CHEVROLET AT LAS VEGAS
What: DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
When: Friday, April 5-Sunday, April 7
Where: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Nevada
TV: FS1 eliminations and finals, 5:30 p.m. ET April 7
Chevy Racing seeks winning hand in Las Vegas four-wide event
Bo Butner in Pro Stock, Robert Hight in Funny Car sit atop point standings
DETROIT (April 3, 2019) – Looking to his left and right, Bo Butner sees at least one competitor.
“It’s different, for sure,” the 2017 National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Pro Stock champion says of the four-wide format being employed this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals is the fourth race of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season and the first of two four-wide events this month. Instead of head-to-head matchups, drivers in all professional categories will dart off the starting line against three other competitors.
The format is different, but the objective doesn’t change.
“In the race car, you have a different staging process and have a few extra things on your mind with the four-wide format, but you’re mostly occupied with doing your job,” said Jeg Coughlin Jr., who claimed the low qualifier honor at the fall 2018 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the JEGS.com/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Butner, driving the KB Racing-prepared Jim Butner Auto Sales Chevrolet Camaro SS, has won two of the three Pro Stock races this season (Coughlin won at Phoenix) and holds the category points lead.
“It’s not if, it’s when somebody screws up. If you can hold your composure and not do the same, you’re going to beat them,” he said of his approach to racing four-wide.
Greg Anderson has dominated in Las Vegas over the years, with his eight Pro Stock wins at the facility tied for the most in NHRA history. The four-time world champion was the No. 1 qualifier last spring in the Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS. Following the fourth of the 18-race campaign, Pro Stock goes on hiatus until the May 17-19 Virginia NHRA Nationals.
Robert Hight, driver of the Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car, has also won two races and has been low qualifier in each of the three events. Hight, the class points leader, has claimed five wins at the track.
“The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is always a great race and we’ve seen success there in the two-wide format so I’m looking forward to getting there,” he said. “Last year was the first time we’ve done a four-wide at the facility and we didn’t run like we had hoped, but we have a better idea going in and with the way things are going so far this season.”
Driving their Chevrolet COPO Camaros in Stock Eliminator competition will be Jeff Taylor of Sellersburg, Indiana; Dan Fletcher of Churchville, New York; Al Corda of Elk Mound, Wisconsin; and Tim Seymour of San Dimas, California.
Entered in Super Stock in COPO Camaros are NHRA Super Comp and Super Gas world champion Luke Bogacki or Carterville, Illinois; Kirsten Bell of Anchorage, Alaska; Tom Ferruggia of Menifee, California; and Kyle Seipel of Pleasanton, California.
FS1 will telecast eliminations and finals at 5:30 p.m. ET April 7.
Fans will have the opportunity to tour the Chevrolet Performance display in the infield and meet Chevy Racing drivers this weekend.
CHEVROLET FROM THE COCKPIT
BRITTANY FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, ADVANCE AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (2017 class champion; No. 1 qualifier in last race): “We qualified No. 1, made six solid passes getting down the racetrack all weekend and got to the second round. We definitely picked up our pace in Gainesville and we’re starting to figure this race car out. My entire Advance Auto Parts team and I, we’re all really excited to get to the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and go some rounds on race day. We had a decent run last year but we’re hoping to make it to the final quad this time and ultimately get the Advance Auto Parts dragster in the winner’s circle.”
AUSTIN PROCK, JOHN FORCE RACING, MONTANA BRAND/ROCKY MOUNTAIN TWIST CHEVROLET DRAGSTER (Making fourth start; won maiden elimination round at Pomona opener): “Our Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist Top Fuel dragster should be running on mean. We found some things that were holding us back while at the shop so we made changes and it should really benefit our performance. My team and Jon Schaffer and Ronnie Thompson have been putting in work. Every race we’re getting more info, getting better, so I’m confident in my team and I’m ready to bring what we’ve learned to The Strip.”
