The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Photos courtesy Las Vegas Motor Speedway

NHRA: The Strip at Las Vegas expands to become 4-lane dragstrip

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Like a casino player riding a hot streak, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will soon hold four of a kind in its hands.

LVMS and parent company Speedway Motorsports Inc. officials announced Wednesday that The Strip has embarked on an ambitious construction program to expand the two-lane dragstrip to a four-lane facility.

The enhanced track will mirror that of its sister track, zMAX Dragway, across from Charlotte Motor Speedway.

When completed, The Strip will hold the first four-lane drag race in the Western U.S. on April 4-6, 2018 with the DENSO Nationals.

 

“Four-wide drag racing has captured the interest of race fans and competitors at Charlotte’s zMAX Dragway,” LVMS president Chris Powell said. “It’s exciting to give everyone on the west coast a chance to see what fans back east have experienced for several years now.

“Four-wide drag racing was the vision of our chairman, Bruton Smith, and our chief executive officer, Marcus Smith. They are two of the key reasons that NHRA drag racing has become one of the most popular forms of motorsports in the world.”

The NHRA is fully onboard with the track’s expansion.

“The excitement and sensory overload of four-wide drag racing is one of the most intense displays of motorsports in the country,” NHRA president Peter Clifford said. “We look forward to presenting the four-wide experience to the dedicated NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series fans in Las Vegas and the surrounding states.”

16-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force and 3-time NHRA Top Fuel champ Antron Brown are both looking forward to going four-wide in Vegas.

Force won the first four-wide event at zMAX Dragway in 2010, while Brown is a two-time winner in four-wide competition there.

“I’ve got to give credit to Bruton Smith for investing in the sport of NHRA drag racing,” Force said. “His four-lane in Charlotte gave him two races, one with the two-lane in the Countdown (to the Championship playoffs) and then the four-lane in the spring.

“It only makes sense that when he designed his Vegas track, from day one he planned on four lanes. That will allow those two races to be even more successful. So, good for you Bruton, and thank you from all of us at John Force Racing.”

Added Brown, “It will be a lot of fun going to Las Vegas for a four-wide race. It will give our fans on the West Coast what the East Coast fans have had at Charlotte. It will be a real spectacle with four 11,000-horespower cars launching at the same time.

“That will shake Vegas down. It will be a really cool experience.”

The expansion of The Strip, which has begun, will not impact the Oct. 24-26 Toyota Nationals at The Strip.

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NHRA Las Vegas: Tanner Gray becomes youngest Pro Stock winner; Antron Brown, Tommy Johnson Jr. also win

Photo and videos courtesy NHRA
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Third-generation drag racer Tanner Gray proved Sunday that winning is a family tradition.

Gray became the youngest driver in NHRA history to win a national Pro Stock event final, capturing the Denso Spark Plus Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Gray (6.681 seconds at 206.61 mph) defeated Bo Butner (6.678 seconds at 206.76 mph) in the final round of eliminations to earn the win. Other winners included Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car).

The 17-year-old Gray, who turns 18 on April 15, joins father Shane and grandfather Johnny as NHRA national event winners.

Gray was rather humble in his reaction to the win.

“I can’t thank everybody enough,” Gray said in a media release. “My crew is definitely the reason I’m here. I do a small part. It feels really cool.

“I was pretty nervous. This was something I wanted to do since I was real young and I finally got the opportunity to do it. When I started this deal I told my dad I wanted to be the youngest Pro Stock winner. To be able to do that feels really cool.”

In Top Fuel, two-time defending (and three times in the last five seasons) NHRA champ Antron Brown (3.747 seconds at 321.04 mph) grabbed his first win of the season, defeating teammate Tony Schumacher (3.809 seconds at 325.14 mph).

It was the second straight win at Las Vegas for Brown – who handed Don Schumacher his 300th NHRA win as a team owner – and his 46th career Top Fuel win.

