The quest for NHRA’s Mello Yello World Championship glory got a whole lot more interesting following round four of their playoffs….

The leader boards at the top of three of NHRA’s professional class categories are now bunched up following wins by Robert Hight (Funny Car) Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) during the AAA Fall Nationals held at the Texas Motorplex south of Dallas.

Hight raced to a 3.877-second pass at 332.34 mph in his AAA of Texas Chevrolet Camaro SS to defeat reigning world champion and category points leader Ron Capps’ 3.927 pass at 329.18 in his Napa Auto Parts Dodge R/T in the Funny Car final. It is Hight’s fourth win of the season, 41st of his career, third at Texas Motorplex and second in the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship. Hight remains second in the points standings with Capps in first by just 24 points.

Robert Hight drove his AAA Auto Club Camaro Funny Car to a timely win during the AAA Auto Fall Nationals event.

“This was huge. A round win is worth 20 points but truthfully that final round win for us was 40 points,” said Hight, who was also the No. 1 qualifier at the event. “We were 44 back going into the final round and had we lost that’s 64. Winning brought it back to 24 which is a little over a round with two races left. That was a 40-point swing for us. That was big. We needed that one. We would have been pretty bummed leaving here over three rounds back.”

On his way to victory, Hight defeated Jim Campbell, Alexis DeJoria, who announced her retirement following the 2017 season, and Tim Wilkerson. Capps took down Del Worsham, 16-time world champion John Force and teammate Jack Beckman.

Force piloted her Monster Energy dragster to a Texas Motorplex elapsed-time record of 3.681 at 326.87 to defeat Shawn Langdon and his Global Electronic Technology dragster’s 3.693 pass at 326.56 in the Top Fuel finals. The victory, Brittany’s third of the season and sixth of her career, moves her into second in the points standings.

Brittany Force earned her 3rd win of the season to move into 2nd place in Top Fuel season points.

“It’s been quite a day. A lot needed to happen and it seemed to work in our favor,” Force says. “Really it was about us going rounds. We had Doug Kalitta and Steve Torrence, the two people in front of us in the standings. Everyone has been struggling trying to take them down. They’ve been killing it. When we pulled up there I felt confident in us that we were going to turn those win lights on. That’s what we needed to do, we were able to do it and then we were able to take down Langdon and won the thing. This is a huge win. It’s a Countdown race. And we’re still climbing that ladder.”

Her route to victory included wins against Terry McMillen, Doug Kalitta and points leader Steve Torrence. Torrence, an East Texas native and the No. 1 qualifier, raced Force in a back-up vehicle after his Capco Contractors dragster lost control after crossing the finish line in his quarterfinal win against Richie Crampton. Langdon, who was racing in his first final round since his win at St. Louis in 2016, had round wins against Clay Millican, Terry Haddock and reigning world champion Antron Brown before falling to Force in the final.

Points leader and home state racer Steve Torrence endured a spectacular crash at the event during round #2 of Top Fuel!

View Steve Torrence’s Top Fuel incident : HERE

Defending Pro Stock world champion Jason Line found himself in the winner’s circle for the second time this season and 27th time of his career, after running a 6.548 pass at 211.20 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro to take down Drew Skillman who lost on a red-light start.

“The truth is whit the playoff format, now is what matters,” Line said. “We are picking up at the right time. I’m hopefully giving Greg Anderson, Bo Butner and everybody else something to think about for the next couple of weeks. No questions it’s not over. For me it was do or die. If we didn’t win here this weekend the chances of winning the championship were going to be slim to none. Really had to kind of win. And I was lucky enough to win. Really a nice feeling.”

Defending World Pro Stock champion Jason Line moved back into serious contention with his victory in the Summit Chevy Camaro

Line raced past Alan Prusiensky, Texas native Alex Laughlin and Brian Self on the way to his third final round of the season. Skillman bested veteran Jeg Coughlin, Bo Butner and points leader Greg Anderson before losing to Line. Anderson maintains the points lead by 15 points over Butner who is trailed by Line.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Eddie Krawiec rode his Screamin’ Eagle/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to a 9.336 pass at 92.62 which was enough due to a red-light start from defending world champion Jerry Savoie. It is Krawiec’s sixth win of the season, 42nd of his career and second consecutive and third total at Texas Motorplex.

“This track really, leaving here kind of sets the tone for how that championship is going to shape up. I probably put more pressure on myself to do really good here,” Krawiec said. “You need to capitalize. For me, I had, I would say, a perfect weekend for how it worked out. I went out there got a lot of the little points in qualifying. I needed to capitalize, this was the opportunity for me to grab the ball and run with it. I think that was more of my drive for today. Lucky enough for me I had a great motorcycle under me.”

Eddie Krawiec stretched out his points lead in Pro Stock Motorcycle — winning for the 6X in 2017

Krawiec road to victory was lined with wins over David Hope, Karen Stoffer and Scotty Pollacheck. The win puts him 107 points ahead of LE Tonglet who remains in second. Savoie, Tonglet’s teammate, rode past Gunner Courtney, rookie Joey Gladstone and former champion Matt Smith.

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Oct. 26-29, with the 17th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals.

Posted by NHRA Communications – Photos courtesy of NHRA & Auto Imagery

The Lucas Oil Lowdown 

Todd Bruce, Doug Gordon, and Thomas Marlow all scored final round victories Sunday evening during the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.

Bruce, of Horace, N.D., a new driver for the Canadian-based “The Bull” injected nitro car owned by Manitoba’s Clif Bakx, pulled the upset in Top Alcohol Dragster final round as he attained the starting line advantage, powering his dragster to 5.260 seconds, 275.96 mph, upsetting #1 qualifier Megan Meyer, Olathe, Kan. Meyer had mechanical issues and coasted to 7.110 seconds,141.80 mph.

The Manitoba-based injected nitro car owned by Clif Bakx produced a remarkable win in TAD for rookie driver Todd Bruce (from North Dakota) who won the event in his first ever national event start! (DragRaceCanada file photo by Jim Kampmann)

The Top Alcohol Funny Car final round produced the quickest side-by-side race in TAFC history. Gordon, Paso Robles, Calif., left the starting line first; Annie Whiteley, Grand Junction, Colo., closed the gap but ran out of track. Gordon recorded the second quickest pass in TAFC history to take the national event Wally trophy, running 5.376 seconds, 272.23 mph. Whiteley set a TAFC speed record at 275.00 mph while running 5.382 seconds for fifth quickest pass in TAFC history.

California’s Doug Gordon prevailed to win his 9th career TAFC title – winning the quickest side by side TAFC match in history in the final round. (DragRaceCanada file photo)

In an all Texas Stock final round, Jeff Lopez of Irving, gained the starting line advantage but Marlow of Mesquite, ran closer to his dial-in to take the final round victory, clocking in at 10.243 seconds, 121.25 mph.

The Top Sportsman Presented By Racing RVs showcased another local duel. Greg Lair hailing from Canyon, cut a great light (.009 second reaction time) running 6.485 seconds, 214.04 mph to eliminate Aaron Philpot of Boerne. Shane Eperjesi, Lake Dallas, Texas, mounted a great start, running 6.404 seconds, 209.75 mph; upending Wade Pennington of Ada, Okla., in the Top Dragster Presented by Racing RVs final round.

The other drivers visiting the winner’s circle were Clint Neff in Comp Eliminator, Slate Cummings in Super Stock, Craig Anderson in Super Comp, and Tommy Phillips in Super Gas.

Texan Tommy Phillips won his 40th career NHRA national event title – taking the S/G class.