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2014 Toyota NHRA Summernationals: Who to watch

New Jersey native Antron Brown has yet to get a win at Englishtown
New Jersey native Antron Brown has yet to get a win at EnglishtownNHRA Media

The 45th annual Toyota NHRA Summernationals take place Thursday through Sunday, May 29th through June 1st at historic Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. All four NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – will be in action, and will be joined by the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the NHRA Pro Mod Series throughout the weekend. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Michael Ray (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are the defending winners at Englishtown.

Two of this season’s winners call the track at Englishtown home. 2012 Top Fuel champ Antron Brown hails from Chesterfield, New Jersey, while three-time PSM champ Eddie Krawiec used to be the track’s manager. Brown is winless at his home track, but has three wins this season heading into the race; Krawiec, who won at Atlanta, has a win at the track. Pro Stock driver Vincent Nobile has his own connection to Englishtown: living in Melville, New York, Nobile made his first stop at Raceway Park as an NHRA Jr. Dragster competitor, and won the first event he entered there in the junior ranks.

“I would be able to compare this race to Indy and put it next to Indy as a must-win for me,” said Nobile. “It’s an important race for me because my whole family is going to be there. It would be great to win and share the winner’s circle with 100 friends and family.”

“The first year I raced there (in Pro Stock) I had never been so nervous,” continued Nobile. “I learned to cope with that because I understand that my family is there to support me. Sometimes it gets hectic, but they know I’m here to do my job.”

The hunt for win No. 100 for women in the NHRA’s top categories is over, with Courtney Force taking home the Funny Car Wally from Topeka. There will still be plenty of women looking for win No. 101 at Englishtown, however – Force is joined in Englishtown by Alexis DeJoria in the Funny Car category, sister Brittany Force and Leah Pritchett in Top Fuel, Erica Enders-Stevens in Pro Stock and Angie Smith and Elvira Karlsson in PSM.

Pro category qualifying for the Toyota NHRA Summernationals gets underway on Friday, May 30th at 4 and 6:15 p.m. ET and continues Saturday, May 31st at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. ET. Final eliminations begin Sunday, June 1st at 11 a.m. ET. Keep up with the action at www.nhra.com.

Quotes in this piece provided by the NHRA.

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