“Today was tough battles,” Brown said. “When you race two of your teammates (Schumacher and Leah Pritchett), you know you got a battle on your hands because you all have the same quality parts.

“And when you go up there you have to throw everything up there. Especially with Tony he hasn’t been an eight-time champion for nothing. Buddy, he knows how to race. We had to push hard.”

With the win, Brown became the first driver in NHRA history to earn at least one victory in 10 consecutive seasons.

In Funny Car, another DSR driver came home with the winning trophy, as Tommy Johnson Jr. (3.933 seconds at 323.66 mph) defeated Jonnie Lindberg (4.016/302.14).

It was Johnson’s first win of the season as well as his first win at Las Vegas since 2001. Meanwhile, Swedish native Lindberg notched his second consecutive runner-up this season.

“Today was a pretty trying today,” Johnson Jr. said. “It was pretty hot. Probably the hottest track we’ve seen this season yet. The guys did a great job. When we came out first round and were low ET by at least three hundredths I thought, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a good day.’ This is just a great facility. When I come in the gate I have a good feeling because I’ve had some success here, a win prior to this, and a couple runner-up finishes.”

The Denso Nationals was the fourth event on the 24-race national event schedule. The series now takes the next two weeks off, returning for the NHRA SpringNationals, April 21-23, at Royal Purple Raceway near Houston, Texas.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Antron Brown; 2.  Tony Schumacher; 3.  Doug Kalitta; 4.  Leah Pritchett; 5.  Terry McMillen; 6.  Steve Torrence; 7.  Brittany Force; 8.  Clay Millican; 9.  Steven Chrisman; 10.  Troy Coughlin Jr.; 11.  Steve Faria; 12.  Troy Buff; 13.  Scott Palmer; 14.  Tripp Tatum; 15.  Terry Haddock.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 2.  Jonnie Lindberg; 3.  John Force; 4.  Gary Densham; 5.  Matt Hagan; 6.  Alexis DeJoria; 7.  Jack Beckman; 8.  Robert Hight; 9.  Jim Campbell; 10.  Tim Wilkerson; 11.  Courtney Force; 12.  Ron Capps; 13.  Phil Burkart; 14.  Del Worsham; 15.  Cruz Pedregon; 16.  J.R. Todd.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Tanner Gray; 2.  Bo Butner; 3.  Jason Line; 4.  Jeg Coughlin; 5.  Erica Enders; 6.  Greg Anderson; 7.  Shane Gray; 8.  Chris McGaha; 9.  Allen Johnson; 10.  Deric Kramer; 11.  Vincent Nobile; 12.  Alan Prusiensky; 13.  Tom Huggins; 14.  Matt Hartford; 15.  Drew Skillman.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL RESULTS:

 Top Fuel: Antron Brown, 3.747 seconds, 321.04 mph def. Tony Schumacher, 3.809 seconds, 325.14 mph.

Funny Car: Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 3.933, 323.66 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Toyota Camry, 4.016, 302.14.

Pro Stock: Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.681, 206.61 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.678, 206.76.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — Clay Millican, 4.057, 230.84 def. Tripp Tatum, 10.253, 77.26; Leah Pritchett, 3.756, 328.30 def. Troy Buff, 5.415, 128.19; Brittany Force, 3.762, 329.26 def. Steve Faria, 4.505, 180.96; Tony Schumacher, 3.767, 327.98 def. Terry Haddock, Broke – No Show; Steve Torrence, 3.765, 324.51 was unopposed; Doug Kalitta, 3.743, 326.40 def. Steven Chrisman, 4.104, 248.48; Terry McMillen, 4.227, 269.03 def. Troy Coughlin Jr., 4.230, 194.32; Antron Brown, 3.752, 325.53 def. Scott Palmer, 5.501, 125.27;

QUARTERFINALS — Schumacher, 3.865, 316.45 def. McMillen, 3.916, 311.70; Pritchett, 3.770, 328.06 def. Force, 4.872, 153.39; Brown, 3.822, 318.24 def. Torrence, 4.035, 276.41; Kalitta, 3.778, no speed def. Millican, 4.913, 153.51;

