Chevrolet Drivers Jockey for Position in Fourth Round of the Countdown
11 Chevrolet competitors in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock Aim for Dallas Win
DETROIT (Oct. 13, 2016) – Through 21 of 24 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events, KB Racing’s prognosis of earning its first Pro Stock championship since 2011 is strong.
Which driver – four-time champion Greg Anderson or two-time tile-holder Jason Line – will emerge stronger following this weekend’s AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at the Texas Motorplex in Ennis is the question.
“The ultimate goal when you start the season is to have you and your teammate finish one and two. Unfortunately, you have a couple other guys trying to throw a wrench in your plan,” said Anderson, who is a close second to Line in the Pro Stock standings entering Round 4 of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
“So far, we are still one and two. That is absolutely the best scenario for us is to finish out one and two. You know I want to be one, he wants to be one. That’s what we’re going to fight for. If we end up one, two will be able to live with that just fine.”
Added Line, who has driven his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS to an NHRA-leading eight victories this season: “For me, the perfect scenario would be to come down to the last race. For our team it would be a fun thing and I think we would enjoy it regardless of the outcome.”
Line has been the Pro Stock points front-runner following all but two races, but he and Anderson aren’t taking anything for granted. Vincent Nobile, driver of the Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro SS, won the most recent event and has advanced to at least the semifinals in seven of the past 10 events to close to 83 points of Line.
“If we were down to one race I would feel a lot better, but we have three races to go. That’s 12 rounds of racing, that’s 180 points still on the line. That’s a long way from over,” said Anderson, who has won four times at Texas Motorplex and is tied with Bob Glidden for second on the all-time Pro Stock list with 85 victories. He reset the track elapsed time (6.457 seconds) and speed (214.59 mph) records last October.
Overall, 11 Chevrolet drivers are in contention for championships in Funny Car, Top Fuel and Pro Stock. Where Chevrolet contenders stand through three of six rounds of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
John Force, driver of the PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, is a seven-time winner at Texas Motorplex, and enters the race weekend sixth in the standings.
“There are a lot of memories at that track, a lot of scars, a lot of pain. But it is a track that I truly do love,” said Force, the 16-time Funny Car champion. “Who doesn’t love the great state of Texas?”
John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight (Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS) is eighth and Courtney Force (Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro SS) is ninth.
Her sister, Brittany, has advanced to the Top Fuel final round twice in the past five races – winning at Brainerd and falling on a holeshot at Reading in the Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster. She is third in the Top Fuel standings.
“Reading was huge for our team.” she said. “Going to the final was a big step, especially now that there are only three races left. Now it is all about the teams that are going to be at the top for the next few races. We didn’t get the win but we got to the final and we are going to build on that. If we keep having success on Sunday, then this championship is not out of our reach.”
Arthur Kohn of Redmond, Texas, and Stephen Bell of Shreveport, Louisiana, will drive their Chevrolet COPO Camaros in both Super Stock and Stock Eliminator classes this weekend. Seven others will drive their Chevrolet COPO Camaros in Stock Eliminator, including Texans Jeff Lopez of Irving, David Janac of Caldwell, and Brian Massingill of Houston. Lopez won the Stock Eliminator round in September at Indianapolis, which featured 164 entries.
FOX Sports 1 will telecast three hours of live eliminations and finals at 2 p.m. ET Sunday, along with an hour of qualifying live at 6 p.m. ET Friday. FS1 will telecast taped highlights of qualifying at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.
Chevrolet will welcome fans to its Chevrolet Performance Display during the weekend. It will include a number of Chevrolet’s award-winning production vehicles, examples of Chevrolet engines, and a selection of performance parts and accessories that are available for fans to purchase from their local Chevrolet dealer.
CHEVROLET RACING ENGINEERING PREVIEW – AAA TEXAS NHRA FALLNATIONALS
ROGER ALLEN, CHEVROLET RACING NHRA PROGRAM MANAGER: “The NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship is down to the final three races, and the stakes will be raised this weekend in Dallas. Eleven Chevrolet drivers are in contention for titles in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock, and this is a crucial event in moving up or retaining position heading into the final two races of this exciting season. As Chevy Pro Stock driver Vincent Nobile said two weeks ago ahead of the event in Reading, Pennsylvania, ‘I have to win this race to have a shot at the championship. There aren’t any other options.’ He went out and qualified No. 1 and won the race to move to third place in the standings. We’re sure to see more dramatic racing action this weekend, and Chevrolet drivers will be right in the thick of it.”
