C. FORCE, TODD, S. GRAY AND ARANA JR., RACE TO QUALIFYING LEADS AT AAA TEXAS NHRA FALLNATIONALS

September 20, 2014 by  
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ENNIS, Texas – Courtney Force raced to the Funny Car qualifying lead Friday at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals with a track record performance at Texas Motorplex.

J.R. Todd (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) led their respective categories during round two of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs near Dallas.

Force set both ends of the track record in her Traxxas Ford Mustang with a 4.039-second pass at 314.90 mph. She has three No. 1 qualifying positions this year and six in her 65-race career.

“Going into this race I was confident that we had a good car,” said Force. “To go out there and go to the No. 1 spot with our Traxxas team and run a number like that, is a good weekend so far. We still have tomorrow and it is going to down since we are running later in the day but I’m excited and proud of my team.”

In Top Fuel, Todd raced to the qualifying lead with a track record time of 3.761 at 317.87 in his Optima Batteries dragster. If the time holds, it will be Todd’s second consecutive No. 1 position in the Countdown playoffs.

“We were a little aggressive in Q1 and Q2,” said Todd, who was the No. 1 qualifier last weekend in Charlotte and will meet Spencer Massey in the quarterfinals of the delayed Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals tomorrow. “I felt there were a couple more cars that were going to run better than what we did, but you can never count out Connie (Kalitta, team owner) and James (Oberhofer, crew chief) and they are always loaded for bear when the conditions call for it and the track’s definitely good here this weekend.”

Gray led Pro Stock qualifying with a run of 6.577 at 209.88 in his Gray Manufacturing Chevy Camaro. Gray will meet Erica Enders-Stevens in the second round of Charlotte eliminations. Other Charlotte Pro Stock first round winners today included Dave Connolly, Jonathan Gray and
Vincent Nobile.

“We wanted to make a couple of runs and see what happens,” said Gray. “I don’t think we were swinging for the fences by any means, but it all came together and it made a nice smooth run down there. It actually felt a little bit slow it was so smooth.”

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Arana Jr. led qualifying with a run of 6.855 at 194.63 on his Lucas Oil Products Buell. Arana Jr. also won his first round of eliminations for the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals. He will face Chaz Kennedy when eliminations continue on Saturday. Other PSM first round winners included Eddie Krawiec, Scotty Pollacheck, Andrew Hines, Matt Smith, Steve Johnson and Angie Smith.

“We made a swing for the tune-up and nailed it right on the head,” said Arana Jr. “We went right to the top in Q1. There was actually a little more we wanted to do, but we had to be conservative because we were going into round one of eliminations. We took away a little bit, and it stayed consistent on the line. I actually got lucky. The bike didn’t want to shift, and I kept pushing the button. Finally, when it hit the rev limiter, I was able to plug it in the next gear and stay ahead of him for the win.”

Qualifying continues for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Saturday at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Eliminations for all pro categories from the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals will be completed during scheduled qualifying rounds; quarterfinals at 11:15 a.m., semifinals at 2:15 p.m. and finals at 4:30 p.m.

***

ENNIS, Texas — Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, 20th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the second of six playoff races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.

Top Fuel — 1. J.R. Todd, 3.761 seconds, 317.87 mph; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.765, 326.71; 3. Bob Vandergriff, 3.770, 320.13; 4. Shawn Langdon, 3.774, 320.36; 5. Steve Torrence, 3.786, 323.74; 6. Tony Schumacher, 3.790, 322.11; 7. Billy Torrence, 3.813, 322.50; 8. Spencer Massey, 3.814, 320.89; 9. Richie Crampton, 3.816, 319.60; 10. Larry Dixon, 3.819, 324.20; 11. Leah Pritchett, 3.823, 317.49; 12. Khalid alBalooshi, 3.829, 317.57. Not Qualified: 13. Antron Brown, 3.830, 314.17; 14. Terry McMillen, 3.885, 314.02; 15. Troy Buff, 3.893, 304.12; 16. Kebin Kinsley, 4.111, 261.37; 17. Brittany Force, 4.319, 186.95; 18. Clay Millican, 4.986, 141.33; 19. Morgan Lucas, 7.964, 73.99.

