NHRA Carolina Nationals Kick Off Six-Race Countdown to the Championship, Sept. 16-18
A world championship will loom large as drivers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series pull into zMAX Dragway for the ninth annual NHRA Carolina Nationals, Sept. 16-18.
The 10,000 horsepower, ground-pounding action NHRA drag racing fans love will once again be showcased at the state-of-the-art facility that has hosted the opening round of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoff since 2007.
This year's edition of the famed event will feature intense side-by-side racing as drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle compete for Mello Yello Series points and win lights. Last year, fans witnessed the eventual world champions of each class race to victory. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Del Worsham (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) bettered the competition and foreshadowed the remainder of the 2015 Countdown to the Championship.
Brown, the driver of the Matco Tools dragster for Don Schumacher Racing holds the points lead with three wins heading into the final race of the regular season next weekend. A two-time NHRA Carolina Nationals winner and the defending series champion, he will certainly have a target on his back this year. Competitors like Doug Kalitta, who is second in points, Steve Torrence, three-time 2016 winner Brittany Force, eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher and recent Sonoma winner J.R. Todd have all secured their spots in the Countdown and will aim to knock Brown down.
Funny Car's Del Worsham had fire in his eyes as he opened last year's Countdown to the Championship in Charlotte with a victory over Tommy Johnson Jr. Worsham, who won the Top Fuel championship in 2011 and is one of only three drivers to win world titles in both Nitro categories, has not yet won this year, but is comfortably sitting third in points.
Enders, in Pro Stock, would be more than happy to copy Worsham's 2015 Countdown success as she has not won a race this regular season. Currently 9th in points, a third consecutive championship for Enders is still a possibility, but she will need to lock herself into the countdown with a strong finish in the regular season finale next weekend.
The new era has been dominated so far by hometown favorites Jason Line and Greg Anderson, who have each won seven events this year and sit first and second in points, respectively.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hines rode his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to the Winner's Circle over North Carolina native Matt Smith, claiming his second victory of 2015 en route to the championship. Hines, a three-time NHRA Carolina Nationals winner, is currently second in points with four wins and two runner-up finishes. He trails only his teammate Eddie Krawiec, who has three wins this year, in the points standings.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to 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 in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand how 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 3:15 and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 16, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 12:45 and 3 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 18.
Don't miss a minute of the action with three-day passes starting at just $99. Kids 13 and under are free with a paid adult. To purchase tickets, call 800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
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