Dallas Castrol Nationals Adds Nitro Punch to Weekend Lineup

ENNIS, Texas - The awesome roar and powerful performances of motorsports most extreme attraction will add some nitro punch to racing activities this Memorial Day weekend - historically four of the biggest days for auto racing in the United ...

ENNIS, Texas - The awesome roar and powerful performances of motorsports most extreme attraction will add some nitro punch to racing activities this Memorial Day weekend - historically four of the biggest days for auto racing in the United States.

The NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series will travel to the state of Texas and join other prestigious events that have defined the popular weekend over the years, including the Indy 500 and a 600-mile NASCAR event in Charlotte, N.C. The race - one of two NHRA national events held at the Motorplex annually -- started in 1997 and was previously held during the month of April. NHRA and Texas Motorplex officials decided to move the race to the new date to add some drag racing excitement to the Memorial Day racing calendar.

Explosive 320 mph speeds and lightning quick 4.5 second runs will define the action at the fourth annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts, May 25-28, at the state-of-the-art Texas Motorplex, the only all-concrete quarter-mile racing surface in the sport of drag racing. Gary Scelzi, Tony Pedregon, Warren Johnson and Antron Brown are the defending winners in their respective categories at the $1.9 million race, the ninth of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Scelzi, from Fresno, Calif., drove his Team Winston dragster to the victory, defeating Doug Kalitta in a 4.50-second, side-by-side thriller. Scelzi and Kalitta, already winners this season, are among several drivers in the chase for the 2000 Winston Top Fuel championship. Defending series champ Tony Schumacher is the points leader, while Larry Dixon and Kenny Bernstein have also earned event titles in the 6,000 horsepower category.

Pedregon, from Chino Hills, Calif., clocked a 4.98 second run in his Castrol Syntec Ford Mustang to defeat Dean Skuza for the Funny Car victory here last year. In the process, Pedregon earned a $100,000 Winston No Bull Challenge bonus. Current points leader Jerry Toliver and his WWF Racing teammate, Jim Epler, are challenging nine-time Winston champion John Force for the category championship this season. Other top drivers in the category include Ron Capps, Whit Bazemore and surprise Houston winner Bob Gilbertson.

Buford, Ga.'s Johnson, used a horsepower advantage to outrun Mike Edwards for the Pro Stock win here one year ago. While Johnson is the five-time series champion and has put together an impressive record at the Texas Motorplex over the years, Jeg Coughlin has emerged this season as the driver to beat, winning four of five events in his Jeg's Mail Order Oldsmobile Cutlass. Other top contenders include Kurt Johnson, Mark Pawuk and two-time series champ Jim Yates.

Brown, from Chesterfield, N.J., claimed his first career victory at the Motorplex in '99, as he took the easy win when each of his competitors fouled at the start -- including final round foe Angelle Seeling. The Team 23 Suzuki rider and his teammate, Winston points leader Tony Mullen, will lead the two-wheel set into competition. Three-time defending series champion Matt Hines, Las Vegas winner Seeling, and Gainesville, Fla. winner Dave Schultz are all top threats to win.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Matt Hines , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Mark Pawuk , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Jim Epler , Tony Pedregon , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Jerry Toliver , Mike Edwards