SEMIFINALS — Schumacher, 3.775, 320.97 def. Kalitta, 3.782, 326.87; Brown, 3.797, 320.89 def. Pritchett, 3.919, 311.20;

FINAL — Brown, 3.747, 321.04 def. Schumacher, 3.809, 325.14.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.036, 312.86 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.801, 173.01; Gary Densham, Mustang, 4.079, 287.29 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 5.118, 153.39; Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.970, 328.54 def. Del Worsham, Toyota Camry, 6.251, 118.97; Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 4.332, 250.37 def. Ron Capps, Charger, 5.607, 125.26; Jack Beckman, Charger, 7.322, 90.06 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, Foul – Red Light; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.943, 320.97 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.714, 181.28; John Force, Camaro, 4.454, 213.64 def. Phil Burkart, Charger, 5.853, 124.97; Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.054, 320.97 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 9.752, 77.54;

QUARTERFINALS — Johnson Jr., 4.068, 268.71 def. Hight, Broke; J. Force, 3.987, 321.81 def. Hagan, 4.043, 318.24; Lindberg, 4.017, 325.37 def. Beckman, 4.096, 312.42; Densham, 4.551, 190.73 def. DeJoria, Foul – Red Light;

SEMIFINALS — Lindberg, 3.991, 318.92 def. Densham, 5.916, 126.78; Johnson Jr., 3.997, 319.45 def. J. Force, 4.128, 282.13;

FINAL — Johnson Jr., 3.933, 323.66 def. Lindberg, 4.016, 302.14.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.703, 207.21 def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.734, 206.07 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.683, 207.11 def. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.785, 205.94; Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.665, 206.51 def. Deric Kramer, Dodge Dart, Foul – Red Light; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.676, 203.31 def. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.721, 205.41; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.659, 206.64 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.827, 177.00; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.673, 205.79 was unopposed; Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 6.747, 206.48 def. Tom Huggins, Dart, 6.842, 202.67;

QUARTERFINALS — Coughlin, 6.751, 206.10 def. McGaha, 20.745, 32.12; Line, 6.695, 206.10 def. S. Gray, 6.732, 205.91; T. Gray, 6.702, 206.57 def. Anderson, 6.717, 206.42; Butner, 6.695, 206.45 def. Enders, 6.713, 206.80;

SEMIFINALS — T. Gray, 6.691, 206.67 def. Line, 6.703, 206.26; Butner, 6.714, 206.42 def. Coughlin, 6.739, 205.10;

FINAL — T. Gray, 6.681, 206.61 def. Butner, 6.678, 206.76.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Tony Schumacher, 382; 2.  Leah Pritchett, 376; 3.  Antron Brown, 357; 4.  Doug Kalitta, 301; 5.  Brittany Force, 258; 6.  Steve Torrence, 251; 7.  Clay Millican, 187; 8.  Troy Coughlin Jr., 176; 9.  Terry McMillen, 164; 10.  Scott Palmer, 148.

Funny Car: 1.  Matt Hagan, 368; 2.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 324; 3.  John Force, 314; 4.  Ron Capps, 275; 5.  Courtney Force, 218; 6.  Jack Beckman, 205; 7.  Robert Hight, 201; 8.  Jonnie Lindberg, 183; 9.  Jim Campbell, 180; 10.  J.R. Todd, 170.

Pro Stock: 1.  Greg Anderson, 380; 2.  Jason Line, 367; 3.  Bo Butner, 299; 4.  Tanner Gray, 296; 5.  Shane Gray, 278; 6.  Jeg Coughlin, 266; 7.  Erica Enders, 219; 8.  Chris McGaha, 193; 9.  Drew Skillman, 190; 10.  Vincent Nobile, 183.

