Following the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals there are only four races remaining in the Countdown to the Championship. Ray and his team realizes to make a run for the championship crown in the two-wheel category requires going rounds at each event.
“You can literally count how many rounds of racing there are left,” Ray concluded. “Right now the first race coming off Charlotte coming into Dallas I did a little comparison to last year and I went in seventh in points and I came out fourth. You can have one really great race and set yourself up.”
For Ray to recapture glory at the Texas Motorplex he will have to outlast a tough field of competitors. Series leader Arana Jr. heads the class with four wins aboard his Lucas Oil Buell while Matt Smith, John Hall, defending world champ Eddie Krawiec and Hector Arana Sr. will be contenders during the event.
In Top Fuel, Texas native Spencer Massey leads the points standings after racing to a runner-up finish at the most recent event. He has yet to win at the Texas Motorplex and will need to do so to keep has championship drive alive. Defending world champ and event winner Brown, seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher and other standouts like Charlotte winner Morgan Lucas, Khalid alBalooshi, Doug Kalitta, Clay Millican, Steve Torrence and past Motorplex winner Bob Vandergriff also will attempt to win on the all-concrete dragstrip.
In Funny Car, Matt Hagan leads the series standings with four season victories at the controls of his Magneti Marelli/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger and will be trying to earn his second victory at the Motorplex. He will need to hold off veterans Cruz Pedregon, a three-time event champ, and Ron Capps, the 1998 winner there. Others to watch include the Force powerhouse that includes 15-time world champion John Force, his youngest daughter Courtney, a two-time winner this season, and two-time Motorplex winner and Auto Club Ford Mustang driver Robert Hight, who won the playoff opener in Charlotte.
Johnson will have his work cut out for him in a loaded class. Points leader Mike Edwards aims to bring his Interstate Batteries/I Am Second Chevy Camaro back to the Motorplex winner’s circle as he did in 1998, giving him seven victories in his dream season. But chasing him is a number of standouts, including Johnson’s teammates Jeg Coughlin, who has three wins including the most recent victory in Charlotte, and three-time season winner Vincent Nobile. Texas native Erica Enders-Stevens will be trying to grab a victory in her home state, as will Rodger Brogdon of Tomball, Texas and Chris McGaha of Odessa, Texas.