Funny Car — 1. Courtney Force, Ford Mustang, 4.039, 314.90; 2. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 4.041, 305.42; 3. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 4.051, 311.92; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.076, 309.42; 5. John Force, Mustang, 4.081, 314.24; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.083, 312.86; 7. Chad Head, Camry, 4.084, 309.06; 8. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.087, 312.35; 9. Robert Hight, Mustang, 4.088, 312.13; 10. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.088, 307.79; 11. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.096, 306.26; 12. Jeff Arend, Charger, 4.106, 310.55. Not Qualified: 13. Tim Wilkerson, 4.119, 305.15; 14. Cruz Pedregon, 4.154, 298.27; 15. Terry Haddock, 4.240, 291.38; 16. Tony Pedregon, 4.258, 248.57; 17. Todd Simpson, 4.323, 285.83; 18. Jeff Diehl, 4.358, 285.77.

Pro Stock — 1. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.577, 209.88; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.582, 210.24; 3. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.582, 209.72; 4. Dave Connolly, Camaro, 6.592, 209.95; 5. Erica Enders-Stevens, Camaro, 6.594, 210.31; 6. Jeg Coughlin, Dodge Dart, 6.596, 209.59; 7. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.597, 209.88; 8. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.607, 209.75; 9. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.607, 209.56; 10. Rodger Brogdon, Camaro, 6.627, 209.26; 11. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.627, 208.78; 12. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.629, 208.49. Not Qualified: 13. V. Gaines, 6.635, 209.04; 14. Matt Hartford, 6.649, 208.91; 15. Shane Tucker, 6.661, 208.88; 16. John Gaydosh Jr, 6.662, 207.53; 17. Larry Morgan, 6.676, 206.95.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.855, 194.63; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.869, 194.10; 3. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.919, 192.80; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.961, 191.00; 5. Adam Arana, Buell, 6.964, 190.62; 6. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.975, 189.92; 7. John Hall, Buell, 6.983, 190.46; 8. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.983, 189.47; 9. Chaz Kennedy, Buell, 6.992, 191.24; 10. Matt Smith, Buell, 6.993, 191.76; 11. Hector Arana, Buell, 7.008, 193.29; 12. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 7.019, 189.18. Not Qualified: 13. Jerry Savoie, 7.020, 188.41; 14. Angelle Sampey, 7.025, 189.34; 15. Shawn Gann, 7.066, 187.13; 16. Freddie Camarena, 7.108, 190.03; 17. Michael Ray, 7.137, 186.02; 18. Mike Berry, 7.170, 181.96; 19. Redell Harris, 7.332, 158.15; 20. David Barron, 20.055, 27.45.

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Racing Continues at Texas Motorplex

September 19, 2014 by  
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WITH COUNTDOWN NERVES BEHIND HIM, TEXAN CHRIS MCGAHA EYES FIRST CAREER PRO STOCK WIN AT AAA TEXAS NHRA FALLNATIONALS

September 18, 2014 by  
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ENNIS, Texas — Appearing in his first ever NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship, Pro Stock driver Chris McGaha didn’t have quite the opening race that he wanted.

But the stage is set perfectly for McGaha to make up for it in a major way at this weekend’s 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex.

The facility is McGaha’s home track and a victory, which would also be his first in his NHRA Pro Stock career, would quickly ascend to being one of the biggest moments of his drag racing career. Currently sitting in 10th position in the Countdown to the Championship it would also do wonders for his first championship run in his Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevy Camaro.

“It would mean everything,” McGaha said of winning in Dallas. “I think we want to win Dallas more than any other race on the schedule. Of course everyone wants to win the U.S. Nationals, and yes, I would love to win that one, too. But I wonder if I wouldn’t trade that win for one in Dallas. I was at this race in 1986, the year Texas Motorplex opened. This is home for us.”

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. It marks the second of six races in the Countdown to the Championship. The continuation of eliminations for the Countdown opener, the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals, will also be completed during qualifying rounds at the Texas Motorplex. Top Fuel and Funny Car have three rounds of Charlotte racing to complete while Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle need to complete all four rounds.

Four first-round pairs of Pro Stock cars remain, but unfortunately for McGaha he lost in a first-round race to points leader Jason Line. It wasn’t the ideal way for McGaha to start the Countdown but getting past the red-hot Line has been difficult for any driver in recent races.

“We had high hopes after leaving Indy and coming to Charlotte, but it didn’t work out well for us there,” McGaha said. “We aren’t as close as we’d like to be, but we went right back to the shop and got to work, and hopefully we’ll be better for the second race of the Countdown.”

As far as the experience of the Countdown, taking part in it for the first time in his career nearly got the best of McGaha, who has now appeared in 45 career NHRA Pro Stock races.