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NHRA: Antron Brown claims Top Fuel championship; John Force earns 147th win

(Photos and videos courtesy NHRA)
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AB equals C – as in Antron Brown clinched his second consecutive NHRA Top Fuel championship and third in the last five seasons Sunday in Las Vegas.

Brown has an insurmountable 157-point lead after the penultimate Toyota NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The final race of the season is in two weeks, the Auto Club Finals, Nov. 10-13, at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, California.

“Brian (Corradi) and Mark (Oswald) and our entire team has worked so hard and I’m just privileged to drive that racecar for Don Schumacher Racing because Don makes it all happen,” Brown said. “When you come to a sport with all this access it makes dreams like mine, a kid from New Jersey, come true. My dad, uncle, everybody, they instilled it in me at a young age, work hard and you can make great things happen.”

With Brown having clinched the title, the battle remains for who will finish runner-up in Top Fuel this season.

In Sunday’s Top Fuel final, Steve Torrence (3.734 seconds at 323.81 mph) defeated J.R. Todd (3.762 at 321.96) for his third win of the season and the eighth of his career.

“It’s been a good weekend all together,” Torrence said. “We kind of struggled the first few races of the countdown and dropped the ball. I mean heck we had to turn it on and come up here and try to do some good. The Capco guys have really stayed focus and stayed driven and done what it took to overcome just some bad luck and a couple screw ups on my part. We have a really good team, we have a championship caliber team, I believe.”

Torrence is currently second in the Top Fuel standings (-157 points behind Brown), followed by Doug Kalitta (-168), Brittany Force (-215), Shawn Langdon (-215), J.R. Todd (-229), Leah Pritchett (-247) and Tony Schumacher (-249).

In Funny Car, 16-time champion John Force (3.884 seconds at 327.19 mph) defeated teammate and daughter Courtney Force (3.906 at 325.85) for his record-extending 147th career win. It was also Force’s fourth win of the season and sixth of his career at Las Vegas.

“I’m really excited,” Force said. “I never like beating my daughter. We got two wins in the Countdown just a little bit late. It’s pretty exciting when I see the stands packed (and) the way NHRA and the way our TV deal has really been hopping, sold out crowds, and so many things going on.

“To be a part of it still at my age (67) is really awesome.”

Ron Capps continued to close in on his first career Funny Car championship. He’ll go to Pomona with an 86-point lead over two-time former champion Matt Hagan and a 113 point edge over Tommy Johnson Jr.

There is a maximum of 130 points to be earned at Pomona, meaning Capps can potentially clinch the title if he reaches the semifinals.

In addition to Hagan and Johnson, also still in contention for runner-up are Jack Beckman, John Force, defending series champion Del Worsham and Courtney Force.

In Pro Stock, Shane Gray – who will step aside from racing in 2017 to let his son drive the family race car – earned his first win of the season and fifth of his career. Gray (6.719 seconds at 204.76 mph) defeated Drew Skillman.

“It was a great weekend,” Gray said. “It was a really good weekend for me. We were talking out there I think I’ve been in nine semis this year and I haven’t won since U.S. Nationals in 2014. It was a great day. I’ve got one more race to run and then my son is getting in the car so I can’t think of a better time to win. Awesome day.”

Jason Line remains in the lead in the point standings, with teammate Greg Anderson a close second, just 19 points behind. Gray is 94 points behind, the last driver eligible to still win the title.

Eliminated Sunday were Vincent Nobile, Skillman, Bo Butner, Chris McGaha and Allen Johnson.

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Louisiana alligator farmer Jerry Savoie is making it a three-way battle for the championship.

Savoie (6.915 seconds at 194.13 mph) defeated defending PSM champ Andrew Hines (fouled) on Sunday to close to within three points of Hines and teammate Eddie Krawiec, who are tied for first place.

Hines and Krawiec each have 2,509 points, while Savoie has 2,506 points. The only other driver still eligible for the championship, although she’s a distant 110 points back, is former champion Angelle Sampey (2,399 points). All other riders have been eliminated.

