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NHRA Drivers Ride Into Dallas For Key Playoff Race at Texas NHRA FallNationals

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series gallops into the Texas Motorplex to conclude the third annual Stampede of Speed with the main event of the 10-day event, the 38th annual Texas NHRA FallNationals on Oct. 12.-15. The stakes will be high as the second half of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs takes place at the fan-favorite event in Dallas.

The 19th event of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season is the fourth event of the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs, and it promises to deliver all the thrilling 11,000-horsepower, 330-mph race action fans have enjoyed for nearly four decades at the legendary Texas Motorplex.

An extra element of excitement will also return to the Texas NHRA FallNationals with the addition of “Friday Night Live,” which offers more than $40,000 in bonus money to the stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle.

The low qualifier under the lights on Friday at the famed Texas Motorplex will net Top Fuel and Funny Car stars $15,000 each in bonus money, with $7,500 going to the quickest qualifier in Pro Stock and $5,000 in Pro Stock Motorcycle. That leads into final qualifying on Saturday and championship Sunday, where winners will be crowned at the legendary facility to close out a memorable weekend of adrenaline-filled action.

Justin Ashley (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) took home victories last season. This year’s race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) as the playoffs heat up for NHRA drivers.

Top Fuel standout Ashley claimed his second consecutive Texas NHRA FallNationals win last year when he defeated Austin Prock in the final round. Ashley has been hot this season with six wins to his credit. If he wants to claim an NHRA world championship, he’ll need to get past current points leader Doug Kalitta, who has won the first two races in the Countdown to the Championship, Texas native Steve Torrence, defending world champion Brittany Force, Leah Pruett and Antron Brown.

Reigning Funny Car world champion Capps defeated Matt Hagan in the 2022 Dallas final, giving Capps his second consecutive Dallas win and third from the facility. Capps then went on to claim his third NHRA championship and second in a row. If he wants to make it three Dallas wins in a row, he’ll need to power past current points leader Robert Hight, Bob Tasca III, who won the most recent race to pull within 25 points of Hight, Hagan, John Force, J.R. Todd and Texan Chad Green.

Enders, a Texas native, wowed fans all throughout 2022 by collecting 10 NHRA titles en route to her fifth Pro Stock world championship. One of those 10 victories was her 2022 Texas NHRA FallNationals win, helping her clinch a championship a race later. Enders holds a 25-point lead over Charlotte 2 winner Greg Anderson, Matt Hartford, Dallas Glenn, and Aaron Stanfield.

Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran Arana Jr. picked up his first win from Dallas last year when he took down Jerry Savoie, who has three wins from the facility, in the final round. Arana has one win on the 2023 season and is currently sitting third in the NHRA points standings. Leading the way is points leader Gaige Herrera, who has seven wins this season. Also hot in the mix is Eddie Krawiec, defending world champ Matt Smith, rookie Chase Van Sant and Angie Smith.

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The Texas NHRA FallNationals also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which includes some of the sport’s top drivers, as well as the penultimate race of the season in Flexjet Factory Stock Showdown. The weekend will also include the Jr. Dragster Shootout, as well as a jet dragster and wheelstander exhibition after nitro qualifying on Friday.

Fans will also be treated to the JEG’s Allstar event, which pits sportsman racers from across the country against each other for the ultimate drag racing battle. The popular competition will take place at the famed Texas Motorplex for the first time and the unique specialty race is one of most highly-anticipated events of the year.

Race fans at Texas Motorplex can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the Texas NHRA FallNationals event winners.

Leading into the race, fans can take part in several events as part of the Stampede for Speed, including a cattle drive and Scott Palmer Nitro Sideshow (October 6), Stars Over Texas Festival (October 7-8), celebrity media race and stampede warmup (October 9), Stampede of Speed Shootout (October 10), NHRA Fall Nationals professional testing (October 11), Champions’ Dinner (October 11, 6pm) and the NHRA FanFest in downtown Waxahachie (October 12), where fans can meet and get autographs from all the top stars in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series.

Fans are invited to the Nitro Alley Stage all weekend, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into Nitro Alley. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets and much more. As always, fans get a pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. Fans can see their favorite teams in action and servicing their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. They can also visit NHRA’s Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, merchandise, food, and fun.

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. CT on Friday, Oct. 13, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12:00 p.m. CT on Sunday, Oct. 16. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday and as well as action from eliminations at 3 p.m.

To purchase tickets to the Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, call 800-668-6775 or visit tickets.texasmotorplex.com. Children 12 and under are admitted free in general admissions areas with a paid adult. For more information about NHRA, visit www.nhra.com.

This story was originally published on October 4, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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