CHEVROLET FROM THE COCKPIT – AAA TEXAS NHRA FALLNATIONALS
BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET TOP FUEL DRAGSTER: “I just try and not think about the pressure. My job is to just do what my crew chiefs tell me to do and not try and do anything different. This whole season has been a new experience for me and I am still learning. I still get butterflies but I think everyone does when you get into situations like this. This season I have learned to just relax and focus on doing the little things. My Monster Energy teammates have been very supportive all season and we are really working well together down this last home stretch.”
JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK ANTIFREEZE & COOLANT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “When I race the last race of the season in Pomona, I will still be racing for the championship in my mind. I may be defending it for myself or for one of my teammates. That has to be the mindset because even if you can’t win the championship you want to win that race because you want to move up as high as you can in the points. I was feeling pretty shiny coming out of Charlotte with that big win. Then all our Funny Cars nosedived in St Louis and Reading. The only race car that held its own was the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster with Brittany. I have a lot of confidence in these Chevrolet Camaros and I have said it before that we are turning the corner. I am still positive about winning this year. I know Courtney and Robert are positive, too.”
COURTNEY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, TRAXXAS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “Going into the third to the last race of the season, this is one of the most important races for our Traxxas Chevrolet Camaro team. This race will most likely be our last shot to stay in contention for the championship. We realize that and we are going to handle that pressure as best we can. If we want to make a difference in this Countdown, we are going to need to perform this weekend. Unfortunately, since the Countdown started we have been struggling and we haven’t been doing as well as we would have liked. We haven’t been going rounds and it has really hurt us. We have shuffled down the point standings when all season long we were in a great position.”
ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “We have won in Dallas twice but we need to win this weekend. There are three races left and I feel like we have a Funny Car that can win all three. It will be tough but we have been running really good numbers and my guys have been busting their butts since the U.S. Nationals. We blew up a race car and then brought out the back-up, which I think is actually a little quicker. We have made some adjustments and we are using some new parts so our performance has picked up. I think you have to just throw out Reading and focus on these last three races.”
CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS RACING, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “Dallas is one of those races we always want to win. I had my first round win at Texas Motorplex five years ago. To win Dallas is definitely on my bucket list at this point. It’s a home race for our Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro team even though we live about 350 miles away. We’re looking forward to going rounds in front of our family and friends this weekend.”
VINCENT NOBILE, MOUNTAIN VIEW RACING, MOUNTAIN VIEW TIRE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “That win in Reading was huge for this Mountain View Tire team. It kept our championship hopes alive. The goal is to keep the momentum going into these last three races. If we can keep it up, we will be in good shape. But, in the meantime, we are taking it one race at a time. Our goal in Dallas is to rack up all the bonus points we can and go rounds on Sunday and bring home that Wally.”
JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “I’m not going to trade places with anyone else. But there’s a lot of racing left. I’m not going to count my chickens before they’ve hatched. Who knows. There are a lot of things that can happen in the next month. It is far from over. (To win at Dallas) “Another cowboy hat; it would be good. It would mean I earned more points than anybody else that day, so it would be a great day.”
GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “Obviously, the Motorplex is the first super-track. They have great management there. They run the track very well all around. I love going there. But the No. 1 thing with me is we make more points than our competition. That’s what we need to get done and extend our points lead. We’ve got three races to go. That’s our goal.”
SHANE GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, VALVOLINE/NOVA SERVICES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “There’s lots left to race for. Our car has been very strong and we feel capable of winning every event we enter, including this weekend’s race at Texas Motorplex. We’re fifth in the points as it stands, but fourth place is just a few points away and a top-three ranking could be there as early as this weekend. We’ll probably need those top two cars to falter a little so we can all catch up, but you never know what will happen.”
BO BUTNER, JIM BUTNER AUTO, BUTNER AUTO SALES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS: “A poor lone qualifying run at Reading cost us in eliminations, but that’s what happens sometimes when you only have one pass because of the weather. We’ll rebound and will come back strong this weekend at Texas Motorplex after (KB Racing teammates) Greg Anderson and Jason Line tested this week.”