ROBERT HIGHT, JOHN FORCE RACING, AUTO CLUB OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (2017 class champion; has won two of three races; No. 1 qualifier in all three; points leader): “It’s pretty awesome to drive a car like this. Sometimes you count your blessings because you don’t know how long it’s going to last, and things change. It really all boils down to hard work. Qualifying No. 1 at the first three races shows we have a really good handle on this race car. We’ve been quick everywhere we’ve been. I really have to give it up to Jimmy Prock and Chris Cunningham, and my Auto Club guys. They’ve really put in the work to make this thing go rounds and I can’t wait to see how it does at the Four-Wide in Las Vegas.”
JOHN FORCE, JOHN FORCE RACING, CHEVROLET ACCESSORIES PEAK CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (has 149 class victories; advanced to semifinals in two of three races; six-time winner at the track): “Each race we’re getting this thing closer and closer to where it needs to be. It’s moving fast so now we just need to go more rounds and get to the final. The PEAK guys have been putting in a lot of hard work and I know it will pay off soon, maybe at The Strip. Win 150 is around the corner for us. Last year’s event was the first for us in the four-wide set up at The Strip and it was fun.”
JEG COUGHLIN JR., ELITE MOTORSPORTS, JEGS.COM/ELITE PERFORMANCE CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (five-time class champion; five-time winner at track; won at Phoenix): “Whenever we go up there to check the track out before a run, I’m always awed by the spectacle of four-wide racing. There’s so much to see, so much going on across four lanes of racing, it just kind of captures you. When you get a chance to just watch, it fills all your senses for sure. This is definitely one of those races the fans will enjoy. I certainly plan to spend some time in the stands.”
GREG ANDERSON, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (four-time class champion; at Gainesville, became fourth driver in all pro classes with 800 round wins): “’m excited that my Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro is coming along. It’s pretty much become the fastest car in the class right now. We’re still learning how to race better on Sunday and close the deal, but we’ll get it. This Chevy has too much potential to waste. We took a big step in Gainesville in terms of performance, and we plan to take another step in Vegas. It’s a big race for us in many ways. It’s (team owner) Ken Black country, and it’s the DENSO Four-Wide Nationals. We’re proud to have DENSO on our Summit Racing Camaros, and we hope to give all of these great folks a reason to celebrate on Sunday.”
JASON LINE, KB RACING, SUMMIT RACING EQUIPMENT CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (has 100 Pro Stock final-round appearances; runner-up in opener): “The KB Racing shop has been busy since we left Gainesville. We want to win every race, but we really want to win Las Vegas, whether we’re racing four-wide or two, so you can bet a lot of effort went into preparing our Summit Racing Chevy Camaros. We’re excited to represent DENSO, and we feel good going into this weekend. It’s different to race four-wide, but we like a challenge.”
BO BUTNER, JIM BUTNER AUTO, JIM BUTNER AUTO SALES CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (2017 class champion; winner of two of three events): “I’ve had a great start, and KB Racing has given me a great Chevy Camaro at every race. I’m looking forward to four-wide, I love it. It’s different. It’s not if, it’s when somebody screws up, if you can hold your composure and not do the same, you’re going to beat them. It’s going to be a fun race.”
CHRIS MCGAHA, HARLOW SAMMONS RACING, HARLOW SAMMONS OF ODESSA CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (qualified fourth at 2018 event; will compete in 144th Pro Stock race): “I really enjoy the four-wide race a lot because I feel like my odds are better. I really believe it’s the future of drag racing. Our Harlow Sammons Silver Bullet is finally showing promise. We are making consistent A to B runs and making improvements on Sunday when it counts.”
MATT HARTFORD, HARTFORD RACING, HOSE CONNECTION CHEVROLET CAMARO SS (runner-up at Phoenix; fifth in championship points): “Racing four-wide certainly creates situations that are outside of the normal weekend. The team that makes the least mistakes and maintains the best focus will probably be holding the Wally on Sunday night. All of our partnerships are so important, and we look forward to seeing their logos in the winner’s circle soon.”