COUNTDOWN TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP TOP SEEDS ALL HAVE FOUND SUCCESS AT LEGENDARY TEXAS MOTORPLEX

September 10, 2014 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 9, 2014) – The field for the 2014 Countdown to the Championship is set and in less than two weeks the title battle will invade Texas Motorplex for the second race in the Countdown, the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals.
To no one’s surprise, the top seeds in each of the classes have experienced success at the all-concrete marvel in Ennis, which will make for plenty of exciting racing during next week’s Sept. 18-21 shootout.
Doug Kalitta comes into the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals as the top seed in the Top Fuel class and is also the race’s defending champion. It was at the 2013 event that Kalitta finally ended a 71-race draught by picking up what was his second career Wally at the Motorplex.
Joining Kalitta in the Top Fuel playoff race is Antron Brown, who is 30 points out of first place, 2013 Top Fuel Champion Shawn Langdon, 5-time Motorplex winner and Austin resident Tony Schumacher, Fort Worth resident and native Spencer Massey, Khalid Albalooshi, Richard Crampton, Brittany Force and J.R. Todd. Kalitta holds a 30-point advantage over Brown heading into the playoffs.
Other than Kalitta, only Schumacher, Brown and Todd, have found their way to winner’s circle at the Motorplex. Todd won Top Fuel in 2008 while Brown notched his first career pro win in Pro Stock Motorcycle at the Motorplex in 1999 and earned his first win at the Motorplex in Top Fuel in 2012.
Perennial winner and 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, a seven-time winner at Texas Motorplex, heads the FC field and is on a roll after making the finals the last six events.  Force enters the Countdown to the Championship with a 30-point advantage over teammate Robert Hight.  Also in the field is Ron Capps, Indy winner and Austin resident Alexis DeJoria, Tommy Johnson, Courtney Force, Matt Hagan, last year’s AAA Texas Fall Nationals winner Cruz Pedregon, Del Worsham and Tim Wilkerson.
Of the playoff contenders, Force, Pedregon (4), Hight (2), Worsham (2), Capps (1), Hagan (1) and Wilkerson (1) all have wins at Texas Motorplex on their resumes.
Jason Line, who made a big run toward the end of the regular season, enters the Countdown as the top seed in Pro Stock. He has two career wins at Texas Motorplex, including last year’s victory. Line is the only pro racer to earn two Texas cowboy hats in Winner’s Circle – a tradition started in 2010. Each pro and sportsman winner receives a specially sized, steamed and branded cowboy hat after the win – and only Line, so far, has two of them in his trophy case.
Erica Enders-Stevens is second, 30 points in arrears to Line, followed by Allen Johnson, 2013 category champ Jeg Coughlin, Dave Connolly, Shane Gray, Vincent Nobile, V Gaines, Odessa, Texas resident Chris McGaha and Jonathan Gray.
Connolly has a pair of wins at the Motorplex as does Gaines while Coughlin and Johnson both have one each.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Andrew Hines has a 30-point cushion, followed by defending AAA Texas Fall Nationals winner Eddie Krawiec, Hector Arana Jr., Hector Arana, John Hall, last year’s world champion Matt Smith, Michael Ray Jr., Scott Pollacheck, Angie Smith and Steve Johnson.
There has never been a double winner in Pro Stock Motorcycle at Texas Motorplex and that trend could continue this year as only Krawiec, Arana and Ray Jr. have notched victories at the Ennis track.

Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are still available, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5.   For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.

The first ever PreStage Fan Fest in Downtown Ennis will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17 between 5-10 p.m. with food trucks, music, driver appearances and more.

Gates open for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Two rounds of professional qualifying, at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., highlight the Friday, Sept. 19 schedule, along with sportsman qualifying throughout the day. Saturday, Sept. 20, is packed with sportsman eliminations and the final two rounds of professional qualifying at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Gates open at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, with pre-race ceremonies at 10 a.m. and final eliminations getting under way at 11 a.m.

