ENNIS – Racing at Texas Motorplex means a great deal to Pro Stock’s Chris McGaha.
The Odessa, Texas, native was there the day the track opened in 1986, he watched his dad racing there growing up and got his first career Pro Stock round win at the facility.
The only thing missing for McGaha is a Pro Stock event win, something he hopes to accomplish at this weekend’s AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals in his Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevrolet Camaro. McGaha currently sits ninth in the Pro Stock points standings, meaning a world title is no longer within reach, but getting an event win in Dallas would provide an ideal late-season boost.
“We’ve been going there for many, many years,” said McGaha, who has five career Pro Stock wins. “It was like the family trip growing up for us. Obviously, we would love to do well there. Winning there would be about as big as winning at Indy for us. We’ve given away a couple of rounds during the Countdown, so hopefully, we can revive things a little in Dallas.”
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Drew Skillman (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), including live finals coverage starting at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Oct. 15. It is the fourth of six races in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship and McGaha is looking to get on track in the playoffs, if for nothing else to end his 2017 season on a high note.
After two first-round losses to open the Countdown to the Championship, McGaha won a round in St. Louis. But he sits 271 points back of points leader Greg Anderson, with a holeshot loss in the second round at St. Louis only adding to McGaha’s frustration. It erased a strong run of 6.559 and McGaha knows where his current struggles are taking place.
“The car has been running really well, but the driver has really let us down the last three races,” McGaha said. “We’ve beat ourselves in more ways than one. I felt like we ran decent in Indy and have run well in the Countdown, but I’ve had a red light and gotten beat on a couple holeshots. Obviously, it’s easier to overcome the driving when the car is running well and that does ease your mind some. I’ve been pleased with the car, so we’ll keep pushing along.”
McGaha won earlier this season in Charlotte and has qualified high in the field at almost every event, including qualifying fifth at two of the playoff races. Correcting those starting-line issues will make him a contender to win at any race, including this weekend at Texas Motorplex, which would obviously be an ideal way to finish the season. Doing do in front of a large group of McGaha fans would mean even more for the Pro Stock standout who grew up racing at the facility.
“I feel like we can win one of these last three races, I really do,” McGaha said. “We’ve got a good enough car to do it. If we can keep the car where it is, get a couple little breaks, there’s no reason we can’t win. Winning one more this year would be pretty nice. It does help your winter when you run well at the end of the season. Racing in front of friends and family does add extra pressure, but that’s part of the game. It would mean a lot and be a big deal if we could win (in Dallas).”
Brown remains in the hunt for his third straight Top Fuel crown, but he must track down red-hot points leader and Texan Steve Torrence, who picked up his eighth win of 2017 in St. Louis.
Hagan looks to make a late run in the Funny Car title race, hoping to track down a teammate, points leader and reigning world champ Ron Capps, who has back-to-back playoff wins.
Krawiec had been red-hot in Pro Stock Motorcycle, winning three straight races, before LE Tonglet won in St. Louis to pull within 16 points. Andrew Hines sits 72 points back.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-668-6775. Tickets also are available online at www.texasmotorplex.com. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For info about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.