CHEVROLET AT DALLAS
32nd AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals
Friday, Oct. 13-Sunday, Oct. 15
Texas Motorplex in Ennis
FS1: Qualifications live – 6 p.m. ET Friday
FS1: Eliminations and finals live – 2 p.m. ET Sunday
Chevrolet Drivers in Thick of Title Battles Entering Second Half of Countdown
Texas Motorplex hosts the fourth of six events in playoffs, in which every point is crucial
DETROIT (Oct. 11, 2017) – Whether it’s worn occasionally or adorns a trophy shelf, every National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) driver aims to pick up a Stetson cowboy hat for winning at Texas Motorplex.
The prize, in addition to the Wally each victor receives, will be especially coveted this weekend at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals because of the corresponding points haul. The 32nd annual event is the fourth of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship series, and title battles in each of the three professional categories in which Chevrolet competes are tight.
* Brittany Force, who won the second event in the Countdown at Reading, Pennsylvania, in the Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster, is third in Top Fuel standings (a manageable 83 points out of first).
“We need to go rounds, we need to win the thing, we need to gain as many points as we can because the fight for the championship is not out of reach,” said Force, who ran the third-fastest elapsed time in Top Fuel history in the first round of eliminations two weeks ago in suburban St. Louis.
* Robert Hight, winner of the Funny Car Countdown opener at zMAX Dragway in the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS and the No. 1 qualifier the past two races, is 46 points behind the leader. John Force Racing teammate Courtney Force, driving the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS, is in third place (108 points behind the pace-setter). She’ll race a special pink paint scheme as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“We’re still within striking distance of the points lead, and we need to get in there and win this race and get this points lead back,” said Hight, who is a two-time winner and five-time No. 1 qualifier on the concrete racetrack.
* Four-time Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS) takes a three-point lead over KB Racing teammate Bo Butner (Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro SS) into the second half of the Countdown. Three-time and reigning Pro Stock title-holder Jason Line is 76 points arrears, while rookie sensation Tanner Gray (Gray Motorsports/Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro SS) is 94 points out of the top spot.
“This is the heat of the battle. We’re halfway through the Countdown to the Championship, and we’ve got a knock down drag-out brawl going,” said Anderson, whose victory over teammate Line (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS) in the final at St. Louis two weeks ago put him atop the standings. “We love it, and this weekend is another very important one.”
Chevrolet has won all 21 Pro Stock events, featuring nine different drivers visiting the winner’s stage. Anderson, Butner and Gray have won the Countdown races.
Four competitors driving their Chevrolet COPO Camaros will represent Texas in Super Stock competition: Elizabeth Lopez of Fort Worth, Arthur Kohn of Richmond, James Carter of Forney, Texas, and Phillip Giles of Flatonia. Also entered with their Chevrolet COPO Camaros are Brett Candies of Thibodaux, Louisiana, and Brandon Bakies of Alexandria, Louisiana.
Kohn will see double duty by driving his Chevrolet COPO Camaro in Stock Eliminator, along with David Janac of Caldwell, Texas, Jeff Lopez of Irving, Texas, two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders of New Orleans, Randy Taylor of Artesia, New Mexico, and Todd Patterson of Augusta, Kansas.
Fans will have the opportunity to tour the Chevrolet Racing Tour display at the track. The expansive display will feature production vehicles such as the 2018 Chevrolet Equinox Premier, the 2018 Camaro Coupe SS, the Silverado 2500 HD High Country, and the Corvette Grand Sport.
FS1 will telecast qualifications live at 6 p.m. ET Friday and will telecast eliminations and finals live at 2 p.m. ET Sunday.