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MASSEY STILL LOOKING TO GRAB FIRST WIN AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX

September 9, 2014 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 16, 2014) – The first time Spencer Massey ever laid eyes on Texas Motorplex was also the first time NHRA drag racing fans saw it. That’s because Massey, who was all of 4 years old at the time, was at the iconic all-concrete track back in 1986 when it first opened.

Nearly three decades later, Massey, who hails from Texas, will return to his home track for the 29th edition of the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals Sept. 18-21, in hopes of picking up what would be his first-ever professional win at the track in the second race of the Countdown to the Championship.

“Obviously, it would mean a lot,” said Massey, who has already clinched a spot in the Countdown. “The first race I even went to was at Texas Motorplex, the first year they opened it. Every time I pull up there and look at the grandstands and at the track and I remember being 4 years old and thinking about racing right there and driving a Top Fuel car.

“And now I get a chance to do that. But I’ve never won there, not in Alcohol Dragster or Top Fuel and it’s such a huge race. I would love to finally get that Wally at Texas Motorplex and wear that cowboy hat they give to the winners.”

It goes without saying that Massey always has to come up with a few more tickets when the NHRA circuit hits Ennis.

“I have so many people there, just hanging out, just wanting to talk and not just about racing,” he said. “There’s always a lot of media there and friends and family and division racers and sportsman racers. They’re all there and that’s my second family.

“I miss going to that track. I wish we could race there twice a year. Every time I go there it’s special. (Owner) Billy Meyer knows what he’s doing with that race track. I’m really excited to get there and hopefully we can actually pull it off and walk away with a Wally.”

Like every driver with dreams of a NHRA championship on his mind, Massey is well aware that doing well in the early part of the Countdown is crucial to winning a title.

“The Countdown is made to make it very interesting,” he said. “To make it tight in the beginning so it can be anybody’s ballgame. So if you stumble, it hurts you bad. If you can motor right into the Countdown, you’re ready to go. You have to be the best of the best in the Countdown to win a championship.

“The Dallas event is right at the start of the Countdown so you really have to go rounds to stay in that top three or five. If you start falling behind it’s tough to catch up. This is a race where you really have to start laying the foundation for a championship run, and you really have to keep that momentum going.”

Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are available now, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5.   For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.

The first ever PreStage Fan Fest in Downtown Ennis will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17 between 5-10 p.m. with food trucks, music, driver appearances and more.

Gates open for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Two rounds of professional qualifying, at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., highlight the Friday, Sept. 19 schedule, along with sportsman qualifying throughout the day. Saturday, Sept. 20, is packed with sportsman eliminations and the final two rounds of professional qualifying at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Gates open at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, with pre-race ceremonies at 10 a.m. and final eliminations getting under way at 11 a.m.

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KALITTA LOOKING FOR SECOND CONSECUTIVE VICTORY AND THIRD OVERALL AT AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS

September 9, 2014 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 12, 2014) – More often than not, Texas Motorplex is a game-changer when it comes to NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship.

A year ago when the sport’s biggest names invaded the iconic drag strip for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals for the second of six playoff races, drivers were pointing to the race as one of the biggest of the year. That’s nothing unusual though, because the Motorplex often changes the complexion of the season for a number of drivers, which is exactly what some will be hoping for when the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals takes place Sept. 18-21.

Doug Kalitta is a perfect example of how last year’s race totally turned the season around. Heading into the event, Kalitta was smack dab in the midst of a 71-race winless drought, having not won since the 2010 season-opener in Pomona. He rolled into the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals and ran the table, beating Larry Dixon, Brittany Force and Spencer Massey before dismissing eventual 2013 Top Fuel champ Shawn Langdon in the final.

For Kalitta, who heads into the first playoff race in Charlotte with a pair of wins and the first top seed of his career in the Countdown, the win changed everything.

“Well, we won down there last year and it was a huge win,” said Kalitta, who is NHRA’s most successful Top Fuel driver ever not to win a championship with 35 career victories. So, I’m pretty excited about going back there and having, hopefully, the same success we had a year ago.”

