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Sun, 24 Aug 2014, 07:02 AM

NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship Playoffs Promises to Get Intense
Courtesy of NHRA Communications
Photo copyright 2014 Auto Imagery, Inc.

Intense at Famed Texas Motorplex



ENNIS, Texas -

The stars of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series rumble into the Texas Motorplex, Sept. 18-21, for the second round of the 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs at the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.

The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will all compete for coveted Wally trophies at the historic race track located just south of the Dallas Metroplex. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year's winners of the event that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.

Texas Motorplex has seen some of the most exciting action in NHRA drag racing following its opening as the sport's first "Super Track." The motorsports complex hosts the only Countdown to the Championship playoff event in the Lone Star State.

The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals comes at a crucial time for drivers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series as they are in full battle mode for their respective category championships. Dallas is the second stop during the Countdown to the Championship so continued success at this event is crucial for a team's title hopes.

Top Fuel points leader Kalitta took the victory at Dallas last season and will be looking to repeat as he tries to get off to a fast start in the playoffs. Kalitta, driver of the Mac Tools dragster, is the winningest Top Fuel driver to have never won an NHRA Mello Yello Championship, but his performance in 2014 has positioned him as a major contender for the crown. With two victories in nine final round appearances and five No. 1 qualifying positions, Kalitta has led the points since Gainesville.


C. Pedregon, Line Krawiec and Kalitta
Seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher has the most wins of any Top Fuel driver at Dallas with five. Schumacher's U.S. Army dragster has hovered in the top five in points all season long and he knows he has what it takes to race to victory in Texas. His last win at the facility came in 2010.

Antron Brown has been the flashiest driver in 2014 with five wins on the season. His Matco Tools dragster has chased Kalitta all season and the Countdown could be shaping up to be an epic showdown between the two tool-sponsored cars. Brown, a 2012 winner at Texas Motorplex, has his eyes focused on earing a second world championship title this season.

Shawn Langdon, the reigning Top Fuel world champ, raced to his first win of the year at Bristol and will be looking for more success at Dallas. Others to watch in the Top Fuel field include Texas natives Spencer Massey and Steve Torrence, reigning Auto Club of Southern California Road the Future Award winner Brittany Force, Englishtown winner Richie Crampton, Denver winner J.R. Todd.

In Funny Car, two-time world champ Pedregon took home the Wally last season and he will be a major player for the 2014 championship. Pedregon's Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry has been inconsistent at times this season, but his team has proven it can go the distance when everything clicks: the team took the win at Englishtown as the No. 1 qualifier. Pedregon is a four-time winner at Dallas.


Robert Hight
John Force, a 16-time world champ, owns the most Funny Car wins at the facility with seven but has not been victorious since 2005. Force and his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang have been on a roll since the end of the regular season and that's a good sign heading into the Countdown. Force's consistency in the playoffs was the formula that ultimately allowed him to take home the championship last season and his team appears ready to repeat that effort in 2014.

John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight has been the class of the Funny Car field this season and he is looking to pull away during the Countdown. Hight, the 2009 world champ, has five wins this season and his Auto Club Ford Mustang has visited the winner's circle twice at Dallas. He last won the event during his championship season.

Other pre-race favorites include two-time event winner Del Worsham, two-time season winner Courtney Force, 2011 world champ and last season's runner-up Matt Hagan, two-time season winner Alexis DeJoria, Epping winner Ron Capps and Bristol winner Tommy Johnson Jr.

Line, last season's Dallas winner in Pro Stock, won the season-opener in Pomona and then cooled off. His Summit Racing Chevy Camaro has gotten hot again and he took over the points lead at Brainerd as he is riding momentum from posting victories at Sonoma and Seattle. He's proving himself to be a major player during the Countdown and Dallas could be a good launching pad toward his third career championship.

Line's KB Racing teammate Greg Anderson has the most wins of active drivers at Texas Motorplex with five and Gray Motorsports driver Dave Connolly is back full-time in 2014 and he has had one of the most consistent hot rods in Pro Stock with a win at Epping.


Jason Line
Dodge Dart teammates Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin have been two of the most consistent drivers this season and both are looking to add another Dallas victory to their racing resumes. Texas native Erica Enders-Stevens has led the points standings for most of the season with four wins in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro. Chicago winner Vincent Nobile, Shane Gray, two-time runner-up Jonathan Gray, V. Gaines and Texas resident Chris McGaha are just a few of the drivers who will be looking for a quick start to the Countdown in the 200-mph factory hot rod class.

Krawiec was victorious in Pro Stock Motorcycle last season and his team has been the most consistent on the motorcycle circuit this season. Krawiec and Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate Andrew Hines have combined for six wins and the two riders have held down the top two spots in the points standings for most of the season.

Hector Arana Jr. and Hector Arana have been nipping at the heels of the Harley-Davidsons and they both will be ready for the Countdown. Arana Jr. sits third in points and has a win at Chicago. Arana has one win at Dallas, coming in 2009 during his championship run.

Reigning world champ Matt Smith, 2012 Dallas winner Michael Ray, Epping winner Angie Smith and Scotty Pollacheck are a few of the Pro Stock Motorcycle riders who will attempt to take home a victory at the Motorplex.

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 enjoy some cherished face time 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.

The event will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, Sept. 19, with sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 21.

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call Texas Motorplex at (800) MOTORPLEX (668-6775) or visit www.texasmotorplex.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

Before the NHRA Mello Yello Series arrives in Texas for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, the circuit will visit Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Aug. 27- Sept. 1, for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals and zMAX Dragway in Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 12-14, for the NHRA Carolina Nationals. Keep up with all the action on ESPN2.





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