CHEVROLET RACING ENGINEERING PREVIEW
ROGER ALLEN, CHEVROLET RACING NHRA PROGRAM MANAGER: “Entering the fourth round of the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, three John Force Racing drivers are poised to make a run for their respective titles – Brittany Force is third in the Top Fuel standings, while Robert Hight is second and Courtney Force is third in Funny Car. And John Force moved up to sixth in Funny Car with his performance at St. Louis two weeks ago. Additionally, Chevrolet drivers occupy nine of the 10 spots in the Countdown, with four-time champion and points front-runner Greg Anderson currently leading KB Racing teammate Bo Butner by a scant three points. The second half of the Countdown to the Championship is sure to be as exciting as the first half, and it all starts at the fast Texas Motorplex this weekend. We’re looking forward to what’s in store for all the Team Chevy drivers and teams.”
CHEVROLET FROM THE COCKPIT
BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET TOP FUEL DRAGSTER (two-time winner this season, including Reading in Countdown; has qualified in top half of field in 20 of 21 events; third in points): “Leaving St. Louis, we got a little lucky. Things didn’t change that much. We still picked up bonus points, we went a couple rounds, and we maintained No. 3 position, which is really helpful for what we need to do.”
ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (three-time winner this season, including Countdown opener; earned seventh No. 1 qualifier honor of season – second in row — and 56th of career at St. Louis; holds track elapsed time record, set in 2016; two-time winner and five-time No. 1 qualifier at track; second in points): “I love going to Dallas. It’s the first quarter-mile, all-concrete racetrack in the world. What makes Dallas a little different is Billy Meyer, the owner, is not just an owner – he’s a former race car driver, he’s a racer. He knows that we need as racers and what the fans want to see. He always puts on a great show at a great facility.”
COURTNEY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (four-time runner-up, including twice in Countdown; won at track in 2014; two-time No. 1 qualifier at track; third in points): “We had great momentum going over the last three races that were held all in a row. It was nice to have a break, and now we’re ready for Dallas. Sure, we have some gaps in between races now, so I’m hopeful we can continue to carry that momentum, but honestly, we have a great race car.”
JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK COOLANT & MOTOR OIL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (won at Gainesville and four-time semifinalist; seven-time winner at track; has competed in 98 elimination rounds at track (71-27 record); 11-time No. 1 qualifier at track; sixth in points): “I want to come back and win in Dallas. It’s a great racetrack. We’re halfway through the Countdown and we need to do some damage. I thought we had it at St. Louis, but that’s not going to do. (Points leader) Ron Capps is doing his job, but we’re coming with guns blazing.”
GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (three-time winner and seven-time runner-up this season; four-time winner at track; holds track elapsed time and speed records, set in 2015; sits atop point standings): “We love that racetrack. Anytime we get a deal like that where there is more on the line, so to speak, and more pressure, it seems that we perform better. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a great weekend all the way through.”
BO BUTNER, JIM BUTNER AUTO, BUTNER AUTO SALES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (four-time winner, including Maple Grove Raceway in Countdown, and five-time runner-up; four-time No. 1 qualifier; three points out of first place): “Dallas is a cool track, and I actually won my first national event ever there in Super Stock. I won a lot of division races before then, but I just could not win a national event. It finally happened there in 1998 when I beat Jimmy DeFrank in the final. So, yes, I like Dallas. It can be a very good track, it just depends on the weather. I think we have a slight advantage as of the last two races, but that won’t last. We have our work cut out for us.”
JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (reigning Pro Stock champion; won season opener at Pomona and runner-up at St. Louis; competing in 330th event; has 556 round wins; third in points): “I have a couple of those cowboy hats that they give you for winning at Texas Motorplex, and both of those wins were memorable, but the one that really stands out is winning in 2011. I beat Kurt Johnson in the final, and that was a big points day for me. It really put the nail in the coffin, as far as winning the championship that year. It was a big day, but even before then I always enjoyed racing in Dallas. This year we start off with a visit to the new Summit Racing store in Arlington, and we can’t wait to get there and see that. It’s the biggest store they have. We’ve seen the pictures and heard great things, but it will be something to see in person, that’s for sure. As for our chances this weekend, it’s getting harder to win one of these things, and it’s going to get tougher – but that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be easy. I faltered in the final (in St. Louis), but I feel like I’ve driven well in the Countdown aside from that, so I just have to keep it going. We just have to keep picking away. It’s not over yet.”