He admitted that the intensity was cranked up and McGaha noticed it nearly from the moment his trailer pulled into zMAX Dragway. After that first-hand experience, plus the comforts of racing at his home track McGaha is confident he will feel more at ease in Dallas. Of course seeing a strong and consistent performance in qualifying would go a long way in helping that.

“I’ve had to calm myself down,” McGaha said. “Before we even got to the race, I felt like we were in the second round or the semis. I was that psyched up coming to Charlotte, and even right before the first round the adrenaline level felt like I was already in the semis.

“You want to take it one round at a time, but the performance has to be there. That’s just the way it is in this class. It’s all about performance, and without that, you don’t stand a chance.”

Line has had one tremendous performance after another heading into the Countdown, but the list of championship challengers also includes reigning champion Jeg Coughlin, Allen Johnson, Erica Enders-Stevens, V Gaines, Shane Gray, Jonathan Gray, Vincent Nobile and Dave Connolly.

It’s a daunting list to compete against but McGaha knows how much a victory at the Texas Motorplex during the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals would mean to his team and his family. In fact, he joked it may be enough for him to walk off into the sunset.

“Dallas has never really been very good to me – sometimes it’s been better than others – but to win here would mean everything,” he said. “Heck, I might quit racing if I won there just so I could quit while I was ahead. I wouldn’t really, but it would sure be something if we accomplished it.”

In Top Fuel, Kalitta has advanced to nine final rounds in 2014 and will be after a second straight Dallas win, while the ultra-talented field also features Countdown qualifiers Tony Schumacher, who has five Dallas wins, Antron Brown, reigning world champion Shawn Langdon, Spencer Massey, Brittany Force, Khalid alBalooshi, U.S. Nationals winner Richie Crampton, Steve Torrence and J.R. Todd.

In Funny Car, two-time world champ Pedregon took home the Wally last season but he is chasing points leader and reigning world champion John Force. Two-time Dallas winners Del Worsham and Robert Hight, Courtney Force, Matt Hagan, Indy winner Alexis DeJoria, Ron Capps, Tim Wilkerson and Tommy Johnson Jr. are among other championship hopefuls.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec and his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team has been the most consistent this season in the two-wheel category. Teammate Andrew Hines is the current points leader and Krawiec enters the Countdown off his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win. Reigning world champ Matt Smith, Michael Ray, Angie Smith, Steve Johnson, Hector Arana, Hector Arana Jr. and Scotty Pollacheck are a few of the Pro Stock Motorcycle riders who will attempt to take home a Dallas victory.

The race will also mark the return to competition for three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Angelle Sampey. After sitting out the last five seasons to start a family, she is returning to action at this event riding the Star Racing Buell owned by George Bryce. It is a fitting return for the Louisiana native during a season where women have made a huge impact with a record number of wins on the track. She is the winningest female racer in NHRA history with 41 career victories.

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 sessions are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19, with sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. (also Charlotte PS and PSM eliminations). The final two qualifying sessions, which will both include Charlotte eliminations, will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The Charlotte final rounds will be held Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals 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 visitwww.NHRA.com.

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Chris McGaha Comes Home to Race Dallas in Best Position Yet

September 17, 2014 by  
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Chris McGaha Comes Home to Race Dallas in Best Position Yet

ODESSA, Texas (September 17, 2014) – Chris McGaha is still relatively young in his career as an NHRA Pro Stock driver, but this season he emerged as a contender. Driving the Harlow Sammons Racing Chevrolet Camaro, McGaha will arrive at Texas Motorplex for this weekend’s AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals secure in the top 10 in NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship and looking to pick up points and work his way up for what is guaranteed to be his best finish ever in the ultra competitive category.

Returning to Dallas, a racetrack that the Odessa-native considers home, is always a high point on the schedule for McGaha and his crew, including father Lester McGaha, a veteran drag racer himself.

“We’ve put a lot of focus on this race,” admitted McGaha, who earned the first Pro Stock round win of his career at the facility in 2011, his debut season, with a first-round victory over Greg Anderson. “We want to win Dallas probably more than any other race on the schedule. If we made it to the final round here this weekend, heck, it would really mean a lot to us. I’ve joked that we could quit while we were ahead if we won here – of course we won’t, but it doesn’t get a whole lot better than a win in Texas for this team.”

Success in Dallas isn’t all that far-fetched for the group whose engines are built in McGaha’s own Southwest Performance & Machine race shop on the grounds of Harlow Sammons of Odessa. The engine shop is outfitted with top of the line machinery, and McGaha spends every moment possible within those four walls.

