The NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship reaches the halfway point of the 2018 season as the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series powers back to Texas for the 33rd annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, Oct. 4-7 at Texas Motorplex.
The Texas-sized drama of the NHRA’s six-race playoffs will be evident at the third stop in the Countdown to the Championship, as competitors will look to move into championship position at the fan-favorite track. The ground-shaking action of the nitro-burning 10,000-horsepower machines will come to life at the all-concrete dragstrip, and all the stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will leave everything on the line in thrilling fashion at the pivotal race.
Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Jason Line (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) and FOX Sports 2 (FS2) in 2018, including live final eliminations coverage on FS2 starting at 12:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 7.
In Top Fuel, Steve Torrence has raced out to a 70-point lead after back-to-back wins to open the Countdown playoffs. Last week at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, he beat Clay Millican in the final and it’s Millican now who is his closest pursuer.
In addition to Force, they’ll both have to deal with six-time Dallas winner Tony Schumacher, Leah Pritchett, Doug Kalitta, three-time world champ Antron Brown, Indy winner Terry McMillen, Scott Palmer and Mike Salinas.
Hight’s championship march in Funny Car a year ago continued in Dallas where he posted his second playoff win en route to his second title. Hight, who has three wins at Texas Motorplex, raced into the points lead with his explosive victory in St. Louis that put him ahead of Indy winner J.R. Todd, with former top seed Courtney Force and a resurgent Tim Wilkerson nipping at their heels, along with Matt Hagan, 2016 champ Ron Capps, seven-time Dallas winner John Force, Shawn Langdon, Tim Wilkerson, Jack Beckman and Tommy Johnson Jr.
Pro Stock top seed Tanner Gray added to his lead with his win in St. Louis, but Reading winner Vincent Nobile and Drew Skillman, whom Gray beat in the final, are within striking distance. Defending event winner Line is still looking for his first win of 2018, something he will look to accomplish at Texas Motorplex, where he has three career victories, while teammate Greg Anderson, Texans Erica Enders and Chris McGaha, Jeg Coughlin Jr., and defending world champ Bo Butner will try to make a move.
Eddie Krawiec has two straight wins at Texas Motorplex in Pro Stock Motorcycle, but the defending world champ slid to third place in the standings in St. Louis as he seeks his fifth world title. Matt Smith assumed the points lead with his win there, and will have to fight off Krawiec, Indy winner LE Tonglet, Reading champ Hector Arana Jr., 2015 winner and 2016 world champ Jerry Savoie, Andrew Hines, Scotty Pollacheck, Angelle Sampey, Steve Johnson and Angie Smith.
The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will also feature thrilling competition in E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series, which makes its 10th of 12 stops in 2018, as well as the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which showcases the future stars of the sport. After Nitro qualifying, fans can also watch the spectacular Lone Star Lightning Jet Dragster & the El Arabe Jet Car. Jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
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 AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals include Shirley Muldowney, Richard Tharp and more.
Along with the exciting on-track action, the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals 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 2:15 and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 6, at 1:15 and 4:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 7.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-668-6775. Tickets also are available online at www.texasmotorplex.com. 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.