Spencer Massey and Steve Torrence have a Texas-sized love for their home state, where their drag racing careers began, and they are looking forward to the opportunity of having a playoff “home game” when the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series returns to Texas Motorplex for the 27th annual AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, Sept. 20-23.
Massey, of Fort Worth, and Kilgore’s Torrence, multiple-time winners on the circuit this season, are ready to wow the crowds as they battle it out in their 8,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragsters for an important postseason victory in the second of six playoff races in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship.
Last season, Bob Vandergriff Jr. (Top Fuel), Cruz Pedregon (Funny Car), Jason Line, (Pro Stock), and Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycle) celebrated in the Texas Motorplex winner’s circle, clutching their Wallys and wearing their custom-made Stetson hats, provided to all winners by the Motorplex.
This season, NHRA’s biggest stars are prepared to bring plenty of 300-mph action to the famed Texas track, including the NHRA’s most decorated Top Fuel driver, Tony Schumacher, driver of the U.S. Army dragster and a five-time winner at the Motorplex. He will challenge the Lone Star State’s native sons, Massey and Torrence, for bragging rights and the race victory. Others to watch in the Top Fuel category include Antron Brown and past Motorplex winners Doug Kalitta and Brandon Bernstein, also a native Texan.
In Funny Car, 1998 event winner Ron Capps is leading the points in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger after his win last weekend in Charlotte. Two-time Motorplex winner Robert Hight, who drives the Auto Club Ford Mustang, is in fourth place. Seven-time winner John Force, who experienced the worst crash of his career at the Motorplex in 2007, is more than ready to add to his victory total here. His daughter, 24-year-old Courtney Force, is turning heads with a strong rookie season behind the wheel of the Traxxas Ford Mustang.
In Pro Stock, points leader Allen Johnson will be trying to earn his first victory at the Motorplex in his Team Mopar Dodge Avenger over four-time winner Greg Anderson as well as past winners Jason Line, Jeg Coughlin Jr., and V. Gaines. Houston’s Erica Enders went on a winning streak in the late part of the summer, taking three victories in her GK Motorsports Chevy Cobalt in July and August.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, the Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson riders, defending world champ Eddie Krawiec and three-time champ Andrew Hines, have been leading the way all season in the two-wheel category and will be among the favorites in Texas, along with Hector Arana Sr., Hector Arana Jr., LE Tonglet, and Karen Stoffer.
The all-concrete drag racing facility has been the site of many record-breaking runs and jaw-dropping performances. Last year, Massey set the track speed record at 324.05 mph in his FRAM/Prestone dragster at this event, and in the Funny Car class, Jack Beckman set the track speed record at 309.63 mph in his Valvoline/NextGen Dodge Charger in front of thousands of cheering Texas fans. Line and Johnson claimed track records in Pro Stock, as did Arana Jr. and defending event winner Phillips in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
All of NHRA’s featured Texas drivers, as well as all of the stars of the Full Throttle Series, will be available to fans throughout the weekend for meet and greets and autograph sessions, and many of them will participate in the increasingly popular Nitro Generation Track Walk on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. All Sunday ticket holders can take advantage of this free Track Walk, where fans can walk side by side and interact with some of NHRA’s most popular drivers.
* SCHEDULE: NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2 and 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21, and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. Final eliminations will begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23.
* TICKETS: For tickets for the AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, call 800-MOTORPLEX (668-6775) or log on to www.texasmotorplex.com.
* ON TV: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise 90 minutes qualifying coverage at 10:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 22, and three hours of eliminations coverage at 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 23.
* LUCAS OIL SERIES: The AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals will feature competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where some of the future stars of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series are born. Lucas Oil Series qualifying begins at 10 a.m. on Sept. 20, and eliminations begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 21 and continue through Sept. 23.