CHEVROLET RACING IN NATIONAL HOT ROD ASSOCIATION
DENSO SPARK PLUGS NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS
THE STRIP AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY AT LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
SUNDAY, APRIL 8, 2018
Chevrolet Drivers Hold Winning Hands in Las Vegas
• Vincent Nobile claims first Pro Stock win since ’16 in Chevy Camaro SS
• Low qualifier Courtney Force finishes third in Funny Car final
• Greg Anderson wins K&N Horsepower Challenge for third year in a row
• Justin Lamb drives Chevrolet COPO Camaro to Stock Eliminator victory
LAS VEGAS (April 8, 2018) – Vincent Nobile’s first National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock victory since Oct. 2, 2016, was especially satisfying at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Nobile, driving the Mount View Tire Chevrolet Camaro SS, defeated Deric Kramer (American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro SS) by .0007 of a second in the final of the inaugural four-wide race west of the Mississippi River.
“This is a big boost to our confidence,” said Nobile, who was the No. 8 qualifier. “We have a great team and great car. I think this was my fifth or sixth final in Vegas and finally got it done. Vegas definitely treats me right and I finally got that monkey off our back.”
Nobile, who picked up his 11th Pro Stock victory in 168 races, is the fourth winner – all by Chevrolet drivers – in as many races this season in the highly competitive class. Reigning Pro Stock world champion Bo Butner (Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro SS) placed third and Chris McGaha (Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevrolet Camaro SS) finished fourth in the final.
Courtney Force, who was the No. 1 Funny Car qualifier en route to winning at Phoenix last month, earned her 19th low qualifier honor and reached the four-wide final. She finished third in the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Robert Hight, the No. 5 Funny Car qualifier in the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS and the defending world champion, lost in the first round of eliminations. Teammate John Force, the No. 11 qualifier in the PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS, missed out on advancing to the finals by 0.015 of a second.
Greg Anderson claimed the K&N Horsepower Challenge, a $50,000-to-win specialty Pro Stock event, for the third year in a row and the seventh time overall. Anderson, driving the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS, beat KB Racing teammate Butner in the final.
“K&N has been so wonderful to this class and this sport in general, and it’s an honor to race for this check,” said Anderson, a four-time Pro Stock champion. “That’ll go a long way to racing these cars. It’s a big shot in the arm.”
Anderson missed an opportunity to double up in the four-wide event as the No. 1 qualifier. He fell in the semifinals. Matt Hartford (Total Seal/Nitro Fish Chevrolet Camaro SS), Tanner Gray (Valvoline Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro SS), and Drew Skillman (Ray Skillman Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro SS) also advanced to the semifinals.
Brittany Force, the reigning Top Fuel champion, was the No. 3 qualifier in the Monster Energy Chevrolet dragster with a pass of 3.773 seconds at 322.58 mph. She fell in the first round.
Justin Lamb, the 2017 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Stock Eliminator and Super Stock champion, earned the Wally in his Chevrolet COPO Camaro. Lamb, of nearby Hendersonville, Nevada, qualified 39th of 64 Stock Eliminator entries. Lamb, who also was the ’17 Super Stock champion, picked up his second Super Stock national win of the season in his 2010 Chevrolet Cobalt.
“It’s really awesome (to win at home track),” Lamb said. “I think three or four times I’ve been to two final rounds in a national event but never doubled. It’s exciting to do it at home.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues April 20-22 with the NHRA Spring Nationals at Royal Purple Raceway in Baytown, Texas. FS1 will telecast eliminations and finals live at 2 p.m. ET April 22.
ROGER ALLEN, CHEVY RACING NHRA PROGRAM MANAGER: “The first four-wide event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was exciting and successful for Chevy Racing teams. Congratulations to the Team Chevy winners and all the drivers for battling the elements, the reconfigured racetrack and other competitors. There’s another four-wide event on the horizon in North Carolina. First, there’s the annual stop in suburban Houston in two weeks. We’re looking forward to Chevy Racing teams and drivers continuing their success.”
An interview with Pro Stock winner VINCENT NOBILE, ELITE MOTORSPORTS, MOUNTAINVIEW TIRE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (No. 8 qualifier; earned first victory since Maple Grove in 2016, 11th career win):
WHAT DOES THIS WIN MEAN TO YOU AFTER MORE THAN A YEAR TRYING?
“It’s a big boost to our confidence. We have a great team, great car, and I can’t thank the Mitzos family enough for giving me this opportunity. I think this is my fifth or sixth final here in Vegas. Finally got it done.”
WHAT POINT DURING THE DAY DID YOU THINK, ‘OK, MAYBE’?
“After our third motor change I thought maybe this is our day. Obviously, it was. We struggled during qualifying. We had some hurt motors, but that one we put in in the semifinals was healthy.”
YOU’RE IN LANE 4, CAN YOU SEE YOUR COMPETITORS?
“I looked over and was pretty sure I had the guy in the lane next to me, but I didn’t know what was going over (across the track). Then my lights started blinking.”
YOU HAVE TO HAVE MENTAL TOUGHNESS
“It definitely paid off. We worked our butts off this weekend. That was our third engine, which is three too many for a Pro Stock car. On Friday, we struggled in qualifying. Unbeknownst to us, our motor was being hurt. We didn’t break anything; it was just wearing itself out. Then we put in a second bullet and that thing was even more of a turd. It came right off the dyno. Finally, after the first round we put in our backup backup, and obviously that’s the one that should have been in there to begin with. All in all, a great weekend. There ain’t no reason why we can’t be in the winner’s circle again soon.”
WHAT CAN YOU ATTRIBUTE THE INCREASED PERFORMANCE OF THE CAR TO THIS YEAR?
“We sat out at the end of last year, recouped. We got a new race car and the thing is working great. The Elite (Motorsports) guys went to work over the winter and definitely found some horsepower. The car has been running good; we just haven’t had much luck this year so far. We qualified No. 1 in Pomona, did decent in Phoenix until a relay popped out on me. Gainesville wasn’t too bad, a semifinal finish. And now here we are in the winner’s circle.”
WHAT DOES IT CHANGE MENTALLY WHEN YOU KNOW YOU HAVE HORSEPOWER?
“It’s a confidence-booster when you have the car behind you. You can only do so much as a driver. If you don’t have the car, as well as the driver, you don’t have a winning combination. I have to be on my game and the car has to be on its game or else you’re not going to win the race. I didn’t even know it was that close in the final; I had no idea.”
THIS IS BIG FOR YOU, HOW BIG IS IT FOR ELITE?
“I think this was our first final for Elite as well, so great for the whole team.”
DO YOU THINK THE FORMAT IS DIFFERENT IN A PRO STOCK CAR THAN A NITRO CAR?
“My routine changes a little bit. The staging process obviously is different as you’re staging against two more cars and you have no time to waste. That’s one more thing you have to focus one, making sure you get in so you don’t get timed out. I’ve never driver a Fuel car, never will drive one, too scared to drive one. I’ll stick to Pro Stock.”
NICK AND IRENE MITZOS, TEAM OWNERS, THEIR SON WON A RACE IN TOP SPORTSMAN EARLIER THIS YEAR AND YOU WIN IN PRO STOCK. IT HAS TO BE A BANNER COUPLE OF DAYS FOR THEM
“Unfortunately, Nick and Irene weren’t here today. It was Greek Easter and they are at home celebrating. Now they get to celebrate a win. I can’t thank them enough for allowing me to come out here and play even when they’re not out here. That just means to world to me. I just hope I can do the best I can for them.”