Tuesday, September 10, 2013


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts kicks off at zMAX Dragway Sept 13-15, 2009 Pro Stock world champion Mike Edwards will have one singular goal in the Countdown to Championship: to win a second world championship title. Edwards, the No. 1 seed in the factory hot-rod category, is surging after his recent Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory.

“We were very fortunate,” Edwards said. “We qualified good, we ran good a couple runs there on Sunday, and then we didn't run too good there the last couple of runs, but we were very fortunate to win.”

For Edwards to win a second championship, he will have to do it while fighting through an injury. He was recently diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff that will require surgery in the off-season. For now, Edwards will have to block the discomfort out of his mind when he's behind the wheel.

“It's been hurting me since before Denver, but it's progressively gotten worse,” he said. “I went home and had an MRI done, and we got the MRI back and the doctor told me what was going on and what he suggested I do.  That was to have surgery the next day.  I told him it's not possible. So it is what it is.  People have mountains to climb, and this is my mountain.”

Professional golfers have the mind set during a match to focus solely on their game and not concentrate on those they are playing against or those who are in the lead. Edwards has a similar attitude at each event and is only concerned about what happens in his lane.

“Race the racetrack and prepare your car the best you can,” he continued. “You've just got to do everything almost perfect anymore to win one of these races, especially a championship.  That's going to determine who it is, who can do all that the best.”   

Edwards has six wins this season, which leads the category, one runner-up finish and 13 No. 1 qualifying positions, which also leads Pro Stock. Even with the wins, Edwards isn’t resting on past success. The team recently tested zMAX Dragway and continues to seek the smallest advantages that could help them win the championship. He knows that rivals Allen Johnson, Jeg Coughlin, Greg Anderson, Jason Line and Vincent Nobile have their sights set on him and taking home the title will be no easy feat.

“When it comes down to the Countdown if you don't drive good you know you're not going to win these races,” Edwards said. “We're not talking about hundredths of seconds anymore.  We're talking about thousandths.  It's going to be thousandths of a second that wins this championship.”

In Top Fuel, defending race winner and Countdown top seed Shawn Langdon, seven-time champ Tony Schumacher, defending world champ Antron Brown, Doug Kalitta, Clay Millican, Morgan Lucas and Khalid alBalooshi will all be battling for a playoff victory to aid in their championship pursuits.

2011 Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan is the No. 1 seed in his category and will attempt to earn his second win at zMAX Dragway. Ron Capps, Jack Beckman, Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson, John and Courtney Force as well as Robert Hight will attempt to win the season long championship.

In the 190 mph Pro Stock Motorcycle category, Hector Arana Jr. enters the race as the top seed with four season victories, followed closely by Indy runner-up Matt Smith and two-time season winner Michael Ray. Indy winner John Hall, defending world champ Eddie Krawiec, Hector Arana Sr. and Scotty Pollacheck are also ones to watch in the two-wheel class.

The Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. In addition to all of the drama and excitement going on in the Countdown playoffs, fans will also enjoy a brilliant night qualifying show on Friday, some powerful exhibition runs by two jet dragsters and an incredible fireworks display to close out Friday’s racing.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. No other sport offer fans an up close and personal experience like NHRA.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA's popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

Be a part of the action all weekend with a 3-Day Pass to the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts.  Purchase a 3-day package for just $99. Bring the kids along for an even better ticket offer: Children 13 and younger will receive free general admission with a paid adult all weekend.

Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts qualifying opens on Friday, Sept. 13, with sessions at 4:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Sept. 14, at 12:15 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15.

The race will be televised on ESPN2 HD with qualifying coverage on Saturday and three hours of eliminations coverage on Sunday beginning at 8:30 p.m. (ET).

To purchase tickets, call zMAX Dragway at 800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.zMAXdragway.com.  For more information about NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.

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WHAT:  Sixth annual Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts, the 19th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series and the first of six races in the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Drivers in four categories - Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle - earn points leading to 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.

WHERE:  zMAX Dragway- Track is located on Hwy 29 off I-85 at exit 49 (Speedway Blvd.) in the Concord, N.C. area.

WHEN:  Friday through Sunday, Sept. 13-15

FRIDAY, Sept. 13 - LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 3:30 and 6:15 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:15 and 6:45 p.m.