“To do what we did here, we been working hard,” Savoie said. “Tim (Kulungian) went back to the shop and looked at a bunch of notes, and got on a dyno and an engine we had back home and did some work. It’s like football and anything else, the harder you work, the better you get. It all came together this weekend. No. 1 qualifier every round, and we got a fast motorcycle. It’s going to be very, very interesting when we get to Pomona.”

Here’s the final statistics wrap-up for Sunday’s event:

FINAL FINISHING ORDER:

TOP FUEL: 1.  Steve Torrence; 2.  J.R. Todd; 3.  Leah Pritchett; 4.  Antron Brown; 5.  Clay Millican; 6.  Doug Kalitta; 7.  Wayne Newby; 8.  Brittany Force; 9.  Richie Crampton; 10.  Shawn Reed; 11.  Tripp Tatum; 12.  Terry Haddock; 13.  Terry McMillen; 14.  Tony Schumacher; 15.  Shawn Langdon; 16.  Scott Palmer.

FUNNY CAR: 1.  John Force; 2.  Courtney Force; 3.  Ron Capps; 4.  Matt Hagan; 5.  Del Worsham; 6.  Chad Head; 7.  Jack Beckman; 8.  Cruz Pedregon; 9.  Tommy Johnson Jr.; 10.  Paul Lee; 11.  John Hale; 12.  John Bojec; 13.  Jeff Arend; 14.  Robert Hight; 15.  Tim Wilkerson; 16.  Alexis DeJoria.

PRO STOCK: 1.  Shane Gray; 2.  Drew Skillman; 3.  Greg Anderson; 4.  Jason Line; 5.  Bo Butner; 6.  Chris McGaha; 7.  Alex Laughlin; 8.  Vincent Nobile; 9.  Erica Enders; 10.  Allen Johnson; 11.  Deric Kramer; 12.  Jeg Coughlin; 13.  Matt Hartford; 14.  Shane Tucker; 15.  Kenny Delco; 16.  Aaron Strong.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1.  Jerry Savoie; 2.  Andrew Hines; 3.  Eddie Krawiec; 4.  Matt Smith; 5.  Hector Arana Jr; 6.  LE Tonglet; 7.  Angie Smith; 8.  Cory Reed; 9.  Hector Arana; 10.  Angelle Sampey; 11.  Melissa Surber; 12.  Joey Gladstone; 13.  Karen Stoffer; 14.  Steve Johnson; 15.  Scotty Pollacheck; 16.  Chip Ellis.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL RESULTS:

Top Fuel: Steve Torrence, 3.734 seconds, 323.81 mph  def. J.R. Todd, 3.762 seconds, 321.96 mph.

Funny Car: John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.884, 327.19  def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.906, 325.85.

Pro Stock: Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.719, 204.76  def. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 19.793, 27.72.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.915, 194.13  def. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, Foul – Red Light.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FINAL ROUND-BY-ROUND RESULTS:

TOP FUEL: ROUND ONE — J.R. Todd, 3.752, 324.12 def. Shawn Langdon, 10.405, 82.67; Wayne Newby, 3.836, 313.88 def. Tony Schumacher, 9.603, 74.72; Clay Millican, 3.751, 319.45 def. Terry Haddock, 4.086, 287.66; Leah Pritchett, 3.742, 320.20 def. Shawn Reed, 3.931, 310.41; Doug Kalitta, 3.976, 251.77 def. Scott Palmer, Broke; Antron Brown, 3.765, 323.89 def. Terry McMillen, 6.274, 108.62; Steve Torrence, 3.730, 327.74 def. Richie Crampton, 3.766, 317.19; Brittany Force, 3.772, 321.58 def. Tripp Tatum, 4.005, 238.85;

QUARTERFINALS — Brown, 3.771, 322.11 def. Newby, 3.896, 273.11; Todd, 3.709, 328.94 def. Millican, 3.727, 328.38; Pritchett, 3.816, 279.21 def. Force, 4.303, 223.65; Torrence, 3.732, 324.83 def. Kalitta, 3.739, 324.75;

SEMIFINALS — Torrence, 3.742, 327.59 def. Pritchett, 3.768, 322.96; Todd, 3.719, 329.02 def. Brown, 7.720, 92.29;

FINAL — Torrence, 3.734, 323.81 def. Todd, 3.762, 321.96.