Kalitta’s feelings about the Texas Motorplex are much the same as his counterparts and he’s looking forward to trying to make it two-in-a-row at one of NHRA’s most unique tracks.

“Billy has that thing in as good a shape as it’s been in from what I can remember,” he said. “Every year he makes improvements. I’m just looking forward to going down there and I really don’t see any major challenges other than just trying to qualify well and win the thing.”

Jason Line, who captured the Pro Stock title at the Motorplex a year ago after dispatching Shane Gray in the finals, enters this year’s Countdown to the Championship as the top seed. He said being able to win that race is always a big factor in winning championships.

“If you can go in there and come out with a win, it puts you in a great position for the championship,” Line said. “It’s a huge boost to your team and to your confidence. It’s a tough place to win but you feel like you’ve really accomplished something if you can leave there with that really cool cowboy hat they give you and the Wally.

“Two of the last three years, whoever won at Texas Motorplex won the championship. AJ (Allen Johnson) won there in 2012 and won the title that year and I won there in 2011 and then won the championship. That shows you how crucial leaving there with a win is to your championship chances.”

Line finished the 2013 season third in the points and is currently third in the 2014 points.

Last year’s Funny Car winner was two-time world champion Cruz Pedregon who recorded his fourth victory at Texas Motorplex by outlasting the legendary John Force in the finals. Force ultimately went on to record his 16th Funny Car championship while Pedregon finished fourth in the points.

Eddie Krawiec, the 2012 Pro Stock Motorcycle champion, notched his first win ever at Texas Motorplex a year ago and his first win of the 2013 season after knocking off Matt Smith in the finals.  Krawiec ended up second in the overall points.

Fans can still pick up tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5. For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com

Texas Motorplex’s first-ever PreStage Fan Fest in Downtown Ennis will take place Wednesday, Sept. 17 from 5-10 p.m. with driver appearances, food trucks, music, and much more.

Gates open for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Two rounds of professional qualifying, at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., highlight the Friday, Sept. 19 schedule, along with sportsman qualifying throughout the day. Saturday, Sept. 20, is packed with sportsman eliminations and the final two rounds of professional qualifying at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Gates open at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, with pre-race ceremonies at 10 a.m. and final eliminations getting under way at 11 a.m.

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TEXAS MOTORPLEX TO HOST THE 2014 SUMMIT E.T. JR. BRACKET FINALS

September 8, 2014 by  
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JDRL

TEXAS MOTORPLEX TO HOST THE 2014 SUMMIT E.T. JR. BRACKET FINALS

Summit Jr. Dragster ET Finals Will be at Texas Motorplex, Oct. 11-12, 2014

ENNIS, Texas (Sept. 8, 2014) – Texas Motorplex and NHRA officials are pleased to announce the Summit E.T. Jr. Bracket Finals will be held at the Motorplex, Oct. 11-12, 2014.

Jr. Drag Racing teams and their families from all over the Division 4 will take over the all-concrete race track in Ennis for a full weekend of competition. The skills and achievements of the Junior racers will truly be tested. The competition heats up when all the NHRA Member tracks sending their best racers to participate. The winners will take home the coveted Wally trophy, Gold Cards, and bragging rights to racers ages 8-17 years old.

A schedule will be released shortly, but racing will take place all day Saturday and Sunday, with family entertainment and games planned for the night of Oct. 11.

“We are honored to host this year’s Jr. Bracket Finals and we can’t wait to plan something fun after the conclusion of racing on Saturday and help crown champions on Sunday,” Texas Motorplex General Manager, Gabrielle Stevenson, said. “The Jr. teams are highly competitive in this part of the country and I think we will see some great performances as the season comes to an end with a big event.”

NHRA Division Director Trey Capps said the event will be a showcase event for the category that features future champions in all levels of drag racing.

“NHRA is looking forward to making this event a model of fun and competition,” Capps said. “We want to celebrate Jr. Drag racing and the families that make it possible all year.”

Texas Motorplex will announce the full weekend’s schedule soon. Check www.texasmotorplex.com or “LIKE” us on Facebook www.facebook.com/txmplex for more news, information and ticket announcements.

