This has been a long time coming for Top Fuel driver Greg Carrillo.

After not racing since July 21, 2019, mainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carrillo will finally return to the track at NHRA’s Denso Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals at the Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, April 16-18.

“I didn’t want to go through all this work and get people going like we did last year (2020) for Denver and you get everybody ready to go and you get sponsorship and you put all that work and effort into it and then the next thing you know, there’s no race,” Carrillo said. “I don’t want to put all this work into it and have nothing. 

“We were going to test, hopefully in Phoenix, but that never materialized. We weren’t sure what we were going to do. Finally, I said if they have the Vegas race, we will use that as our test session. That way if I have a sponsor and they don’t have the race I don’t have to tell them we are not running. I will tell you it is hard to sell sponsorship when you have 30 percent fans or 50 percent fans at an event.”

When Carrillo shows up in Vegas, he has far more in mind that test laps.

“We are viewing it as a test session and I will get to do the Four-Wide for the first time, but we are going there to win,” Carrillo said. “We only have three runs on our car. We have a brand-new car we never got to run because of COVID-19. We want to go to Vegas and try and lay down some numbers. The whole team is champing at the bit. We are ready.”

Glenn Mikres and Aaron Brooks will be heading up Carrillo’s crew in Las Vegas.

“We are excited to have Glenn and Aaron with us,” Carrillo said. “We are pumped up and ready to go. Those guys (with the bigger teams) want to kick the little guy around and we are coming back with a punch. We are going to make them earn it.”

Carrillo said he also plans to compete at the Mile-High Nationals in Denver (July 16-18), and the U.S. Nationals in Indianapolis (Sept. 1-5).

“We will see if we also will run in Las Vegas (Oct. 29-31) and Pomona, (Calif., Nov. 11-14),” he said. 

In 2019, Carrillo competed in the one national event at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., outside of Denver.

Carrillo qualified No. 11 with a 4.125-second run and lost in round one to Antron Brown of Don Schumacher Racing. Brown clocked a 3.867-second time at 321.27 mph to edge Carrillo’s 3.920-second lap at 275.62 mph.