FUNNY CAR: ROUND ONE — John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.906, 326.95 def. John Bojec, Toyota Camry, 5.118, 163.41; Jack Beckman, Dodge Charger, 3.890, 326.95 def. Jeff Arend, Charger, 5.805, 98.91; Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.911, 328.14 def. John Hale, Charger, 4.389, 201.82; Ron Capps, Charger, 3.916, 323.66 def. Paul Lee, Camry, 3.965, 329.34; Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.244, 218.55 def. Robert Hight, Camaro, 6.649, 105.01; Chad Head, Camry, 4.757, 264.55 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 7.027, 125.26; Del Worsham, Camry, 3.923, 327.35 def. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.949, 321.65; Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.888, 327.82 def. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, Broke – No Show;

QUARTERFINALS — J. Force, 3.917, 325.92 def. Head, 4.032, 280.66; Hagan, 3.887, 329.02 def. Worsham, 3.935, 326.71; C. Force, 3.886, 321.73 def. Beckman, 7.852, 78.74; R. Capps, 3.921, 323.43 def. Pedregon, Broke – No Show;

SEMIFINALS — J. Force, 3.928, 330.39 def. Hagan, 6.561, 122.13; C. Force, 3.880, 326.48 def. R. Capps, 3.937, 317.49;

FINAL — J. Force, 3.884, 327.19 def. C. Force, 3.906, 325.85.

PRO STOCK: ROUND ONE — Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.714, 205.01 def. Erica Enders, Dodge Dart, 6.737, 204.54; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 7.408, 138.24 def. Matt Hartford, Camaro, Foul – Red Light; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.676, 206.07 def. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.739, 204.76; Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.698, 205.32 def. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.739, 203.25; Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.707, 205.66 def. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.744, 203.28; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.702, 206.01 def. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.750, 204.70; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.679, 206.01 def. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.783, 202.48; Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.682, 205.82 def. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.757, 203.68;

QUARTERFINALS — Skillman, 6.708, 205.76 def. Nobile, 6.735, 205.19; Gray, 6.702, 205.19 def. Butner, 6.721, 205.26; Anderson, 6.692, 205.60 def. McGaha, 6.725, 205.22; Line, 6.698, 205.76 def. Laughlin, 6.729, 205.29;

SEMIFINALS — Skillman, 6.716, 205.98 def. Line, 14.554, 58.27; Gray, 6.717, 205.22 def. Anderson, 6.730, 206.10;

FINAL — Gray, 6.719, 204.76 def. Skillman, 19.793, 27.72.

PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: ROUND ONE — Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.908, 194.24 def. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 7.116, 185.49; Angie Smith, 7.052, 187.86 def. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.968, 192.77; LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.982, 191.10 def. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light; Cory Reed, Buell, 6.993, 190.32 def. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.978, 191.59; Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.966, 190.94 def. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, Foul – Red Light; Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.995, 192.36 def. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.035, 191.65; Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.937, 193.65 def. Melissa Surber, Buell, 7.019, 189.10; Matt Smith, 6.961, 191.67 def. Chip Ellis, Buell, 7.205, 160.23;

QUARTERFINALS — Savoie, 6.951, 192.58 def. Tonglet, 7.028, 191.81; Hines, 6.985, 190.38 def. A. Smith, 7.057, 189.28; M. Smith, 6.992, 190.81 def. Reed, 7.141, 186.56; Krawiec, 6.948, 193.18 def. Arana Jr, 7.027, 191.16;

SEMIFINALS — Savoie, 6.919, 194.10 def. M. Smith, Foul – Red Light; Hines, 6.968, 193.13 def. Krawiec, 7.014, 191.32;

