With the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship reaching the halfway point, expect NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series competitors to leave it all on the line when they visit state-of-the-art zMAX Dragway for a second time in 2019 for the NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals, Oct. 11-13.
It is the third of six races in the Countdown to the Championship, also marking the 21st of 24 races during a memorable 2019 NHRA season. As the top 10 competitors in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle make a push to a coveted championship, the thrilling action will return to the traditional two-lane format for the key fall race in Charlotte.
The action gets off to a resounding, pulsating start with the new NHRA Prime Time qualifying during the second session on Friday night. During Prime Time, drivers perform a burnout in their 11,000-horsepower nitro burning machines to their favorite jams played by an on-site DJ, setting the tone on a critical and equally exciting race weekend while a jaw-dropping pyrotechnics display wows the crowd. Matt Smith won for the second time at the track in Pro Stock Motorcycle, using that momentum to win his third title. Smith is in contention for a fourth, but it’s a packed field currently with Jerry Savoie, who has won back-to-back races, including the first race in the Countdown. That gave him a slim lead against Andrew Hines, who has seven wins in 2019 and also seven victories in Charlotte. Other championship contenders in the two-wheeled category include Eddie Krawiec, Karen Stoffer, Hector Arana Jr., Angelle Sampey, Angie Smith, Ryan Oehler and Hector Arana.
The NTK NHRA Carolina Nationals will also feature thrilling competition in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, which will have its 11th of 12 races in 2019. Rick Hord is the defending event winner, while defending world champ Mike Janis won at Charlotte in the spring. Stevie “Fast” Jackson is the current points leader as he seeks his first world title. The event also includes the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where the future stars of the sport earn their racing stripes. A special wheelstander will also be making appearances.