Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

Contact Adam: Email  

  

 
It’s every racer’s goal to be peaking at the right time when the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship arrives and Erica Enders has been the perfect example of that during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. After an up-and-down regular season, things have come together well for the two-time Pro Stock champ, who is now the points leader heading to this weekend’s 34th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.
 
Enders has been dominant during qualifying, racking up three straight No. 1 qualifiers in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, and a victory in St. Louis has her thinking big. The Texas native knows what a win in Dallas would mean to open the second half of the six-race Countdown to the Championship, too, and Enders is ready to take full advantage.
 
“It’s really exciting,” said Enders, who has 24 career wins. “I would have never guessed we would be in this position with the start we had, so I’m very pleased with where we’re at. My goal going into Charlotte was to leave with the points lead and the second part of that goal is to never give it back. We’ll do our best to keep it. We’ll go to Dallas and it’s a track that’s been good to us in the past. Our goal is to leave with another cowboy hat and belt buckle.”
 
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) in 2019, including live final eliminations coverage 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 20. It is the fourth of six playoff races and the 16th of 18 races in the 2019 Pro Stock season. For Enders, everything is coming together at an ideal time.
 
She’s been to the final round at three of the past five races, picking up a win for the first time in more than a year at the playoff stop in St. Louis. Enders has also made the quickest qualifying run in three of the four sessions at each of the past two races, picking up valuable points that helped her take the lead in Charlotte. After advancing to the semifinals there, Enders is in front of Jason Line by 38 points and Elite Motorsports teammate Matt Hartford by 39. It’s a good position to be in, but Enders knows the work is far from over with three playoff races remaining.
 
“I think we just do what we do and don’t take our eyes off the goal,” said Enders, who won at Dallas in 2015. “We have to keep our heads down and capitalize on every point that we can, try to accumulate all the qualifying points we can and qualify in the top half again, and then just go rounds. I feel like my crew chiefs have confidence and as far as my mindset goes, we’re racing to win. We’re going out there and trying to do what we do best.”
 
Bo Butner, who is 67 points back, Charlotte winner Deric Kramer (88 points out of first) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. also pose threats in the loaded Pro Stock class heading to Dallas, but Enders remains locked in on what her team is doing. She praised the work and confidence of crew chiefs Rick Jones and Mark Ingersoll, creating a situation Enders believes is very similar to her championship seasons in 2014 and 2015. The key now is finishing the job like she did in those two years.
 
“This Countdown feels like 2014 and 2015 to me,” Enders said. “We’re back in championship form so it’s big to have that mindset where you don’t back off or don’t let your guard down. It’s all mental and that’s the most challenging aspect of all it. The biggest thing is stay positive, keep our focus and not let any distractions in. This is our championship to lose, but there’s a lot of racing left and a lot of heavy competition out there, so we’ll see what happens and do the best we can.”
 
Top Fuel points leader Torrence will look to make it back-to-back wins in Dallas and during the 2019 playoffs, as the Texan won Monday in Charlotte. Standing in his way are the likes of Doug Kalitta, 2017 world champ Brittany Force, Leah Pritchett and Antron Brown.
 
Hight is after a second straight win in Dallas and in the Countdown to the Championship after winning in Funny Car on Monday in Charlotte. He’ll look to keep his points lead against the likes of John Force, Jack Beckman, Ron Capps and defending world champ J.R. Todd.
 
Eddie Krawiec has three wins in the past six years in Pro Stock Motorcycle at the track, but he’s seeking his first win of 2019. He’ll try and get it against teammate and points leader Andrew Hines, as well as playoff winners Karen Stoffer and Jerry Savoie, and defending world champ Matt Smith.
                            
The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will also feature thrilling competition in SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown, which makes its final stop of 2019, as well as the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which showcases the future stars of the sport. For the first time, the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) will stage an unprecedented 16-car, eighth-mile exhibition race presented by Atomizer Racing Injectors. This exciting field will compete throughout the weekend including a final round of eliminations on Sunday in front of the NHRA raceday crowd. After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can also watch the spectacular “Lone Star Lightning” Jet Dragster driven by Tammy Gatlin and “The War Dance” jet car driven by Ralph Snyder. Jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
 
NHRA fans can take part in the Mello Yello Walking Tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock Motorcycle School and Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Texas Motorplex will also host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the event as they celebrate their victories.
 