FINAL — Savoie, 6.915, 194.13 def. Hines, Foul – Red Light.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

UPDATED POINT STANDINGS:

Top Fuel: 1.  Antron Brown, 2,581*; 2.  Steve Torrence, 2,424; 3.  Doug Kalitta, 2,413; 4.  Brittany Force, 2,366; 5.  Shawn Langdon, 2,365; 6.  J.R. Todd, 2,352; 7.  Leah Pritchett, 2,334; 8.  Tony Schumacher, 2,332; 9.  Clay Millican, 2,232; 10.  Richie Crampton, 2,227.

* Clinched Top Fuel Championship

Funny Car: 1.  Ron Capps, 2,546; 2.  Matt Hagan, 2,460; 3.  Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,433; 4.  Jack Beckman, 2,395; 5.  John Force, 2,387; 6.  Del Worsham, 2,373; 7.  Courtney Force, 2,334; 8.  Robert Hight, 2,313; 9.  Tim Wilkerson, 2,262; 10.  Alexis DeJoria, 2,184.

Pro Stock: 1.  Jason Line, 2,532; 2.  Greg Anderson, 2,513; 3.  Shane Gray, 2,438; 4.  Vincent Nobile, 2,394; 5.  Drew Skillman, 2,371; 6.  Bo Butner, 2,369; 7.  Chris McGaha, 2,275; 8.  Allen Johnson, 2,245; 9.  Jeg Coughlin, 2,177; 10.  Erica Enders, 2,167.

Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1.  (tie) Andrew Hines, 2,509; Eddie Krawiec, 2,509; 3.  Jerry Savoie, 2,506; 4.  Angelle Sampey, 2,399; 5.  Chip Ellis, 2,359; 6.  LE Tonglet, 2,340; 7.  Cory Reed, 2,281; 8.  Matt Smith, 2,277; 9.  Hector Arana, 2,245; 10.  Hector Arana Jr, 2,236.

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NHRA: Funny Car driver Alexis DeJoria to once again offer free mammograms to female fans

(Photos courtesy Alexis DeJoria Racing)
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On the racetrack, Alexis DeJoria is fighting hard to earn her first NHRA Funny Car championship.

But off the track, DeJoria is just as passionate about fighting hard to raise awareness about breast cancer, which affects one-in-eight women, according to the American Cancer Society.

For the fourth consecutive year, Alexis DeJoria Racing and the team she races for, Kalitta Motorsports, along with corporate support from Toyota and Patrón Spirits Company, will offer free mammograms to female ticketholders 40 years of age and older attending upcoming NHRA races at Dallas (Oct. 13-16) and Las Vegas (Oct. 27-30).

gn1_1708“Breast cancer awareness is a subject very dear to our hearts,” said DeJoria, driver of the Tequila Patrón Toyota Camry. “Early detection is key, and being proactive is the best way to fight this.”

Several hundred women have already taken advantage of the free screening in the first three years – with several fans that underwent the testing ultimately being diagnosed and able to be treated for breast cancer.

“The last three years with this program have been incredible,” DeJoria said. “Alexis DeJoria Racing is committed to providing free mammograms as long as we are out on the race track. The outpouring of support for this program is astounding.”

Mobile mammography units known as “Mammovans,” provided by Baylor Health (in Texas) and Nevada Health Care Systems (in Las Vegas), will be on-site at both Texas Motorplex (in suburban Ennis) and The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to provide screening for female fans.

In addition, several teams across all levels of NHRA drag racing are expected to add the color pink to their cars or uniforms in a show of support for victims of breast cancer.

DeJoria said one of the major reasons women don’t have regular mammograms is due to the cost, but the screening that will take place in Dallas and Las Vegas will be absolutely free, regardless of an individual’s health insurance status.

DeJoria plans to spend time during the race weekends at the Mammovan sites to welcome and offer “support and share hugs with women whose nerves may be getting the best of them,” the media release noted.

