Chevy Racing–NHRA–Las Vegas Advance


19th DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-wide Nationals
Friday, April 6-Sunday, April 8
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada
FS1: Qualifications live – 7 p.m. ET Friday
FS1: Eliminations and finals (taped) – 6 p.m. ET Sunday

Chevrolet Seeks Winning Hand in Las Vegas Four-Wide Format
First event at reconfigured racetrack; Team Chevy Pro Stock racers vie for $50K prize

DETROIT (April 4, 2018) – National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) teams and drivers will be greeted by a new format at a familiar but reconfigured venue this weekend during the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The fourth of 24 events on NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule joins the NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals – held annually since 2010 at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina — as events at racetracks that feature four lanes of racing.

Courtney Force, driver of the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS, isn’t fazed by the new look or the format. Force has advanced to the Funny Car finals four times and has been the No. 1 qualifier two of the past four years at the racetrack, including last spring.

“It mixes things up a little bit. It will be strange to see the new (four-wide) design but I know my team will be able to get a handle on it and get our first four-wide win,” said Force, who claimed her ninth career Funny Car victory last month at Phoenix and is third in points. “We are coming into Vegas focused on getting another win this season. There is always a huge crowd there. It will be great to be back.”

The event also showcases the K&N Horsepower Challenge for eight Pro Stock competitors. The race within a race rewards the winner of eliminations $50,000.

The field is comprised entirely of Team Chevy drivers: reigning Pro Stock champion Bo Butner (Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro SS), Greg Anderson (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS), Jason Line (Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS), Vincent Nobile (Mountain View Tire Chevrolet Camaro SS), Drew Skillman (Ray Skillman Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro SS), Tanner Gray (Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro SS), two-time specialty race winner Erica Enders (Melling Performance Chevrolet Camaro SS), and three-time K&N Horsepower Challenge winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. ( Performance Chevrolet Camaro SS).
If a driver wins the specialty event and the national event, he or she will earn a $25,000 bonus.

“It’s the coolest race of the year for me; I look forward to it,” said Anderson, a six-time winner of the K&N Horsepower Challenge, including the past two years. “You don’t have to worry about points and all the things that go into national events. You’re just racing out there for cold, hard cash.

“It’s the most fun race of the year and they give the coolest trophy, too. K&N is probably the biggest supporter of the Pro Stock class in general so it’s an honor to race for their money.”

Gray will be competing in his first K&N Horsepower Challenge. Last year at The Strip, he became the youngest professional event winner in NHRA history at 17 years, 11 months. The North Carolina resident is coming off his sixth career victory by defeating Butner at Gainesville, Florida.

Justin Lamb, the 2017 Stock Eliminator and Super Stock champion, can sleep in his own bed this weekend. Lamb, of Hendersonville, Nevada, will drive his 2018 Chevrolet COPO Camaro in Stock Eliminator.

Al Corda of Elk Mound, Wisconsin, a semifinalist in the first two Stock Eliminator events of the season, also will compete in his Chevrolet COPO Camaro. Also entered in the 66-car field in their COPO Camaros are Tommy Gaynor of Vancouver, Washington, and Tim Seymour of San Dimas, California.

Byron Setters of Red Deer, Alberta, driving his Chevrolet COPO Camaro, is among the 62 entries in Super Stock.

FS1 will telecast qualifications live at 7 p.m. ET Friday. FS1 will provide taped coverage of eliminations and finals at 6 p.m. ET Sunday.

ROGER ALLEN, CHEVY RACING NHRA PROGRAM MANAGER: “After a couple weeks off to regroup and test following the exciting Gatornationals, Chevrolet teams and drivers are looking forward to the first four-wide competition of the season at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Racetrack management has done a wonderful job with the widening project, and the racing surface should be fast when Q1 rolls around.”


BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONSTER ENERGY CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (reigning class champion; runner-up in fall 2017 race at track): “I definitely go into the four-wide races with a different mind-set. The races are completely different. I will get in my Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster and go through my routine, but I will also spend some time on the starting line. I want to stand in each lane and look down the racetrack to prepare for each run no matter which lane I might be in. I want to look at the Christmas Tree and figure the visuals out before we get to race day. We have had some success racing four-wide and this is the first one in Las Vegas. That will be pretty exciting.”

ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (reigning class champion; runner-up in season opener; three-time winner of spring race and five-time winner overall at track): “I am looking forward to getting to Las Vegas for the Four-Wide Nationals. Bring it on. I have had success in the four-wide format. I don’t change my routine. You just have to race your own race and try and be one of the first two race cars to the finish line. In that last round on Sunday I want to be the first one across the stripe. The Las Vegas track is great and I am sure the lanes will be in great shape.”