Texas Motorplex was the first all-concrete stadium-style drag racing facility ever constructed. Built in 1986, Texas Motorplex has been the place of many drag racing milestones and world record performances. The Billy Meyer-owned facility hosts a number of racing and car show events between March and November each year and also features the Champion’s Club – an 11,000 square-foot facility – that serves fully catered events throughout the year.

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ENDERS-STEVENS LOOKING TO MAKE A LITTLE HISTORY AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX WHEN AAA TEXAS FALL NATIONALS RETURNS SEPT. 18-21

September 4, 2014 by  
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ENNIS, Texas (Date) – It happened two years ago but Erica Enders-Stevens hasn’t forgotten just how close she came to winning at Texas Motorplex.

And while all trips to winner’s circle hold great meaning for the 30-year-old driver, one in her home state of Texas at the famed Motorplex would have meant just a bit more. It wasn’t meant to be, however, in the 2012 AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals when she found herself battling Allen Johnson in the finals.

“We had an electrical issue,” Enders-Stevens said. “My car shut off when I let the clutch out, so I didn’t even have a chance.”

She returns Sept. 18-21 for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, the second race in the Countdown to the Championship, determined to finally get a win at the Motorplex, which would make her the first female to win at the iconic all-concrete track in the Pro Stock class.

“It’d be really neat,” she said “I make it known everywhere I go how much I love Texas, and to be back in my home state in front of friends and family is very exciting. It would be so cool to win there – and I really want to get that cowboy hat (given to all Motorplex winners).”

Enders-Stevens, who has four wins this season, now has 10 career victories, making her only the third woman in NHRA history, along with the legendary Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey, to ever reach double digit professional wins. She clinched a spot in the Countdown to the Championship, having secured it back in July.

How important is a good run at Texas Motorplex if she’s to become the first woman to ever win an NHRA Pro Stock championship?

“It’s crucial to get off on the right foot at Charlotte and Dallas, the first two races in the Countdown,” she said. “We’ve got to have all our ducks in a row and come out swinging. I’m really confident in our team and I’m hopeful that this is our year.

 

“It’s going to take consistency (to win at the Motorplex). We’ve got to be able to get down a hot, tricky racetrack. It’s going to be absolutely critical to have our setup right and making sure our car is going straight. As a driver, I’ve got to stay on top of the wheel and keep the car in the groove.”

Enders-Stevens knows this is the best opportunity of her career to win a championship. And for the driver who’s been racing since she was 8 years old, finally reaching that pinnacle would be a culmination of a lot of years of hard work and a lot of dreaming.

“You wouldn’t be able to catch me because I’d be running and jumping around everywhere” said Enders-Stevens, envisioning her reaction to snagging a title. “It’s what every driver dreams of and works for, and there’s such a small list of champions in NHRA. And to be the first female champion in Pro Stock would be huge. Shirley Muldowney won the Top Fuel championship the year before I was born, and Angelle Sampey won a couple Pro Stock Motorcycle titles.

“But it would be awesome. It would just show that all of our hard work and determination paid off. It would show that perseverance and never giving up, even when the chips are down, pays off. This is my best opportunity to do it. I’ve got the team, I’ve got the car.”

Tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals are still available, ranging from just $10 to $380 for weekend packages. Youth tickets for children 12 and under start as low as $5.   For tickets or more information, please call the Texas Motorplex office at (800) MOTORPLEX or visit www.texasmotorplex.com.

The first ever PreStage Fan Fest in Downtown Ennis will be held Wednesday, Sept. 17 between 5-10 p.m. with food trucks, music, driver appearances and more.

Gates open for the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 with sportsman qualifying runs between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Two rounds of professional qualifying, at 2:15 and 5:15 p.m., highlight the Friday, Sept. 19 schedule, along with sportsman qualifying throughout the day. Saturday, Sept. 20, is packed with sportsman eliminations and the final two rounds of professional qualifying at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

Gates open at 8 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, with pre-race ceremonies at 10 a.m. and final eliminations getting under way at 11 a.m.

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