copyright 2019 Auto Imagery, Inc.

ENNIS, Texas - Half at Texas Motorplex

With the start of the second half of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship taking place at Texas Motorplex, expect a weekend of thrills, incredible 11,000-horsepower action and gut-wrenching intensity as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to the Lone Star State for the 34th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Oct. 17-20.

The stakes will be large, which means plenty Texas-sized drama as the fourth of the NHRA's six-race playoffs take place at the all-concrete dragstrip. The action starts immediately with the new NHRA Prime Time qualifying during the second session on Friday night. During Prime Time, drivers perform a burnout in their 11,000-horsepower nitro burning machines to their favorite jams played by an on-site DJ with impressive pyrotechnics. It sets a memorable tone to start the weekend, and all the stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will continue to put on a show all weekend at the fan-favorite track as the championship picture becomes clearer.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year's winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) in 2019, including live final eliminations coverage 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 20.

Tanner Gray, LE Tonglet, Steve Torrence and Robert Hight
celebrate last year's win.
The Texan Torrence won for the first time in Dallas en route to sweeping the Countdown to the Championship and clinching his first world title. In fact, Dallas has been the sweet spot for the class, as the last three winners of the race - Antron Brown in 2016, Brittany Force in 2017 and Torrence last year - have gone on to win the world title. Torrence will hope for a repeat, but he'll have to deal with the likes of points leader Doug Kalitta, Reading winner Richie Crampton, Clay Millican, Brown, Force, Austin Prock, Leah Pritchett, Mike Salinas and St. Louis winner, Billy Torrence.

Point leader, Robert Hight has enjoyed plenty of success at his sponsor's race, winning for the second straight year and fourth time overall at Texas Motorplex last year. Only John Force has had more success with his seven wins, but Hight will try to make it three straight wins in a class loaded with talent and championship competitors. Jack Beckman won the playoff opener, while Force is a spot behind. Others to watch in Dallas include Tommy Johnson Jr., Ron Capps, defending world champ J.R. Todd, St. Louis winner, Shawn Langdon, Matt Hagan, Bob Tasca III and Tim Wilkerson.

Pro Stock's Jason Line started the Countdown to the Championship in strong fashion, jumping into the points lead with a win in Reading. That gave the three-time Dallas winner two victories in the past four races, a streak he'll look to continue at Texas Motorplex. Trying to stop him are a host of top drivers, including 2017 world champ Bo Butner, longtime teammate Greg Anderson, who has four Dallas wins, Texas native and St. Louis winner Erica Enders, five-time world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., Deric Kramer, Alex Laughlin, who won at Indy, Matt Hartford, Chris McGaha and Val Smeland.

Eddie Krawiec has three wins in the past six years in Pro Stock Motorcycle at the track, but the talented multi-time world champion is still after his first win of 2019. A victory in Dallas would come at the perfect time as he looks to get hot down the stretch, but it won't be easy. Jerry Savoie has won back-to-back races, including Indy and the playoff opener, points leader Andrew Hines, who had a dominant regular season with seven wins. Defending world champ Matt Smith, Angelle Sampey, St. Louis winner Karen Stoffer, Angie Smith, Hector Arana Jr., Ryan Oehler and Hector Arana will also look to have an impact at Texas Motorplex.

The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will also feature thrilling competition in SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown, which makes its final stop of the 2019 season, as well as the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which showcases the future stars of the sport. The exciting Mid-West Pro Mod Series will also entertain fans as a special addition to the weekend. After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can also watch the spectacular "Lone Star Lightning" Jet Dragster driven by Tammy Gatlin and "The War Dance" jet car driven by Ralph Snyder. Jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.

NHRA fans can take part in the Mello Yello Walking Tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock Motorcycle School and Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Texas Motorplex will also host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Cruising with Castello Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can't-miss experience is the winner's circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the event as they celebrate their victories.

For the first time, the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) will stage for an unprecedented 16-car, eighth-mile exhibition race presented by Atomizer Racing Injectors. This exciting field will compete throughout the weekend including a final round of eliminations on Sunday in front of the NHRA raceday crowd.

As always, fans can 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 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 2:45 and 6:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 12:15 and 3:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.

To purchase tickets, call 800-668-6775. Military and first responders can save 20% on adult single day tickets at Tickets also are available online at

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