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Tue, 10 Sep 2013, 17:31 PM

NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Championship Battle Heads to St. Louis
Courtesy of NHRA Communications

For the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals

MADISON, Ill. --

Who will keep their championship momentum going strong in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series? The answer will be found at the second annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at the world-class Gateway Motorsports Park near St. Louis, Sept. 27-29.

The AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals is the third of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA's playoffs, and the third stop in four consecutive weeks of racing. The AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals will feature all four professional categories: Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle. The race will be televised on ESPN2HD.

The event at Gateway is the 21st stop in the NHRA's action-packed 24 event schedule this season. Last season, the multipurpose motorsports facility hosted the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule after a one-year hiatus with a new event in the Countdown to the Championship. The 2012 event winners were Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle).

Nitro fans are eager to return to Gateway for the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers and experience the interactive NHRA Nitro Alley since every ticket is a pit pass. New this season, take your racing experience to a whole other level with two new VIP clubs - Top Eliminator Club or Gateway Party Suites. The Top Eliminator Club features all-new nitro grandstands, premium dining, private bar and much more. The climate-controlled Party Suites are newly renovated, located directly behind the starting line with exclusive rooftop access.

Drivers are also eager to make some runs on the re-surfaced Gateway drag strip. But only 10 drivers in each category who have qualified for the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, which begin at the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals in Charlotte in Sept. 13-15 and culminate with the Automobile Club of Southern California NHRA Finals in Pomona, Calif., Nov. 7-10, will be eligible to earn championship points at the event.

In Top Fuel, Countdown top seed Shawn Langdon, seven-time world champ Tony Schumacher, defending world champ Brown, Doug Kalitta, Clay Millican, Morgan Lucas and Khalid alBalooshi will all be battling for a playoff victory to assist in their championship pursuits.

Matt Hagan has led the way most of the season in Funny Car and he will be trying to hold off a strong group of Countdown challengers, including Ron Capps, John Force, defending winner Beckman, Cruz Pedregon, Courtney Force, local favorite Tim Wilkerson from nearby Springfield, and recent Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals winner Robert Hight.

In Pro Stock, Mike Edwards is having a dream season at the controls of his in his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy Camaro, while defending world champ Allen Johnson, Jeg Coughlin and Vincent Nobile are in hot pursuit in their Dodge Avengers. Past champions Greg Anderson and Jason Line will be looking to get back on the winning track at Gateway Motorsports Park.

In the 190 mph Pro Stock Motorcycle category, Hector Arana Jr. is the playoff top seed with four season victories, and is being followed closely by Indy runner-up Matt Smith and two-time season winner Michael Ray. Others to watch in the two-wheel division include Indy winner John Hall, Indy No. 1 qualifier and past zMAX winner Hector Arana Sr., Scotty Pollacheck and defending world champ Eddie Krawiec.

Fans in the St. Louis area will get a sneak preview of the race weekend during the NHRA Fan Fest presented by Your Mid-America Chevy Dealers at Washington Square in downtown St. Louis on Thursday, Sept. 26. This event will showcase the official press conference for the event and there will be cars on display and a special autograph session will be held featuring many of the biggest stars in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

The AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 27. Qualifying continues at 11:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30.

Tickets are available for the Inaugural AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals online at or by calling (855) RACE-TIK (722-3845).

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