The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship begins with the next race, the Carlyle Tools NHRA Carolina Nationals presented by NAPA Auto Parts at zMAX Dragway in Concord North Carolina, taking place Friday through Sunday, September 13th through 15th. Here are the top 10 drivers competing for the honors in Top Fuel (reset points in parenthesis).
1. Shawn Langdon (2110) – Langdon won five times in 2013 (Pomona, Topeka, Englishtown, Sonoma and Indy) and had two runner-up finishes; he also added four No. 1 qualifiers. He also took home the big check at the Traxxas Nitro Shootout for Top Fuel at Indy.
2. Spencer Massey (2080) – Massey led the Don Schumacher Racing assault on the Top Fuel division with four wins (Charlotte, New England, Denver and Brainerd) and a runner-up finish.
3. Tony Schumacher (2070) – The seven-time Top Fuel champ won three times this season (Phoenix, Las Vegas and Chicago), and added three runner-up finishes.
4. Doug Kalitta (2060) – Kalitta had one runner-up finish this season at Norwalk, but with 10 top three qualifiers this season – including five No. 1 qualifiers – he shows how the “little points” add up.
5. Khalid alBalooshi (2050) – alBalooshi broke through with a win (Norwalk) and a runner-up finish in 2013, capitalizing on a successful late-season run in 2012.
6. Antron Brown (2040) – 2012 Top Fuel champ Brown won twice (Gainesville and Atlanta) and had one runner-up finish, but a string of eight first-round exits in 10 races mid-season pushed him back in the standings.
7. Clay Millican (2030) – Millican had three runner-up finishes this season and still seeks his first NHRA Top Fuel win after winning 51 IHRA Top Fuel events.
8. Morgan Lucas (2020) – Lucas won at Seattle and had two runner-up finishes, but nine first-round exits hurt him in the standings.
9. Steve Torrence (2010) – A DNQ and a succession of first- and second-round exits early in the season railroaded Torrence in 2013, but he did pick up a win at Bristol.
10. Bob Vandergriff Jr. (2000) – Vandergriff Jr. picked up a win at Houston, and also had a runner-up finish at Denver.
Stay tuned this week to the NHRA Examiner for a complete look at each of the Mello Yello categories and the participants in the 2013 Countdown to the Championship. Keep up with the action leading up to the Countdown at www.nhra.com.
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