The high-stakes action of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series will be apparent at the penultimate race of the 2018 season, the 18th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 25-28. Serving as the fifth of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, intensity will be at a fever pitch at the stars of the NHRA leave it all on the line to try and taste championship glory in 2018.
The top drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will go all-in at Las Vegas with the chance to win a title closing fast, and the intensity will be high as an exciting 2018 NHRA season nears the finish line. It makes every run of the thrilling 10,000-horsepower action a must-see, as fans will undoubtedly be treated to another memorable Las Vegas race.
Terry McMillen (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), including final eliminations coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 28.
McMillen picked up his first career Top Fuel win a year ago with his victory in Las Vegas, and added another this year in Indy. He’ll look for more success in Vegas in 2018 against a loaded field that includes points leader Steve Torrence, who has won all four playoff races thus far and has nine wins this season. He currently holds a commanding 169-point lead on Clay Millican, while eight-time Vegas winner and eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher is 210 points back. Leah Pritchett is in fourth while three-time world champ Antron Brown sits fifth
Defending Funny Car event winner Hagan has three wins in 2018 but is looking for his first in the Countdown to the Championship. He and everyone else trails defending world champion Robert Hight, who won in St. Louis and Dallas, with J.R. Todd in second, just 11 points behind Hight as he tries to win his first championship, while 2016 world champ Ron Capps is 109 points back. Tim Wilkerson sits in fourth, just 111 points back of Hight.
Anderson’s bid for a fifth Pro Stock world championship is probably over as he has just one win in 2018 and currently trails Tanner Gray by 210 points. Gray extended his lead with victories in St. Louis and Dallas, giving him seven victories in what has been an impressive season for the second-year standout. Jeg Coughlin, a five-time Vegas winner and five-time NHRA Mello Yello Pro Stock champ, trails Gray by 130 points while Reading winner Vincent Nobile is 136 points back.
Krawiec’s fourth win in the Countdown to the Championship in Pro Stock Motorcycle took place at Las Vegas a year ago en route to his fourth world title. It was a dominant run, but Krawiec is searching for his first playoff win in 2018. He currently trails two-time world champ Matt Smith, who won in St. Louis, by 56 points, while Dallas winner LE Tonglet sits in second, 41 points behind Smith. Others to watch in Vegas include 2016 world champ Jerry Savoie, Reading winner Hector Arana Jr., and five-time Vegas winner Andrew Hines.
The NHRA Toyota Nationals also features thrilling competition in the season-finale of the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, as well as the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport. After Nitro qualifying, watch spectacular jet cars, including Segal Motorsports’ Shelly Segal running ‘FireStarter,’ Tim Smith running the ‘American Freedom Fighter,’ Tony Franco driving the Lucas Oil ‘Terminal Velocity’ and the El Arabe Racing “Majestic” driven by Juan Cantu. Known for exciting pre-run flame shows and after burner pops, jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines.
Those in attendance will also have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with some of the biggest names in drag racing during the NHRA Legends Tour. This includes meet-and-greets, autograph sessions, and a variety of other activities. Legends scheduled to attend the NHRA Toyota Nationals include Joe Amato and Jim Dunn.
Along with the exciting on-track action, the NHRA Toyota Nationals will honor first responders with NHRA’s “Salute to First Responders” celebration.
As always, fans can 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 gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, 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.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 11:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 26, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 11:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 28.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-644-4444. Tickets also are available online at www.lvms.com/tickets/nhra/. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate.