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NHRA TEAMS RACING FOR A PIECE OF HISTORY AT PRESTIGIOUS U.S. NATIONALS CLERMONT, Ind. - Emotions will be high as NHRA teams work to become a part of drag racing history at the sport's most prestigious event, the 45th annual U.S....

NHRA TEAMS RACING FOR A PIECE OF HISTORY AT PRESTIGIOUS U.S. NATIONALS CLERMONT, Ind. - Emotions will be high as NHRA teams work to become a part of drag racing history at the sport's most prestigious event, the 45th annual U.S. Nationals. A look at the long list of past winners of the legendary event reveals some of the biggest names in the sport. Drivers in five NHRA pro categories hope to join the sport's most coveted Who's Who list with a victory. In Top Fuel and Funny Car, past winners include Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme, 'Big Daddy' Don Garlits, Jack Chrisman, Shirley Muldowney and Connie Kalitta, among others. The Pro Stock honor roll of former winners includes Bob Glidden, who won the race seven times, Ronnie Sox, Wayne Gapp, Don Nicholson and the late Lee Shepherd. A victory at the $2.6 million race, Sept. 1-6 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, could definitely make drag racing dreams come true for many. It is the 16th of 22 events in the $40 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. Last season those dreams were answered for four first time winners. Gary Scelzi, Mike Edwards, Matt Hines and Larry Kopp tasted victory at Indy for the first time in 1998, while John Force added a third U.S. Nationals trophy to his collection. Scelzi, from Fresno, Calif., two-time defending NHRA Winston Top Fuel champion and driver of the Team Winston dragster, defeated current points leader Mike Dunn for his first victory in the historic race. Dunn, driver of the Team Mopar dragster has led the point standings since the beginning of the year and is looking to add a fourth win to his list of accomplishments for the season. Scelzi, meanwhile, hopes to earn a fourth victory and move into the Winston points lead for the first time this season. Joe Amato, a four-time winner, and Budweiser King driver Kenny Bernstein also are among drivers locked in an intense battle for the 1999 NHRA Winston championship. Eight-time NHRA Winston champion Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., driver of the Castrol GTX Ford Mustang, defeated Randy Anderson last year for his third U.S. Nationals Funny Car victory. Force has dominated the competition in '99, winning eight races and building a large Winston points lead over the competition. Tony Pedregon, Whit Bazemore, Del Worsham and Scotty Cannon each hope to earn a victory and etch their name into drag racing history. Broken Arrow, Okla.'s Edwards, driver of the Dewco Chevrolet Camaro, claimed an emotional Pro Stock victory over Warren Johnson and dedicated the trophy to the memory of longtime team owner John Kight, who passed away earlier that year. Edwards has been to several final rounds this season but hasn't managed to record a victory. Johnson, however, has won five times and is seeking a fifth NHRA Winston championship. Other contenders include Jeg Coughlin, who has won three times this season and is seeking his first U.S. Nationals prize. Jim Yates, Richie Stevens, Tom Martino and Allen Johnson also are among Pro Stock drivers looking to become a part of Indy drag racing tradition with a win. Two-time defending NHRA Winston Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Hines, from Trinidad, Colo., cruised to the easy victory here one year ago when Angelle Seeling red-lighted. Seeling, from New Orleans, driver of the Team Winston Suzuki, leads the Winston point standings with four victories, while Hines is second overall, with one win. Antron Brown, a resurgent Dave Schultz and energetic Steve Johnson are all top contenders in the two-wheel category. Baltimore's Kopp, driver of the Speedco Truck Lube Chevrolet S-10 and defending Winston champion in the category, outran fellow Chevy driver Bob Panella last year to become the first Pro Stock Truck victor in U.S. Nationals history. Panella, who has two victories this season and sits second in the point standings, is a leading candidate to become the second truck winner at Indy, along with current Winston points leader Mark Osborne, also a two-time winner this year. Brad Jeter, Randy Daniels and Todd Patterson also are among top contenders in the category. In addition to the five professional categories, competition will also be fierce in two special bonus events. Qualified Funny Car and Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors will race for bonus cash in the Big Bud Shootout and Holley Pro Stock Motorcycle Dominator Duel during the U.S. Nationals. Ron Capps, driver of the Copenhagen Chevrolet Camaro, is the defending winner of the $100,000 Big Bud Shootout, while Hines is seeking his fourth straight win in the Holley Pro Stock Motorcycle Dominator Duel.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Shirley Muldowney , Antron Brown , Jeg Coughlin , Bob Panella , Mike Dunn , Brad Jeter , Warren Johnson , Tony Pedregon , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Todd Patterson , Larry Kopp , Randy Daniels , Scotty Cannon , Bob Glidden , Don Garlits , Allen Johnson , Steve Johnson , Connie Kalitta , Mike Edwards