Driven to excel in a class that many find daunting, lifelong racer McGaha committed to a full season this year that has so far been marked with two No. 1 qualifier awards (Phoenix and the four-wide race in Charlotte this past spring). He raced to the semifinals in Las Vegas and Norwalk and secured his spot to race for the championship at the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis for the first time in his career. McGaha’s best previous finish was No. 12 in 2012, when he competed in just 18 events.

“This class is all about performance, and this year we’ve had some shining moments in that area,” said McGaha, a former Competition Eliminator driver who got his start in NHRA’s Jr. Drag Racing League at the age of 13. “At this point, we just have to take it one run at a time, and we have to keep working on our performance – without that, you don’t stand a chance. We had high hopes coming into the Countdown, and after Charlotte we went right back to the shop to work on our program. Hopefully, Dallas will be a good race for us.”

CHRIS McGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS CHEVROLET CAMARO
Last event, Charlotte (Completion postponed to FallNationals qualifying): Qualified No. 11; lost in first round to Jason Line

         Pts Events Titles Rup Semi Qtr 1st rd Poles DNQ Win/Loss 
2014 10th      19         0       0       2      4     12       2        0       8-18
CAREER       45         0       0       3      6     29       2        7      12-38
Best Time, Speed: 6.515 sec. (2013, Gainesville); 214.04 mph (2014, Gainesville)

NHRA COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
(Points updated through first round from Sept. 14 at Charlotte that will be completed at Dallas)
PRO STOCK
driver (wins)                                  points    behind
1. Jason Line (4)                          2,166     ——–
2. Erica Enders-Stevens (4)         2,130      -36
3. Jeg Coughlin (2)                       2,117      -49
4. Allen Johnson (4)                     2,104      -62
5. Dave Connolly (1)                    2,090      -76
6. Shane Gray (2)                        2,073      -93
7. V. Gaines                                 2,072      -94
8. Vincent Nobile (1)                    2,069      -97
9. Jonathan Gray                         2,055      -111
10. CHRIS McGAHA                   2,042      -124

Event Schedule (All times ET)
AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals
Texas Motorplex, Ennis, Texas
Friday: 2:15, 5:15 p.m., Pro Stock qualifying
Saturday: 11:15, 2:15 p.m., Pro Stock qualifying
Sunday: 11 a.m., championship eliminations

TELEVISED ON ESPN2 (Schedule as posted on NHRA.com 9/17)
9/21/2014 Qualifying           3:30 AM – 5:00 AM ET/12:30 AM – 2:00 AM PT
9/21/2014 Qualifying Re-Air          4:00 PM – 5:30 PM ET/1:00 PM – 2:30 PM PT
9/21/2014 Eliminations      8:30 PM – 11:30 PM ET/5:30 PM – 8:30 PM PT

K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE 
BONUS POINT STANDINGS 
Updated following final qualifying in Charlotte, 9/13/2014
K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE:

1.  Shane Gray, 2,405
2.  Allen Johnson, 2,390
3.  Jason Line, 2,325
4.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 2,275
5.  Jeg Coughlin, 2,270
6.  Dave Connolly, 2,200
7.  Vincent Nobile, 2,165
8.  CHRIS McGAHA, 1,965
9.  Jonathan Gray, 1,840
10.  Greg Anderson, 1,760

The K&N Horsepower Challenge is a special race-within-a-race bonus program for the top Pro Stock drivers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. The 2015 K&N Horsepower Challenge will be conducted at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motors Speedway in the spring. The race features a special elimination pairing with eight Pro Stock drivers in the field, including seven who accumulate the most points in qualifying during the 24-race Challenge series and one driver who is selected to the starting lineup for the event via a special fan vote. The winner of the K&N Horsepower Challenge will earn $50,000, and the runner-up will earn $10,000. The two semifinalists will earn $3,000 each, while the four first-round finishers will receive $2,500 each. In 2014, Gray Motorsports driver Dave Connolly won the fan vote and raced to the final round of the specialty competition.

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FUNNY CAR STAR ROBERT HIGHT WELCOMES ADDED PRESSURE THAT COMES AT AAA TEXAS NHRA FALLNATIONALS

September 17, 2014 by  
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robertpressurearticle-imgENNIS, Texas — Robert Hight enjoyed a tremendous 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season, winning five times and leading the points for an impressive 13-race stretch, the most in his career.

But as noteworthy as that is, Hight knows his Funny Car season will ultimately be determined on how he performs in his 10,000-horsepower Auto Club Ford Mustang during the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

Hight, currently second in points behind teammate and reigning world champion John Force, can make a big step towards his second Funny Car world championship by racing well at this weekend’s 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex. The stakes are certainly raised during the Countdown, but that has often brought out the best in Hight.