“Don’t be shy, ladies,” encourages DeJoria. “We’ll all be out there supporting each other. We have a great group of women that come out and operate the Mammovans.”

Mammograms will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. No appointment is necessary and insurance or referrals are not needed.

So if your mother/sister/wife or daughter plan to attend either race, DeJoria encourages them to stop by to be screened.

“Each year, we work hard to put the word out about this program and the impact has grown every year,” DeJoria said. “The more people that find out about it, the better.”

For more information, visit AlexisDeJoria.com or visit her Twitter site @ADRnhra

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NHRA: After slow start, Pro Stock champ Erica Enders gets back on right track at Las Vegas

(Photos courtesy Elite Motorsports)
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If Erica Enders had gone one more race like she had in the first three of the 2016 NHRA season, it would not have been a surprise if Elite Motorsports would have printed up some posters:

“Missing: Two-time defending NHRA Pro Stock champ. Best reaction times in the business. Beats all competitors. If you find her, please call.”

Even though Enders never actually was missing, her game was, to the point that some may have wondered if whoever was behind the wheel may be an imposter of the real thing.

Enders uncharacteristically lost in the first round of each of the first three races on the NHRA national event schedule.

When fans looked at the Pro Stock point standings, her name was nowhere to be found in the top 10.

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In effect, Enders couldn’t have gotten off to a worst start.

But then came this past weekend’s race at Las Vegas, and with it came the old Enders, the same driver who dominated the last two seasons en route to the championship.

As if waking up from a long winter’s slumber, Enders roared to life and took her Elite Motorsports/Mopar Dodge all the way to a semifinal finish in Sunday’s final eliminations of the Denso Spark Plus Nationals NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The first sentence in Enders’ post-race media release said it all: “That’s more like it.”

“You find out what real champions are made of when you have to go through a little bit of adversity,” Enders said. “It makes you dig deeper and want it more.

“I don’t know we could possibly want it more than we already do, but my guys are amazing.”

To break through the first round elimination wall, Enders went back to the basics and what took her to the last two Pro Stock championships.

Now, it’s a matter of building upon what happened in Las Vegas and going from there for Enders, who climbed to ninth in the standings. By comparison, she was never lower than seventh in the Pro Stock points in her two championship seasons in 2014 and 2015.

She knows she has a ways to go, but if anyone can do it, Enders can.

“It was really nice to go rounds,” she said. “It felt like it was back to normal. We’re used to going deep into the race on Sunday, and we’re going to get back there.

“We just need a little bit more time. We certainly made strides in the right direction with our engine development program. We have work to do, but a semifinal appearance in Las Vegas was definitely awesome.”

Part of Enders’ slow start could be due to the fact that her team switched from Chevrolet power, which took her to the last two titles, to Dodge power for 2016. And in so doing, it’s not unusual in any form of motorsport to get off to a slow start when switching from one engine or manufacturer to another.

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But the Las Vegas showing is a very promising sign that bigger and better things are coming going forward.

Coming into this past weekend, Enders had won the last four Pro Stock final rounds at Las Vegas.

After qualifying a season-best fifth, she roared past first round foe Aaron Strong and teammate Drew Skillman in the second round before dropping to eventual event winner Jason Line in the third/semifinal round.

Line also defeated Enders in the second round of Saturday’s K&N Horsepower Challenge special race-within-a-race, ending Enders’ streak of two consecutive wins in that event as well.

But Sunday’s performance told a better tale.

“We did a lot better than we expected to today,” said Enders, who is now 18-1 in round wins in national events at Las Vegas with her Elite Motorsports team. “It was a good day, a good points day.

“We’ve got to get back to the shop, fix these awesome Hemis and go to Charlotte (the next race on the schedule) renewed, refreshed and ready to win a race.

“We’re not at the top of the pack, but we’ll keep making strides in the right direction and we’ll get better. It’s just a matter of time until we’re back to our winning ways.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski