All month long, our racing guru David Scoggan is blogging LIVE from Lucas Oil Raceway! Check back here regularly for a dose of Dave’s wit and whimsy.
As the NFL season kicks off and the IndyCar campaign has but one race remaining (September 22 at Laguna Seca), NASCAR and NHRA are now entering into their respective forms of the “Playoff Season”.
The NHRA Mello Yello Series regular season concluded with the U.S. Nationals and they face a six-race stretch called the “Countdown to the Championship” that starts with the Mopar ExpressLane Nationals in Mohnton, Pennsylvania on September 12-15. Race number two is the AAA Insurance Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway (née Gateway) near St. Louis on September 27-29. The halfway point comes on October 11-13 with the Carolina Nationals in Charlotte and race number four occurs the following weekend at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas, the AAA Fall Nationals.
The penultimate round of the Countdown is the Dodge Nationals at Las Vegas on October 31-November 3, with the season-ender, as always, being the AAA Auto Club Finals at the legendary L.A. County Fairplex in Pomona, California on November 14-17. All four professional categories will compete in all six races and the point re-set is the same for each class: 2100 for first place, then, in descending order, 2080, 2070, 2060, 2050, 2040, 2030, 2020, 2010, and 2000 for tenth (a round win is worth 20 points). Here are the ten eligible drivers in each class in their current rankings:
Top Fuel: Steve Torrence (2018 champion), Doug Kalitta, Antron Brown, Brittany Force, Mike Salinas, Clay Millican, Leah Pritchett, Austin Prock, Richie Crampton, Billy Torrence.
Funny Car: Robert Hight, John Force, Tommy Johnson Jr., Jack Beckman, Ron Capps, Matt Hagan, Bob Tasca III, J.R. Todd (2018 champion), Shawn Langdon, Tim Wilkerson.
Pro Stock: Bo Butner, Alex Laughlin, Jason Line, Greg Anderson, Erica Enders, Deric Kramer, Matt Hartford, Jeg Coughlin, Chris McGaha, Val Smeland. (Note: Defending WC Tanner Gray is currently pursuing a NASCAR career.)
Pro Stock Motorcycle: Andrew Hines, Eddie Krawiec, Matt Smith (2018 champion), Hector Arana Jr., Jerry Savoie, Karen Stoffer, Angie Smith, Angelle Sampey, Ryan Oehler, Hector Arana Sr.
Last year, Steve Torrence swept all six races in improbable fashion, but don’t look for THAT to happen again! Twenty-four rounds of competition and forty drivers taking aim at four big trophies connected to four bigger paydays — ladies and gentlemen, start your Countdown!