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.