As always, fans can 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 gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand 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 2:45 and 6:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 12:15 and 3:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.
 
To purchase tickets, call 800-668-6775. Military and first responders can save 20% on adult single day tickets at NHRA.com/govx. Tickets also are available online at www.texasmotorplex.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.  

Seven-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson will highlight the Jimmie Johnson Foundation this weekend during the Hollywood Casino 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City. Johnson will wear the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, which honors five charities working to improve K-12 public education during the race.  In addition to the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, a number of Cup competitors and Xfinity drivers will help raise awareness for the Foundation by sporting a specially designed TeamJJF strip on the visors of their respective helmets. 

 

In support of the Foundation’s efforts, the No. 48 Ally Chevrolet will feature a special decal to recognize the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and Ally Fueling Futures.  The “Ally Fueling Futures” program introduces teens to motorsports careers and money basics and debuted at Michigan International Speedway in August.

 

“It’s really exciting to be able to promote the Jimmie Johnson Foundation this weekend,” said Johnson. “Chandra (wife) and I are so grateful to Ally for allowing us to highlight the foundation, to Blue Bunny for sponsoring the Helmet of Hope program for the 8th time, and all of the drivers participating in the TeamJJF visor campaign. Thanks to the generosity of our partners and the NASCAR community, we are able to provide much needed financial support to some outstanding non-profits and schools through Foundation programs.”

 

The Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program allows fans and consumers across the country to nominate and vote on not-for-profit (501c3) organizations that support K-12 public education.  Each of the recipients was also awarded a $25,000 grant and a Blue Bunny Ice Cream party.

The 5 recipient charities are:

 

● Art With a Heart in Indianapolis

● High Mountain Youth Project in Ruidoso, New Mexico

● Immigrant Family Services Institute in Roslindale, Massachusetts

● Lakeshore Elementary School PTA in San Francisco

● Pilot Light in Chicago

 

At the conclusion of Sunday’s 400-mile race at Kansas, participating drivers will sign their TeamJJF branded visors. The signed visors will be available in an online auction to raise funds to support K-12 public education. Participating drivers include:

 

Cup Drivers:

Aric Almirola

Alex Bowman

Clint Bowyer

Chris Buescher

Kurt Busch

Kyle Busch

William Byron

Landon Cassill

Matt DiBenedetto

Chase Elliott

Erik Jones

Corey LaJoie

B.J. McLeod

Michael McDowell

Ryan Preece

David Ragan

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Daniel Suarez

Matt Tifft

Martin Truex Jr.

Bubba Wallace

 

Xfinity Drivers:

Christopher Bell
Chase Briscoe
Joey Gase
Gray Gaulding
B.J. McLeod
Vinnie Miller
Matt Mills
Garrett Smithley

 

Drivers Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Ryan Newman will donate visors for the auction.             

 

In addition to the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope program, the Foundation operates the Champions Grant program, which provides cash grants to schools in the Johnson’s hometowns and where they currently live; and Team Up For Technology, a $48,000 technology makeover open to schools nationwide.

It isn’t like he planned it, but Bill Auberlen couldn’t have come up with a more dramatic way to launch his way atop the IMSA record book.
 
Auberlen scored career victory No. 60 Saturday night to tie Scott Pruett for the most in IMSA history. Driving the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 for the final stint of the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Auberlen was running second in GT Daytona (GTD) and hounding class leader Felipe Fraga in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3.
 
Precious time was ticking away in the final minutes of the 10-hour endurance race to close the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, but Auberlen couldn’t get past Fraga. Suddenly, on the final lap, the No. 33 went off course in the esses section as it ran out of fuel. Auberlen roared past and into the lead.
 
Shortly after, the charismatic Californian who was celebrating his 51st birthday took the checkered flag to move into the tie for most career wins. And the man who got there first couldn’t be any happier.
 