“We had a great regular season but the key is to be leading the points after the last race of the season,” Hight said. “It is a whole new ballgame now. The first 18 races are in the past. If you want a championship you better be on top of your game. Winning in the Countdown is what it is all about.”

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. It marks the second of six races in the Countdown to the Championship. The continuation of eliminations for the Countdown opener, the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals, will also be completed during qualifying rounds at the Texas Motorplex. In Top Fuel and Funny Car three rounds of racing remain, while Pro Stock still has all four to be completed. Four pairs of Pro Stock cars also need to complete their first round runs.

Hight won his first-round matchup in Charlotte and will face Jeff Arend in the quarterfinals. It sets up what could be a huge weekend for Hight, who knows how crucial it is to start well during the Countdown. With two races now being completed at the Texas Motorplex the spotlight will be even bigger in Dallas.

“With four races in a row getting a good start is important,” Hight said. “You want to build momentum and not fall behind. You better not waste any round wins. Also that all-concrete track (in Dallas) is key for qualifying bonus points. It might be hot but we have a good hot weather tune up so I am excited.”

Following a victory in Denver, Hight, who has 34 career victories, ran into a rough spot, dropping first-round matchups in three of the four races heading into the Countdown.

But Hight has always performed well during the Countdown, as his six victories are second only to Pedregon’s eight for most in Funny Car history. Plus Hight’s standout crew chief Mike Neff is aiming to win a Funny Car championship with a third different driver, something no Funny Car crew chief has done.

Standing in Hight’s way is an abundance of championship contenders that features Countdown participants John Force, Pedregon, Del Worsham, Courtney Force, Matt Hagan, Alexis DeJoria, Ron Capps, Tim Wilkerson and Tommy Johnson Jr.

“There are so many tough Funny Cars and I have some of the toughest competition coming from my own teammates,” said Hight, who has two career wins in Dallas. “In the Countdown anything can happen. This is a tough, tough category and if you slip up just a little you aren’t going to get any freebies. Neff and I have been talking and we have a great game plan for the Countdown. I have so much confidence in Neff and my Auto Club crew guys.”

The Auto Club involvement also makes it a special event for Hight but that extra attention simply means the reward is that much better if he is able to come through with a memorable performance at the Texas Motorplex.

“I love racing for AAA Texas,” Hight said. “We will see a lot of AAA Texas people at the race and you do feel some pressure but I wouldn’t call it extra pressure. You want to do well for your sponsor at every race. With the championship on the line it is pretty cool to have your sponsors around at the Countdown races. We are lucky because we have sponsors involved in three of the six Countdown races with Dallas, St. Louis and Pomona.”

In Top Fuel, Kalitta has advanced to nine final rounds in 2014 and will be after a second straight Dallas Top Fuel win, while the ultra-talented field also features Countdown qualifiers Tony Schumacher, who has five Dallas wins, Antron Brown, reigning world champion Shawn Langdon, Spencer Massey, Brittany Force, Khalid alBalooshi, Richie Crampton, Steve Torrence and J.R. Todd.

Line, last season’s Dallas winner in Pro Stock took over the points lead after winning in Brainerd and is after his third career championship. Line will try to thwart off challenges from a strong field that includes reigning world champion Jeg Coughlin, Allen Johnson, four-time 2014 winner Erica Enders-Stevens, Dave Connolly, V Gaines, Shane Gray, rookie Jonathan Gray, Vincent Nobile and Texas resident Chris McGaha.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec and his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson team has been the most consistent this season. Teammate Andrew Hines is the current points leader and Krawiec enters the Countdown off his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals win. Reigning world champ Matt Smith, Michael Ray, Angie Smith, Steve Johnson, Hector Arana, Hector Arana Jr. and Scotty Pollacheck are a few of the Pro Stock Motorcycle riders who will attempt to take home a Dallas victory.

The race will also mark the return to competition for three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Angelle Sampey-Drago. After sitting out the last five seasons to start a family, she is returning to action at this event riding the Star Racing Buell owned by George Bryce. It is a fitting return for the Louisiana native during a season where women have made a huge impact with a record number of wins on the track. She is the winningest female NHRA racer in history with 41 career victories.

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 sessions are scheduled for Friday, Sept. 19, with sessions at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m. (also Charlotte PS and PSM eliminations). The final two qualifying sessions, which will both include Charlotte eliminations, will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. The Charlotte final rounds will be held Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations for the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals 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.

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