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NHRA TEAMS SEEKING RECORD-SETTING PERFORMANCES AT COLUMBUS KIRKERSVILLE, Ohio -- If history repeats at historic National Trail Raceway this season, a new recordbook will be required once the 6,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster and Funny...

NHRA TEAMS SEEKING RECORD-SETTING PERFORMANCES AT COLUMBUS KIRKERSVILLE, Ohio -- If history repeats at historic National Trail Raceway this season, a new recordbook will be required once the 6,000 horsepower Top Fuel dragster and Funny Car teams have completed their assault on the quarter-mile located just east of metropolitan Columbus. Competitors in four NHRA pro categories did some speed editing there last year, totally rewriting every track record. With the performance level that many teams have been attaining this season, a track record-shattering event is almost certain. It will surely be an intense scene at the 35th annual Pontiac Excitement Nationals presented by Summit Racing, June 10-13. The $1.5 million race is the 10th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Kenny Bernstein, Frank Pedregon, Jeg Coughlin and Matt Hines are the defending race winners in their respective professional categories. Bernstein, from Lake Forest, Calif., defeated Bob Vandergriff in a close Top Fuel final one year ago. Bernstein and Vandergriff are among top contenders for victory this season. Team Mopar's Mike Dunn holds the points lead with three victories, while Larry Dixon, Tony Schumacher and Gary Scelzi have been among the quickest and fastest drivers in the category. Pedregon, from Alta Loma, Calif., claimed his first career Funny Car victory here last year, defeating home-state favorite Dean Skuza in the final. Pedregon, driver of Jim Dunn's Penthouse Pontiac, is still looking for his first victory of the season in 1999. John Force, eight-time Winston champion, is having one of his finest seasons with six victories in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Tony Pedregon, Whit Bazemore and two-time Pontiac Excitement Nationals winner Al Hofmann are also among top contenders for a victory. Hometown favorite Coughlin defeated Jim Yates for the popular Pro Stock victory last year. 1998 Rookie of the Year Coughlin, who has struggled somewhat in his sophomore season, will lead a tough contingent of drivers into competition that also includes defending Winston champion Warren Johnson, Kurt Johnson, Amoco Dodge Avenger driver Allen Johnson and 20-year-old Richie Stevens. Hines, from Trinidad, Colo., outran Dave Schultz for the Pro Stock Motorcycle victory in a battle of Suzukis. Angelle Seeling, rider of the Team Winston Suzuki, leads the point standings, while Antron Brown is still on cloud nine following his first career NHRA victory. John Smith, Greg Underdahl and Tony Mullen are also among top contenders in the two-wheel category. Chevrolet S-10s, Dodge Dakotas, GMC Sonomas and Ford Rangers will compete in Pro Stock Truck competition for the first time at National Trail Raceway. Defending Winston champion Larry Kopp and current points leader Mark Osborne will lead over 30 trucks into competition. Brad Jeter, Todd Patterson, David Spitzer and Bob Panel are among top pickup drivers. In addition, NHRA sportsman racers will be in the spotlight at the invitation-only Federal-Mogul Allstars competition, featuring eight-car fields from each of NHRA's eight sportsman eliminators. Racers from NHRA's seven geographic divisions in Federal-Mogul Dragster, Federal-Mogul Funny Car, Competition, Super Stock, Stock, Super Comp, Super Gas and Super Street will compete for $100,000 in prize money.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Frank Pedregon , Matt Hines , Jeg Coughlin , Larry Dixon , Mike Dunn , Kenny Bernstein , Brad Jeter , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Dean Skuza , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Todd Patterson , Larry Kopp , Greg Underdahl , Allen Johnson , Bob Vandergriff