A solid, consistent 2019 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season has Eddie Krawiec in contention for another world championship. But the three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ knows he has to be great the rest of the way for that to happen, including at this weekend’s 34th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex.
The key race comes as the fourth of six in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, and Krawiec is trying to track down longtime teammate Andrew Hines, who has a remarkable eight wins this year. Krawiec is still searching for his first of 2019 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, but history is on his side in Dallas. The veteran standout has a class-best three wins at the facility, including back-to-back victories in 2016 and 2017, which means this might be the weekend where everything comes together for Krawiec.
“Luck just hasn’t rolled my way in certain situations, but with that being said, I think it’s shown that consistency is key,” Krawiec said. “I’m sitting third in points consistently going rounds, putting myself in good situations. Truthfully, I think these last three are make-or-break weekends, especially Dallas. If I can go to Dallas and win, it puts me right in contention to win a championship. But I don’t think I’m in a bad position going into Dallas.”
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) in 2019, including live final eliminations coverage 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 20. It is the fourth of six playoff races and the 14th of 16 events during the 2019 Pro Stock Motorcycle season.
It’s been a confounding year for Krawiec in terms of wins, especially as Hines has dominated the winner’s circle in 2019. But Krawiec isn’t frustrated, remaining happy with a consistent season that includes four semifinal appearances and four final rounds. He knows he’ll have to raise his performance over the final three races to make up the 115-point gap between himself and Hines, but the normally relaxed rider has a way of elevating his game when the situation calls for it.
“I like having the pressure on me and I would rather race with pressure,” Krawiec said. “You know what you have to do. You go to win and you have to make it happen, and that’s it. In the past, I’ve been able to pull through in those pressure situations. But this time of year, the pressure is on everybody. I enjoy it and I like being in that situation and it’s something that comes with experience. I’m a relaxed racer and I try to not let emotion bother my routine, no matter the round or situation.”
Krawiec, who has 47 career wins, isn’t in a win-or-else mindset, either. He knows three more final round appearances might do the trick if Hines happens to go out early down the stretch. Krawiec will gladly ride a series of consistent performances into a fourth world title, but it won’t be easy in a class that Krawiec estimates is better than ever. Karen Stoffer, who won in St. Louis, trails Hines by 57 points, while the likes of Jerry Savoie, Hector Arana Jr. and defending world champ Matt Smith sit right behind Krawiec heading into the weekend. Luckily for Krawiec, racing in Dallas always seems to bring out the best in him.
“There’s just certain races you go to where things click, and Dallas is one of them,” Krawiec said. “It’s about being consistent and it’s about being on your game. Right now, if you’re not on your game there’s a lot of people who can disrupt your weekend. I’d obviously love to get a win, but I’d rather win a championship and not get the win. I’ve done it before, so why not do it again.”
Top Fuel points leader Torrence will look to make it back-to-back wins in Dallas and during the 2019 playoffs, as the Texan won Monday in Charlotte. Standing in his way are the likes of Doug Kalitta, 2017 world champ Brittany Force, Leah Pritchett and Antron Brown.
Hight is after a second straight win in Dallas and in the Countdown to the Championship after winning in Funny Car on Monday in Charlotte. He’ll look to keep his points lead against the likes of John Force, Jack Beckman, Ron Capps and defending world champ J.R. Todd.
Pro Stock’s Jason Line opened the playoffs with a win, but Erica Enders has taken over the points lead. She’ll look to keep it against standouts like Bo Butner, Alex Laughlin and Matt Hartford.
The AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals will also feature thrilling competition in SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown, which makes its final stop of 2019, as well as the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, which showcases the future stars of the sport. For the first time, the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Pro Mod Series (MWPMS) will stage an unprecedented 16-car, eighth-mile exhibition race presented by Atomizer Racing Injectors. This exciting field will compete throughout the weekend including a final round of eliminations on Sunday in front of the NHRA raceday crowd. After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can also watch the spectacular “Lone Star Lightning” Jet Dragster driven by Tammy Gatlin and “The War Dance” jet car driven by Ralph Snyder. Jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
NHRA fans can take part in the Mello Yello Walking Tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock Motorcycle School and Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Texas Motorplex will also host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the event as they celebrate their victories.
As always, fans can 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. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
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.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 2:45 and 6:45 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 18, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 12:15 and 3:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20.
To purchase tickets, call 800-668-6775. Military and first responders can save 20% on adult single day tickets at NHRA.com/govx. Tickets also are available online at www.texasmotorplex.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.