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Top 20 Moments

Top 20 Moments


April, 1988 – Eddie Hill breaks five second barrier for the first time in drag racing history with a 4.990 second pass on April 9th.

August, 1986 – Darrell Gwynn becomes fastest person in NHRA history when he breaks the 5.30 second barrier by running 5.280, 5.261, 5.276, and 5.272. Gwynn also become the first person to break the 275 mph barrier with a run of 278.55.

October, 1992 – John Force hits the wall not once, not twice, but three times in a vain attempt to overtake Cruz Pedregon in the Funny Car final. Pedregon goes on to win his fifth straight race and, with it, the championship.

October, 1989 – In an effort to grab the last slot in the Krager 4-second Club Shirley Muldowney let’s her former arch-rival “Big Daddy” Don Garlits make a pass in her Pink Performance Automotive Warehouse top fuel dragster.

October, 1997 – A new king of speed is crowned when Cory McClenathan blazed the all-concrete track at Texas Motorplex 321.77 mph for an NHRA national record. It was the first 320 mph pass in NHRA history.

October, 1998 – Saturday qualifying produces the quickest times in every pro category: 4.525 by Gary Scelzi in Top Fuel; 4.787 by John Force in Funny Car; 6.867 by Warren Johnson in Pro Stock; and 7.594 by Larry Kopp in Pro Stock Truck. Each driver goes on to win their respective categories.

October, 1993 – Eddie Hill clinches his first Winston Top Fuel championship when Mike Dunn eliminates Hill’s closest competitor Scott Kalitta in the final round. John Force joins Chuck Etchells as the second member of the Castrol Four Second Club with a pass of 4.996 seconds.

October, 2001 – John Force clinches his 11th series championship, breaking Bob Glidden’s career record.

October, 1994 – Don Prudhomme beats Cory McClenathan in the Top Fuel final, the last victory of his Final Strike tour; the last of his 52 tour victories as a driver; the last of 17 in Top Fuel.

In 1987 the first NHRA Winston All-Star event ever hosted at Texas Motorplex took place. It featured the ten best Professional drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Alcohol Dragster, and Alcohol Funny Car for one race to showcase the sport’s “best of the best.” The “stick and ball” sports have their all-star players and games. This was drag racing’s version.

Ennis becomes Titletown U.S.A. for a day during the 1996 October national event when Kenny Bernstein and Jim Yates both clinch their first NHRA Winston championships in Top Fuel and Pro Stock, respectively. Bernstein becomes the first driver to win an NHRA Winston title in Top Fuel and Funny Car.

First funny car speed over 290 mph by Jim White 290.13 mph and the fastest Top Fuel speed by Don Prudhomme 293.15 mph were recorded during the October 1991 national event. Mile per hour records were the latest edition to the record books at the Texas Motorplex after a string of ET records had been set at previous national events.

Record books were ripped to shreds across three professional classes in October 1999. Record-setting performances by Tony Schumacher (326.91 mph) in Top Fuel, Warren Johnson (6.822 at 202.32 mph) in Pro Stock and Brad Jeter (179.21 mph) in Pro Stock Truck improve national standards. All these drivers backed up their record setting performances during an event that had the drag racing world talking for weeks afterwards.   

On a cool and overcast day in October, 2001, Mike Dunn breaks the 330 mph barrier at the Texas Motorplex with a run of 330.76 mph. Tony Schumacher was the first to break the 330 mph earlier in the year but Dunn electrifies the crowd with his track record setting pass.

Rain forces the NHRA to set the qualifying fields based on points for the first and only time in NHRA history during the 2000 NHRA national event. NHRA and track officials tried to wait out a four-day rainstorm that flooded the North Texas area. Officials notified all teams on Friday of the event that there would be no way to move forward.

Pro Stocker Bob Glidden makes history when he wins his 50th NHRA event during the inaugural NHRA event at the track in 1986. His 50th win was just one of the notable moments from an event that set the standard for all future NHRA national events.

October, 1987 – Mike Dunn in Joe Pisano’s Olds became the first Funny Car driver over 280-mph with a 280.72 charge in qualifying. Also during the nationals in 1987 fourteen pro national records were set or reset. In Funny Car, John Force (5.453), Mark Oswald (5.449), Mike Dunn (5.443), Force (5.396), and Ed McCulloch, who finally landed the mark with a 5.366, put on one of the greatest single battles for an NHRA Funny Car e.t. standard.In Top Fuel, Joe Amato logged the first 5.0-second run with a 5.09/287.72 (the best speed ever) only to have it bettered on the last run of the day by Gene Snow with a 5.089 at just 267.06 mph. Neither driver backed up their runs for records.

October, 1995 – John Force clinched an unprecedented fifth Winston Championship (now POWERade Championship) even though he lost in the final to Chuck Etchells. In Top Fuel Scott Kalitta took the national event win and clinched his second Top Fuel Championship. Warren Johnson clinched his third Pro Stock Championship but had to watch from the starting line as his son Kurt take the national event title with a win over Bob Patrick Jr. That Sunday would become known as “Coronation Day” at the Texas Motorplex.

Nearly ten years earlier in 1987 a Pro Stock Motorcycle legend-to-be, George Bryce, would capture the first ever Pro Stock Motorcycle crown awarded at the Texas Motorplex. Bryce took the win on his ’85 Suzuki with a winning time of 8.105 seconds at 161.46 mph. The Pro Stock Bike category did not return to the Motorplex until 1991. Bryce took his career to a new level as team owner directing the world championship runs of John Myers and Angelle Savoie. Bryce’s win checks in at number 19 on our list.

Over the past twenty years the Motorplex has seen its share of historic runs. In October of 1996 two drivers gave the record crowd in attendance a fantastic show. Kenny Bernstein powered the Budweiser King Top Fuel Dragster to the fastest speed in NHRA history regaining his crown as the sports “King of Speed” shortly after his run Shelly Anderson powered her Top Fuel land rocket to a speed of 316.23 mph solidifying the new NHRA official national speed record. This one-two punch of national massive miles per hour runs checks in at number 20 on our list.