Mirror Finishes for the Stars at the 2018 AAA NHRA FallNationals
Round three of the NHRA Mello Yello Racing Series "Countdown to the Championship" saw mirror finishes by Midwest Nationals winners Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle). Hosted by Texas Motorplex outside Dallas, the all-concrete racing surface has been a favorite of drag racing teams since the track was built in 1986. Ideal weather usually favor drivers looking to set speed milestones for new national records at the annual NHRA FallNationals.
Although it took three trips to his home track to get it done, Steve Torrence used the opportunity to defeat Terry McMillen at the 33rd Annual AAA Texax NHRA FallNationals. The NHRA victory marked the first Top Fuel national win at Texas Motorplex for the Kilgore native. Torrence entered last year's race leading the Countdown to the Championship but a wicked crash destroyed his Top Fuel dragster and gave the momentum to eventual Top Fuel Championship winner Brittany Force. After qualifying second, Torrence eliminated Bill Litton, Blake Alexander and Tony Schumacher to earn his ticket to the final round. It was the eighth win of the 2018 season for the CAPCO Contractors crew and third straight for Torrence.
After a jarring fiery crash two weeks earlier following his winning run at St. Louis, Funny Car points leader Robert Hight got down to business. The Driver of the AAA-sponsored Funny Car improved his elimination round record for the Countdown to the Championship to 10-1 with a victory over J.R. Todd with a 3.955 to Todd's 3.985 ET. It was Hight's fourth win at Texas Motorplex, as the 2017 Funny Car champion aims to repeat last year's title run. In Pro Stock, Tanner Gray extended his lead in the Countdown to the Championship by defeating five time Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. It was consecutive wins for Gray and the seventh win of the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.
As the temperatures begin to cool down, the excitement always heats up at NHRA Carolina Nationals. Oct. 12-14 at Charlotte Motor Speedway every ticket will serve as a "Pit Pass", so racing fans have unmatched access to the top teams and drivers of the NHRA's 10,000 horsepower machines. This is the fourth race of the NHRA's Countdown to the Championship.