COURTNEY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier and winner at Phoenix; third in points): “We are coming into Vegas focused on getting another win this season. There is always a huge crowd in Vegas. It will be great to be back there. Bruton Smith does a phenomenal job with his racetracks. To redesign it as a four-wide track is going to be unbelievable for the fans. It will be a great show. There will be a lot going on during qualifying and race day. Our Advance Auto Parts team is going to be ready for it. It is cool that we now have two four-wide races at two challenging tracks on the circuit. It mixes things up a little bit. It will be strange to see the new design, but I know my team will be able to get a handle on it and get our first four-wide win.”

JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, PEAK COOLANT AND MOTOR OIL CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (six-time winner of spring race; has 148 career Funny Car wins and 1,288 round wins): “(On first-round run at Gainesville after issues under the hood) Our plan to test in the first round was good. The car looked good. It’s a matter of you don’t want to hurt the car and you don’t want to hurt somebody else.”

BO BUTNER, KB RACING, JIM BUTNER AUTO GROUP CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (reigning class champion; earned sixth Pro Stock win and second in a row at Auto Club Raceway in season opener; class points leader): “There is always a bucket list, always something you want to win, and (the K&N Horsepower Challenge) is one of those things. A lot of people don’t particularly like the four-wide deal, but I think it’s cool. It’s definitely a thinking person’s game, just to even stage. We’ve had a very good Vegas record in all the classes.”

JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (runner-up in first two races of season; seeking 50th national event win – 47 in Pro Stock, two in Stock Eliminator): “I’ve never won the K&N Horsepower Challenge; I just can’t seem to get there. I have had no luck when it comes to this event, but I love the folks at K&N – they’ve done a lot for us and a lot for drag racing. I want to take their money and get that trophy, and I know they want to give it to me, but I just can’t seem to reach out and grab it. It’s been a little bit of a struggle for me lately, but I need to get the blue Summit Racing Chevy Camaro to the winner’s circle. If it could happen at the DENSO Four-Wide race in Las Vegas in front of our team owners, Ken and Judy Black, I’d be very happy.”

GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (eight-time winner at track; six-time K&N Horsepower Challenge winner; next final round will be 150th in his 20 seasons competing in Pro Stock): “If you would have asked us four or five years ago, we would have said everything negative we could about racing four-wide. But over the last few years, we’ve learned a little bit more about it, and it’s actually not so bad. We’ve had some success at it out here in Charlotte, so I don’t see why we can’t have that same success in Las Vegas. That’s one of our favorite tracks, and if we can go out there and get that trophy with one of our Summit Racing Chevy Camaros, our team owner Ken Black is going to become a big supporter of four-wide racing, just like we have.”

VINCENT NOBILE, MOUNTAIN VIEW RACING, MOUNTAIN VIEW TIRE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 1 qualifier in season opener; semifinalist at Gainesville): “This weekend is already starting out on a positive note. Thanks to the fans, we secured the last spot in the K&N Horsepower Challenge. Our Chevrolet has had some minor issues but overall we are confident we’ve got a good race car. Like 2012, we are going to Las Vegas with one mission — doubling up.”

JEG COUGHLIN JR., ELITE MOTORSPORTS, JEGS.COM/ELITE PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (five-time winner of spring race; three-time winner of K&N Horsepower Challenge; will compete in flat-black Camaro with yellow accents and traditional SS stripes): “It’s a really cool look I think the fans will like. The car was actually driven in a few events by Richie Stevens and later by Val Smeland but (team owner) Richard Freeman recently reacquired it and we decided after our somewhat roller coaster start to the season to put it in service and see if we can’t break free and run at the top of the class again. I think we’re ready. We made 10 passes (in testing recently) and worked out all the little glitches you have when you switch cars.”

TANNER GRAY, GRAY MOTORSPORTS, VALVOLINE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (became youngest NHRA pro winner at Las Vegas in 2017; won sixth career race at Gainesville): “I think everyone definitely knows we are back in contention to win. Our team has had success at this track, so it gives us extra confidence for sure. It should be an exciting race, especially with it being four-wide and the K&N Horsepower Challenge. I personally feel like the K&N Horsepower Challenge is a race that you go into just having fun. I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car and racing this weekend.”

ERICA ENDERS, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, MELLING PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (holds Pro Stock track records, set in 2015; two-time winner of K&N Horsepower Challenge): “We have had a lot of success at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and are hopeful that this is where we will once again get the ball rolling on what could be a very promising season. We tested again after Gainesville and are feeling optimistic about what we learned. I can confidently speak on behalf of the entire class when I say we appreciate K&N’s support in offering us this bonus K&N Horsepower Challenge. I look forward to a heck of an ‘eight-man’ battle.”

DREW SKILLMAN, RAY SKILLMAN MOTORSPORTS, RAY SKILLMAN AUTO GROUP CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 2 qualifier in opener; semifinalist at Gainesville): “I’m excited to take another run at the top prize in the K&N Horsepower Challenge. It’s always a fun event and we all appreciate what K&N does for the sport. We’re developing some consist runs with our race car and hopefully that will continue in qualifying this weekend.”