“Records are meant to be broken and that’s what everybody strives for,” said Pruett, who retired last year after 50 years in racing dating to his karting days. “That’s what I strived for, that’s what he’s striving for, and the guys below him. It’s exciting. When you can be in rare air like we are, with that many wins … it’s exciting.
 
“I wish him all the best,” Pruett added, “because he’s going to set the mark even higher for the next guy to go after.”
 
Auberlen’s illustrious IMSA career began in 1987. Along the way, he has captured championships in GTS-3, World Challenge TC and GT classes, along with a pair of wins in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. His victory Saturday marked his fourth in the Motul Petit Le Mans.
 
“I’ve won this race four times now and it only gets better and better,” he said. “This is (track founder) Don Panoz’s legacy here. To see where it’s gone to and how the fans love this place, it’s unbelievable.
 
“To do it on your birthday when you’re 51 … you keep fighting as hard as you can and if you can still do it, it’s great fun. I’m so glad BMW still sees I can get it done. And to tie 60 wins with Scott Pruett, it just shows how great of a career BMW has allowed me to have, winning in these BMWs day in and day out. Now to be tied with the most wins in America, basically.”
 
He’s far from finished, but Auberlen took a minute after the win with co-drivers Robby Foley and Dillon Machavern to reflect on the legacy that he’s already built.
 
“When you look back and you get to see how many unique wins there have been, and when I look at my trophy case and I get to add this to it, and I look back, all it is is a bunch of great memories that I’ll never forget like when I team up with these guys and all the fun we have. And all the joy it brings from the camaraderie.
 
“Every single weekend you go to battle with a group of guys who would die for you and you would die for them, basically. You come with everything you have, and to get to do that with BMW for 23 years now, its’ been a great road that I wouldn’t trade for anything.“

Larsen Motorsports is proud to announce Zach Costello as their newest developmental driver. Zach is an alumni of Florida Tech and holds a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering. During his 3rd year of college, Florida Tech announced a partnership with Larsen Motorsports at an event on campus where they unveiled the Florida Tech Jet Dragster.

With the combination of aerospace engines in a racing application, Zach couldn’t help but spend the entire time talking with the team of LMS. He was determined to be a part of their operation. 

Zach became a crew chief for LMS in 2017 and currently leads the Florida Tech Jet Racing Team driven by Elaine Larsen. You can follow Zach on his journey from Crew Chief to the Driver's Seat on the Larsen Motorsports YouTube Channel!

 

 

 

A solid, consistent 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season has Eddie Krawiec in contention for another world championship. But the three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ knows he has to be great the rest of the way for that to happen, including at this weekend’s 34th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.
 
The key race comes as the fourth of six in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, and Krawiec is trying to track down longtime teammate Andrew Hines, who has a remarkable eight wins this year. Krawiec is still searching for his first of 2019 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, but history is on his side in Dallas. The veteran standout has a class-best three wins at the facility, including back-to-back victories in 2016 and 2017, which means this might be the weekend where everything comes together for Krawiec.
 
“Luck just hasn’t rolled my way in certain situations, but with that being said, I think it’s shown that consistency is key,” Krawiec said. “I’m sitting third in points consistently going rounds, putting myself in good situations. Truthfully, I think these last three are make-or-break weekends, especially Dallas. If I can go to Dallas and win, it puts me right in contention to win a championship. But I don’t think I’m in a bad position going into Dallas.”
 
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) in 2019, including live final eliminations coverage 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 20. It is the fourth of six playoff races and the 14th of 16 events during the 2019 Pro Stock Motorcycle season.
 
It’s been a confounding year for Krawiec in terms of wins, especially as Hines has dominated the winner’s circle in 2019. But Krawiec isn’t frustrated, remaining happy with a consistent season that includes four semifinal appearances and four final rounds. He knows he’ll have to raise his performance over the final three races to make up the 115-point gap between himself and Hines, but the normally relaxed rider has a way of elevating his game when the situation calls for it.
 
“I like having the pressure on me and I would rather race with pressure,” Krawiec said. “You know what you have to do. You go to win and you have to make it happen, and that’s it. In the past, I’ve been able to pull through in those pressure situations. But this time of year, the pressure is on everybody. I enjoy it and I like being in that situation and it’s something that comes with experience. I’m a relaxed racer and I try to not let emotion bother my routine, no matter the round or situation.”
 
Krawiec, who has 47 career wins, isn’t in a win-or-else mindset, either. He knows three more final round appearances might do the trick if Hines happens to go out early down the stretch. Krawiec will gladly ride a series of consistent performances into a fourth world title, but it won’t be easy in a class that Krawiec estimates is better than ever. Karen Stoffer, who won in St. Louis, trails Hines by 57 points, while the likes of Jerry Savoie, Hector Arana Jr. and defending world champ Matt Smith sit right behind Krawiec heading into the weekend. Luckily for Krawiec, racing in Dallas always seems to bring out the best in him.
 
“There’s just certain races you go to where things click, and Dallas is one of them,” Krawiec said. “It’s about being consistent and it’s about being on your game. Right now, if you’re not on your game there’s a lot of people who can disrupt your weekend. I’d obviously love to get a win, but I’d rather win a championship and not get the win. I’ve done it before, so why not do it again.”
 
Top Fuel points leader Torrence will look to make it back-to-back wins in Dallas and during the 2019 playoffs, as the Texan won Monday in Charlotte. Standing in his way are the likes of Doug Kalitta, 2017 world champ Brittany Force, Leah Pritchett and Antron Brown.
 
Hight is after a second straight win in Dallas and in the Countdown to the Championship after winning in Funny Car on Monday in Charlotte. He’ll look to keep his points lead against the likes of John Force, Jack Beckman, Ron Capps and defending world champ J.R. Todd.
 
Pro Stock’s Jason Line opened the playoffs with a win, but Erica Enders has taken over the points lead. She’ll look to keep it against standouts like Bo Butner, Alex Laughlin and Matt Hartford.
                            
The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will also feature thrilling competition in SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown, which makes its final stop of 2019, as well as the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which showcases the future stars of the sport. For the first time, the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) will stage an unprecedented 16-car, eighth-mile exhibition race presented by Atomizer Racing Injectors. This exciting field will compete throughout the weekend including a final round of eliminations on Sunday in front of the NHRA raceday crowd. After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can also watch the spectacular “Lone Star Lightning” Jet Dragster driven by Tammy Gatlin and “The War Dance” jet car driven by Ralph Snyder. Jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
 
NHRA fans can take part in the Mello Yello Walking Tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock Motorcycle School and Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Texas Motorplex will also host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the event as they celebrate their victories.
 
As always, fans can 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 gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand 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 2:45 and 6:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 12:15 and 3:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.
 
To purchase tickets, call 800-668-6775. Military and first responders can save 20% on adult single day tickets at NHRA.com/govx. Tickets also are available online at www.texasmotorplex.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.  

Capitol Raceway scored a close win over home track Maryland International Raceway at the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) Division 1 (Patriots) Summit Team Finals completed Monday.

 

Capitol Raceway ended with 55-51 points to keep Maryland International Raceway from repeating as Division 1 champions.

 

Leading up to the main event, racers participated in a Gambler’s race, Bogey, Golf Cart, and Big Wheels race and “best of” awards.

 

Main Event:

 

Top

Frank Lecates (US 13 Dragway) had a winning effort with a .005 reaction time combined with a 4.787 elapsed time at 142.57 mph on a 4.78 dial-in. Runner-up Bobby Spence (Capitol Raceway) had a .015 reaction time and made a 4.307-second pass at 158.39 mph against a 4.30 dial-in.

 

Mod

Frank Thompson Jr. (Maryland International Raceway) used a 6.011-second pass at 109.34 mph against a 5.99 dial-in with a .010 reaction time to win. Mike Keyton (Roxboro Motorsports Park) matched his 5.82 dial-in at 118.02 mph, but was slower at the tree with a .099 start.

 

Junior Dragster

Gayge Farrell won with a 12.375 against an 11.90 dial-in with a .022 reaction time. Zach Parlett had a 10.414 elapsed time against an 11.90 dial-in with a .067 reaction time.

 

Other Results

 

Pit Vehicle Race

Ray Snoots (Maryland) defeated Bradley Tippett (Maryland) with a .002 reaction time and 9.03-second pass against a 9.00 dial-in. Tippett went down the track in 11.315 seconds against a 11.30 dial-in, along with a .049 reaction time.

 

Friday’s Gambler’s Race

Top — Bobby Bladen III (Capitol Raceway) 5.012 on a 5.00 dial-in, .001 reaction time defeated Jena Martin (Maryland International Raceway) 4.654 on a 4.67 dial-in, .045 reaction time.

 

Mod — Daryl Beauchamp (US 13 Dragway) 7.571 on a 7.59 dial-in, .016 reaction time defeated Ed Talbert (Capitol Raceway) 6.83 on a 6.83 dial-in, -.006 reaction time.

 

Junior — Allen Jenkins (Maryland International Raceway) 12.375 on an 11.90 dial-in, .022 reaction time defeated Zach Parlett (Maryland International Raceway) 10.414 on an 11.90 dial-in, .067 reaction time.

 

Saturday’s Gamblers Race

Top — Jerry Langley (Maryland International Raceway) 4.733 on a 4.72 dial-in, .006 reaction time defeated Ben Calhoun (Capitol Raceway) 4.708 on a 4.68 dial-in, .012 reaction time.

 

Mod — Kris Bunch (Summerduck Dragway) 8.979 on a 7.63 dial-in, .010 reaction time defeated Tony Mattera (Maryland International Raceway) 6.648 on a 6.65 dial-in, -.007 reaction time.

 

Junior — Cole Foskey (US 13 Dragway) 8.948 on an 8.91 dial-in, .010 reaction time defeated Zach Parlett (Maryland International Raceway) 9.38 on a 9.02 dial-in, .095 reaction time.

 

Friday Bogey Race:

 

Top — Ben Garnett (US 13 Dragway)

Mod — Steven Truitt (US 13 Dragway)

Junior — Keith Riddle (US 13 Dragway)

  

Special Awards:

 

Best Appearing Full Bodied Car — Doug Minter, Maryland

Best Engineered Full Bodied Car — Buddy Mcgowan, Capitol Raceway

Best Appearing Junior Dragster — Cole Foske, US 13 Dragway

Best Engineered Junior Dragster — Ryan Davis, Capitol Raceway

Best Appearing Open Body Car — Brianna Lukhard, Richmond Dragway

Best Engineered Open Body Car — Jason Kirby, Maryland International Raceway

Best Team Spirit — Richmond Dragway

Best Appearing Sponsor Banner — Motor Mile Dragway

Best Appearing Grandstands — US 13 Dragway

Best Appearing Team — Motor Mile Dragway

 

Team Standings

 

1. Maryland International Raceway          63

2. US 13 Dragway                                    37

3. Capitol Raceway                                  29

4. Richmond Dragway                              25

5. Sumerduck Dragway                            23

6. Motor Mile Dragway                               3

 

Steve Torrence took over the Top Fuel points lead in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship when he defeated Doug Kalitta at the 12th annual NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
 
Robert Hight (Funny Car), Deric Kramer (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all won in their respective categories at the third of six races in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. It is also the 21st of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
 
Defending world champion Torrence won this event for the second year in a row with a final round pass of 3.772-seconds at 323.19 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster to beat Kalitta. He also picked up wins against Lex Joon (who did not appear in the first round), Clay Millican and Justin Ashley on the way to his ninth win in 2019 and his 36th win in his Top Fuel career. 
 
Kalitta beat Antron Brown, Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force on his side of the ladder before facing Torrence. The runner-up showing puts him second in the points race.
 
"To race Doug Kalitta, that guy is a legend," said Torrence. "I look up to him as a driver. So when you go up against him and to have the backlog of what led us to that point, coming in behind him in the points, making up some points in qualifying and then coming all the way down to the final round... a few years ago I probably would've gone up there and choked, letting that affect me and get into my head. With the success that we've had you build confidence in yourself. You trust in the team and the good Lord and you just go do the best you can. I knew that we had a car that could run with him and if I did my job, we could be right there with him on the tree. You can't let what or who is in the other lane influence you and that's what I was able to do today because you've got one of the best ever right there beside you."
 
