For the 38th year, the thunder of NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing will shake the pine trees surrounding Brainerd Int'l Raceway north of Minneapolis. The event, which is the penultimate round in the regular season, will help determine playoff seedings for drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock.
Last year, Billy Torrence, "Fast Jack" Beckman, and Deric Kramer won Brainerd titles in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock, respectively. Torrence defeated three-time champion Antron Brown in a thrilling side-by-side battle that was decided by just .003-second at the finish line. Beckman rode a string of 3.9s to a final round win against DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr., while Kramer used a nearly-perfect reaction time to beat eventual world champ Tanner Gray in the Pro Stock final.
The battle for Countdown spots figures to be intense, especially in Top Fuel where defending event winner Torrence is not currently among the top ten. Torrence will have the ability to make it into the playoffs, which means trouble for either Terry McMillen or Scott Palmer, who enter the event ranked No. 10 and No. 11 respectively.
Time is also critical for Fernando Cuadra, who enters the Brainerd race just four points behind Kenny Delco for the final spot in Pro Stock. Cuadra will be joined in Brainerd by his sons, Fernando Jr., and Cristen, who are also racing with him in Pro Stock.
Professional qualifying sessions are scheduled for today, at 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Central time.
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