Dallas Texas Motorplex Has Something to Prove

TEXAS MOTORPLEX HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE IN NHRA RECORD FRENZY ENNIS, Texas -- The Texas Motorplex has something to prove. The first of drag racing's supertracks and long regarded as the nation's premier factory of high-performance, the ...

TEXAS MOTORPLEX HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE IN NHRA RECORD FRENZY

ENNIS, Texas -- The Texas Motorplex has something to prove.

The first of drag racing's supertracks and long regarded as the nation's premier factory of high-performance, the all-concrete quarter-mile located just outside metropolitan Dallas is looking to get back its bragging rights.

The Motorplex closed the 1998 season in spectacular fashion by providing NHRA competitors with a venue to produce some of history's quickest and fastest performances in four of NHRA's professional categories.

However, those marks didn't stand for long, as performances at events early this season in Pomona, Calif., Phoenix, Gainesville, Fla. and Houston have shattered the NHRA record books.

But if history is any indicator, the Texas Motorplex may get the last laugh. NHRA competitors will be seeking unparalleled levels of high performance at the third annual Castrol Nationals presented by O'Reilly Auto Parts, April 22-25 at the Motorplex.

The $1.5 million race is the fifth of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

Consider the following records that stand to be bettered at the Motorplex. In Top Fuel, Larry Dixon holds the elapsed time record of 4.486 seconds. Defending Winston champion Gary Scelzi has the speed mark at 326.44 mph. Tony Schumacher ran 330.23 mph for the fastest Top Fuel run in history. In Funny Car, John Force has both ends of the national record (4.788 seconds, 324.05 mph), while his teammate, Tony Pedregon, recently ran the quickest Funny Car elapsed time in NHRA history at 4.779 seconds. Warren Johnson holds both ends of the Pro Stock record with a 6.866 second elapsed time and 201.37 mph speed.

Defending Castrol Nationals race winners include Joe Amato, Ron Capps and Mike Edwards in their respective professional categories.

Amato, from Exeter, Pa., defeated first-time finalist Doug Kalitta on a holeshot here one year ago. Amato, a winner this year at Phoenix, and Kalitta will lead a Top Fuel contingent which includes two-time winner Dunn, Team Winston's Scelzi, Cory McClenathan, Kenny Bernstein and Larry Dixon, among others.

Last year in Funny Car, Capps, from San Diego, powered away from Force in the final. While those two drivers are the favorites, other top contenders include Cruz Pedregon, Whit Bazemore, Tony Pedregon and Al Hofmann.

Edwards, from Broken Arrow, Okla., defeated Kurt Johnson on a holeshot to take the win here last season in a Pontiac Firebird-Chevrolet Camaro final round battle. Johnson leads the point standings after a wins at Phoenix and Houston and runner-up at Gainesville's Mac Tools Gatornationals. Defending series champion Warren Johnson hopes to put his GM Goodwrench Service Pontiac Firebird into the winner's circle for the second time this season.

For the first time since 1991, Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors will compete at the Motorplex. Defending Winston champion Matt Hines will lead the charge for the bikes, as Team Winston's Angelle Seeling looks to increase her Winston points lead following her Mac Tools Gatornationals victory. Other candidates looking for a win include John Smith, Antron Brown and Dave Schultz, the last bike winner at the Motorplex.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Kurt Johnson , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Al Hofmann , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Cruz Pedregon , Cory McClenathan , Mike Edwards