Funny Car’s Hight went 3.917 at 329.02 in his Automobile Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS to win the final round when Jack Beckman went red at the starting line. This marks Hight's 500th round win, a distinction shared by only 19 other drivers. This win also puts him in the lead in the Countdown to the Championship. Hight faced Mike McIntire Jr., Tim Wilkerson and Matt Hagan on his way to the final round against Beckman.
 
Beckman, the No. 1 qualifier this weekend, got round wins against Dale Creasy, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps before meeting Hight in the final round.
 
“The Auto Club Chevy team really pulled together and did a good job,” said Hight. “We’ve changed some things over the last few races. We’ve been struggling, but we went down the track every run this weekend. Great job to Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham (Crew Chiefs), and all the Auto Club guys.”
 
In Pro Stock, Kramer went 6.541 at 211.33 in the final round in his American Ethanol Novozymes Chevrolet Camaro to snag his second victory in 2019 and fourth of his career beating Matt Hartford in the final. He reached the final round with wins against Kenny Delco, Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Aaron Stanfield.
 
Hartford competed in his second consecutive final round after defeating Fernando Cuadra Jr., Chris McGaha and No. 1 qualifier Erica Enders.
 
“Our motto around the pit is, ‘Just don’t screw up. Make them beat you,’” said Kramer. “And that’s what a lot of today was. Nothing was super stellar; nothing was super fast. But I was able to hold on just long enough and got to 1320 first and that’s all she wrote.”
 
Hines picked up his eighth Pro Stock Motorcycle win of the season in his Harley-Davidson when his pass of 6.805 at 199.37 defeated Karen Stoffer in the final round. He secured wins against Michael Ray, Scott Pollacheck and Hector Arana Jr. before facing Karen Stoffer in the finals for the second consecutive time this season. Stoffer took the victory when they met in St. Louis in September.
 
Stoffer raced to her third final round of the season after defeating Kelly Clontz, Eddie Krawiec and No. 1 qualifier Steve Johnson.
 
“It was a tough day,” said Hines. “We were sitting around during the rain delay yesterday talking about this Pro Stock Motorcycle class and how stacked it is right now. If you look at the top ten in qualifying, any one of those people could be number one at any given time. You just never know when that’s going to happen, so these races right now are hard fought and hard earned.”
 
The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Oct. 17-20 with the fourth of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex in Dallas.
 
Stevie “Fast” Jackson doubled up today when he claimed the world championship in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service and the event win at zMAX Dragway Monday during the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals.
 
The series was presented by the Real Pro Mod Association (RPM) in at the 12th annual NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals and marked the 11th of 12 races in 2019.
 
A round win in the semi-finals clinched the first Pro Mod championship for Jackson when his pass of 5.734-seconds at 251.20 mph defeated Michael Biehle II. However, he only had a quick moment to celebrate before getting back to the pits to prepare for the final round of the event where he would face Steven Whiteley.
 
“There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team,’ and we never give up,” said Jackson. “This championship started when I was lying in a hospital bed, looking up at the ceiling after crashing here (in April 2018), and I told these guys we were going to get it. It’s awesome to tie a bow on the season here.”
 
Jackson punctuated his winning weekend just minutes later when he defeated Whiteley in his Bahrain1 Racing Camaro with a pass of 5.731 at 252.10 in the final round on Monday, his sixth of the season.
 
“Everybody’s got hot rod cars and these guys are driving the wheels off them,” said Jackson. “Pro Mod is, I believe, the most exciting class out here. You’ve got top notch equipment. You’ve got real drivers who are real people.”
 
Jackson walked away with two trophies at the conclusion of the event thanks to round wins against Eric Latino, Justin Bond and Biehle.
 
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service concludes with its final event of the season in Las Vegas at the Dodge NHRA Nationals Presented By Pennzoil at The Strip At Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 31-Nov. 3.
   