SATURDAY, Sept. 14 - LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
PRO MOD SERIES qualifying at 2 p.m.; first round of eliminations at 4:15 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:15 and 2:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, Sept. 15 - Pre-race ceremonies, 11 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at noon.

Saturday, Sept. 14, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise qualifying coverage at TBA (ET).
Sunday, Sept. 15, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise three hours of eliminations coverage starting at 8:30 p.m. (ET).

SATELLITE (Digital HD feed):
Friday, Sept. 13, 9 - 9:30 p.m. (ET), SES 2 / Transponder 3C           
Saturday, Sept. 14, 5:30 - 6 p.m. (ET), SES 2 / Transponder 3C
Sunday, Sept. 15, 7:30 - 8 p.m. (ET), SES 2 / Transponder 3C         
(3760 MHz, horizontal; Data Rate: 40.46147055 Mbp; Symbol Rate: 29.27 Ms; FEC: ¾; Bandwidth: 36 Mhz)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.
2012 EVENT WINNERS: Shawn Langdon, Top Fuel; Ron Capps, Funny Car; Jason Line, Pro Stock; Andrew Hines, Pro Stock Motorcycle.

TRACK RECORDS:            
Top Fuel - 3.749 seconds by Tony Schumacher, Sept. ’12; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12.
Funny Car - 3.995 seconds by Matt Hagan, Sept. ’11; 322.27 mph by Hagan, Sept. ’11.
Pro Stock - 6.471 sec. by Mike Edwards, April ’13; 213.91 mph by Line, April ’12.
Pro Stock Motorcycle - 6.810 sec. by Eddie Krawiec, Sept. ’11; 196.79 mph by Krawiec, Sept. ’11.
Top Fuel - 3.701 sec. by Antron Brown, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
Funny Car - 3.986 sec. by Jack Beckman, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 320.58 mph by Beckman, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.
Pro Stock - 6.471 sec. by Mike Edwards, April ’13, Charlotte, N.C.; 214.35 mph by Jason Line, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.
PS Motorcycle - 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.26 mph by Eddie Krawiec, March ’11, Gainesville, Fla.
TICKETS: Order tickets by phone at (800) 455-FANS. Tickets also are available online at www.zmaxdragway.com.   

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GLENDORA, Calif. -- The following are the reset point standings (top 10) for each Mello Yello Drag Racing Series driver, following 18 regular season races and prior to the start of the six-race Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s playoffs -

Top Fuel: 1.  Shawn Langdon, 2,110; 2.  Spencer Massey, 2,080; 3.  Tony Schumacher, 2,070; 4.  Doug Kalitta, 2,060; 5.  Khalid alBalooshi, 2,050; 6.  Antron Brown, 2,040; 7.  Clay Millican, 2,030; 8.  Morgan Lucas, 2,020; 9.  Steve Torrence, 2,010; 10.  Bob Vandergriff, 2,000.

Funny Car: 1.  Matt Hagan, 2,110; 2.  Ron Capps, 2,080; 3.  Johnny Gray, 2,070; 4.  John Force, 2,060; 5. Jack Beckman, 2,050; 6.  Cruz Pedregon, 2,040; 7.  Courtney Force, 2,030; 8.  Tim Wilkerson, 2,020; 9.  Robert Hight, 2,010; 10.  Del Worsham, 2000.

Pro Stock: 1.  Mike Edwards, 2,110; 2.  Allen Johnson, 2,080; 3.  Jeg Coughlin, 2,070; 4.  Vincent Nobile, 2,060; 5.  Shane Gray, 2,050; 6.  Jason Line, 2,040; 7.  Greg Anderson, 2,030; 8.  V Gaines, 2,020; 9.  Erica Enders-Stevens, 2,010; 10.  Rodger Brogdon, 2,000.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  Hector Arana Jr, 2,110; 2.  Matt Smith, 2,080; 3.  Michael Ray, 2,070; 4.  John Hall, 2,060; 5.  Hector Arana, 2,050; 6.  Scotty Pollacheck, 2,040; 7.  Eddie Krawiec, 2,030; 8.  Adam Arana, 2,020; 9.  LE Tonglet, 2,010; 10.  Shawn Gann, 2,000.