Compiled by SEMA Editors
COUNTDOWN PROMISES TO GET INTENSE WITH DOUBLEHEADER AT TEXAS MOTORPLEX: It’s been said that everything is bigger in Texas. To confirm that notion, NHRA is serving up Texas Motorplex fans a double portion of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Texas race fans will get to enjoy a rare doubleheader of action as the stars of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series rumble into the Texas Motorplex, September 18–21, for the continuation of eliminations from round one of the Countdown playoffs, the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals, and Countdown round two, the 29th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals. The Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals was postponed due to weather last weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elimination rounds for that event will be run simultaneously during AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals qualifying. Top Fuel and Funny Car have three rounds of Charlotte racing to complete, and while Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle need to complete all four rounds of the Carolina Nationals.
TORRENCE HOPEFUL FOR FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON IN DALLAS: It might have been an excruciating defeat at the time, but Steve Torrence also knows that his runner-up finish in Top Fuel at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is a surefire sign that the Texas native is ready to compete for an NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship. Torrence fell in the Top Fuel final to rookie Richie Crampton in Indy, but he takes plenty of positives into the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
“The car has definitely picked up,” Torrence said. "The performance was better, and it was more consistent, and I’m very happy with that. The consistency was definitely there and so was the performance, and that’s a big confidence-booster this time of year. Going into the Countdown, that gives our team the type of momentum we need. I feel like we put our best foot forward going into the Countdown."
MIKE DUNN POWER RANKINGS: Tony Schumacher, John Force, Erica Enders-Stevens and Eddie Krawiec top ESPN analyst Mike Dunn's Power Rankings heading into the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, September 18–21. They will be among the top drivers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competing at the event this weeknd in the Lone Star state.
He Said, She Said
"I was definitely nervous the first run, but I kept getting more comfortable each run. My life is in order with a great family, and I have been missing my racing family. The fans were so good to me when I was at Houston earlier this year, and to be honest, I still have that burning desire to win. It is an honor to be back with George and Jackie (Bryce). They took a chance with a rookie in 1996, and we had some great years together. The time is right to come back and bring back our Star power. I am truly blessed for my life and this amazing opportunity. We have a few things we are working on for marketing partners that are very exciting. I can’t wait to spend time with my fans at the races and help bring Star Racing back to the winner’s circle."
—Angelle Sampey-Drago, on returning to competition full-time in 2015 and this weekend in Dallas, with George and Jackie Bryce on the Star Racing Buell. Sampey-Drago has 41 career wins and will be looking to eclipse Dave Schultz’s record of 45 wins—the most in Pro Stock Motorcycle history.
Inside the Numbers
0: Number of multiple Pro Stock Motorcycle winners at the Texas Motorplex in the 11 times the category has been run there. The 2013 winner, Eddie Krawiec, will attempt to be the first to repeat, and teammate Andrew Hines pictured will be looking for his first win at the facility.
"Last year, everything seemed to work fine for Eddie. He went out and got the cowboy hat," said Hines of the unique keepsake given to the event winner. "This year, we're just hoping for more of the same. We've got more power. We've run decent at that track in the past. It's just a matter of going back there again, seeing what kind of weather we've got, and work on it from there. But one thing that's high on my list is running out there at Texas Motorplex and getting a cowboy hat at the end of the day. I've been in two final rounds there and come up short both times. It's been tough; I lost to a 20-year-old, and I lost to a girl one time, so it's pretty rough."
Did You Know
HARTFORD CONNECTS WITH THE HOSE CONNECTION: Matt Hartford’s Pro Stock Avenger will sport a special wrap for the upcoming AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals, September 18–21. Instead of the familiar Total Seal Pistons Rings logo, the Dodge Avenger will be wrapped in The Hose Connection colors.
Larry Webb, president of Texas-based The Hose Connection, stated, “We are dedicated to drag racing, and we are a racing family. We wanted to step up and support Matt Hartford for the Dallas race. This is our home race, and it’s a great opportunity to invite our family, friends and customers to come by the pits and say hello." Added Hartford, "Our Pro Stock program has had The Hose Connection involved since the beginning. Larry and Regan have been great supporters of our team. I am so excited to have them on the starting line with us in Ennis. We could not be racing without people like them and all our sponsors.”
View the complete 2014 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.