 
It was a shocking start to the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship for reigning Top Fuel world champ Steve Torrence. But the talented Texan has more than made up for it at the past two races, looking back in championship form as he heads to his NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series home track with another world title on his mind.
 
Torrence started the six-race playoffs with a first-round loss – his first opening-round loss since February and first in the Countdown to the Championship since 2016 – but those concerns immediately went by the wayside. He rebounded with a final round appearance in St. Louis and a victory on Monday in Charlotte, regaining the points lead in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster and putting Torrence back on track for a possible second straight title heading to Texas Motorplex for this weekend’s 34th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals.
 
“You have to go rounds and you need to win races,” said Torrence, who has nine wins in 2019. “I think we need to win two more races to be pretty solid and have an opportunity to win another championship. We’ll just do the best we can do. I’m looking forward to going to Dallas. It’s a good time right now having the momentum going back-to-back. We need to try to go there and carry this momentum and see if we can be successful.”
 
Torrence (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) in 2019, including live final eliminations coverage 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 20. It is the fourth of six playoff races and 22nd of 24 races during the 2019 NHRA season, and Torrence appears to be building toward another big finish after his Charlotte win.
 
Torrence qualified No. 1 at the race and then beat his closest competitor, veteran Doug Kalitta, in the final round. It gave him 36 career wins, with 28 of those coming since 2017. It’s an incredible pace he’s kept, but Torrence has simply tried to stay in the moment. He credits crew chiefs Richard Hogan and Bobby Lagana for keeping him locked in, especially as the pressure rises with each race during the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
 
“You can allow yourself to succumb to the pressure or you can look at the situation for what it is,” Torrence said. “You don’t do anything differently in the last six races that you did the first 18 (in the regular season). You just keep that mindset and you can’t lose focus with what you’re doing. You just have to block out who that guy is, whether it’s Doug Kalitta or Tony Schumacher or Doug Kalitta, or whoever. You can’t let what or who’s in the other lane influence you.”
 
Torrence will aim to be ready for the task at hand in Dallas, where he will look for a second career Top Fuel win. He stretched the lead to 30 points over Kalitta with the Charlotte victory, but it is far from over. Brittany Force, the 2017 world champ and Dallas winner, is still in contention and remains 92 points behind Torrence. Kalitta is hungry for his first career world title, but Torrence is simply worried about pushing forward and maintaining consistency. It’s a formula that’s worked almost perfectly the last two seasons, and Torrence has no reason to change it.
 
“We don’t run the big numbers, but we go out and try to race to win,” Torrence said. “I’d rather turn win lights on than have pretty time slips. We didn’t have the start to the Countdown we wanted, but we got it turned around. Ultimately, you need to go out and try to win all of them. We just need to maintain our consistency. We stumbled in Reading and maybe we had relaxed a little too much. We redirected our focus and got back on the same page (in St. Louis) and went back to what got us to that point.”
 
Funny Car points leader Hight won for the second straight year and fourth time overall at Texas Motorplex last year. He’ll look to continue that against teammate John Force, who has seven Dallas wins, Reading winner Jack Beckman and Ron Capps.
 
Pro Stock’s Jason Line opened the playoffs with a win, but Erica Enders has taken over the points lead. She’ll look to keep it against standouts like Bo Butner, Alex Laughlin and Matt Hartford.
 
Eddie Krawiec has three wins in the past six years in Pro Stock Motorcycle at the track, but he’s seeking his first win of 2019. He’ll try and get it against teammate and points leader Andrew Hines, as well as playoff winners Karen Stoffer and Jerry Savoie, and defending world champ Matt Smith.
                            
The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will also feature thrilling competition in SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown, which makes its final stop of 2019, as well as the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which showcases the future stars of the sport. For the first time, the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) will stage an unprecedented 16-car, eighth-mile exhibition race presented by Atomizer Racing Injectors. This exciting field will compete throughout the weekend including a final round of eliminations on Sunday in front of the NHRA raceday crowd. After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can also watch the spectacular “Lone Star Lightning” Jet Dragster driven by Tammy Gatlin and “The War Dance” jet car driven by Ralph Snyder. Jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
 
NHRA fans can take part in the Mello Yello Walking Tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock Motorcycle School and Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Texas Motorplex will also host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the event as they celebrate their victories.
 