TANNER GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, VALVOLINE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (won at Las Vegas to become youngest winner in NHRA history; also won at Topeka, Sonoma, Brainerd, and Charlotte; fourth in points): “Our championship run is not over. Yes, we had a fall back in St. Louis, but our team still has the determination to continue to battle for this pro stock championship. I have all of the confidence in my Gray Motorsports team. Heading into the last three races of the Countdown, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I have gotten the mistakes out of the way and realize what the pressure can do when you allow it to get to you. I have been blessed with great equipment that should not be put on the trailer by a first round loss, but I guess that’s racing.”
DREW SKILLMAN, RAY SKILLMAN MOTORSPORTS, RAY SKILLMAN AUTO GROUP CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (four-time winner this season; won at track in 2016; fifth in points): “The first three races of the Countdown have not gone the way we would have liked to move up in the standings, but there are three races remaining to make up some ground. Our Chevy Camaro is fast with power from Gray Motorsports, and we just have to put all the pieces together for another successful weekend. I won at Texas Motorplex in 2016, and would love to repeat. We have the capability.”
ERICA ENDERS, MELLING PERFORMANCE/ ELITE MOTORSPORTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (native of Houston; won at New Hampshire and three-time runner-up this season; sixth in points): “It is not secret that we are full of pride for Texas. Growing up running Junior Dragster, we would run Houston on Saturday night but on Friday night we would be at the Motorplex. It has been a part of our life for a really long time. It holds a special place in my heart. We were finally able to get our Motorplex win in 2015, so I got a cowboy hat and belt buckle. The fans at the Motorplex are very diehard. It is one of our favorites.”
JEG COUGHLIN JR., ELITE MOTORSPORTS, JEGS.COM ELITE PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (made Pro Stock debut at track in 1997; won at track in 2002, and runner-up in 2000, ’03 and ’08; two-time runner-up and three-time No. 1 qualifier this season; eighth in points): “We’re heading into Dallas with three races left on the schedule knowing it would take a miracle to make a real run for the championship. However, we do have a chance to arrange the power, the car and the talent we have with this team into a winning combination before we’re through. We’re needing a car that’s competitive Friday through Sunday, like we had earlier this season, so in that regard (car builder) Rick (Jones) wanted to make some fairly big changes to both my car and (teammate) Erica (Enders’) car after the last race. We’ll get some testing passes done to make sure they’re working properly and give it hell in Dallas.”
CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS RACING, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (resident of Odessa, Texas; earned first Pro Stock round win at the track; won at Charlotte1; competing in 115th career event; ninth in points): “We’ve been going there for many, many years. It was like the family trip growing up for us. Obviously, we would love to do well there. Winning there would be about as big as winning at Indy for us. We’ve given away a couple of rounds during the Countdown, so hopefully we can revive things a little in Dallas. I feel like we can win one of these last three races, I really do. We’ve got a good enough car to do it. If we can keep the car where it is, get a couple little breaks, there’s no reason we can’t win. Winning one more this year would be pretty nice. It does help your winter when you run well at the end of the season. Racing in front of a friends and family does add extra pressure, but that’s part of the game. It would mean a lot and be a big deal if we could win (in Dallas).”
ALEX LAUGHLIN, GAS MONKEY RACING, GAS MONKEY GARAGE/360 WRAPS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (resident of Granbury, Texas; competing in 10th race of season; won at Bristol and semifinalist at Indianapolis; runner-up in 2016 event): “It’s great to return to our ‘home’ track and race in front of family and friends this weekend. We’ve not gotten the results we’ve wanted the past few races in the Countdown, but we’re looking forward to rolling off the truck and being fast at Texas Motorplex. It’s always a great event.”