As always, fans can 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 gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand 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 2:45 and 6:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 12:15 and 3:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.
 
To purchase tickets, call 800-668-6775. Military and first responders can save 20% on adult single day tickets at NHRA.com/govx. Tickets also are available online at www.texasmotorplex.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.  

INDYCAR took another important step in the development of its cockpit-protecting Aeroscreen with Tuesday's two-car test at Richmond Raceway, a 0.75-mile short oval that will play host to the NTT IndyCar Series next June. 

This was the third of four scheduled Aeroscreen tests this fall and it went so well that recently crowned NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden of Team Penske needed only a handful of laps to adjust to the new cockpit surroundings.

"Perception-wise, it was a little different when I first got in (the car) but it took maybe 30 or 40 laps and after that you're pretty used to it," Newgarden said. "It's pretty normal at this point."

The Richmond test also included five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, who also took part in the initial Aeroscreen on-track test with Team Penske's Will Power on Oct. 2 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition to testing Firestone tires, Dixon said the Aeroscreen works well on ovals and is nearly ready for action now.

"A little different look with the Aeroscreen," Dixon said. "It seems like everything is going well with all the testing (INDYCAR has) done. For sure (here), the car's fine."

The Aeroscreen is scheduled to make its race debut March 13-15, 2020 at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and will be used in competition at all 17 races next season, including the June 26-27 event at Richmond Raceway. It will mark the first series race at Richmond Raceway since 2009.

INDYCAR President Jay Frye continues to be pleased with the ongoing development of the Aeroscreen.

"We've learned something every time we've tested," Frye said. "It's about checking the boxes and once the teams get a hold of it they'll make it even better. They'll take it to a whole other level."

The Aeroscreen was developed by Red Bull Advanced Technologies to reduce the risk of driver injury from flying debris or other objects striking the cockpit area. Anchored by titanium framework, the Aeroscreen consists of a polycarbonate laminated screen that includes an anti-reflective coating on the interior of the screen, an anti-fogging device through an integral heating element and tear-offs, all of which will be produced by integrated third-party companies.

The titanium framework mounts in three areas around the cockpit: the chassis centerline, two rear side mounts and roll hoop integration to provide enhanced load-bearing capabilities. The load-bearing is expected to be 150 kilonewtons (kN), which equals the FIA load for the Halo design currently used in Formula One. A kilonewton is equal to approximately 225 pounds.

The visit to Richmond Raceway was the third consecutive week of on-track testing of the Aeroscreen, with each coming on a different type of layout. Previously, INDYCAR staged an Aeroscreen test at a superspeedway - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - and followed with the second at the Barber Motorsports Park permanent road course in Birmingham, Ala. on Oct. 7.

The fourth scheduled test will be Nov. 5 at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway, a track that simulates street circuits. Four-time Indy car champion Sebastien Bourdais of Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan and James Hinchcliffe of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports will be the drivers at Sebring.

A focus of this test was to make driving the car a more comfortable experience by redirecting the airflow inside the cockpit through the use of interior inlets.

"That was an improvement," Dixon said, "especially around the legs and body."

While the Aeroscreen adds about 60 pounds to the car, Newgarden said he noticed little difference between driving here and without the Aeroscreen at Iowa Speedway, a similar short oval track.

"When I first went out my perception of how much grip the car and how much control I had was slightly different, but I think that's because it felt foreign," he said. "You're not used to having a screen over your head, but after 20 or 30 laps after you got used to it the car feels very similar in terms of how I drive the car or how the car feels compared to a place like Iowa or Gateway -- it feels very similar.

"From a tuning standpoint, it didn't take that much to get it back into the correct window as far as the balance - the balance is very good even with the screen on. From that point, I don't think the cars are going to change that much going into next year."

Frye said INDYCAR will stage an open test at Richmond Raceway in late March, bringing all full-time competitors.

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