2021 NHRA VEGAS FOUR WIDE - EVENT RESULTS
SUNDAY - ENDERS, S. TORRENCE, TASCA III AND OEHLER PICK UP WINS AT DENSO SPARK PLUGS NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS IN LAS VEGAS
Back-to-back world champ Erica Enders went from nearly not qualifying to collecting her first victory of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season, grabbing the Pro Stock win on Sunday at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Bob Tasca III (Funny Car) and Ryan Oehler (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the second race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
In her 300th career start, Enders, a four-time world champ, picked up her 30th career win by going 6.656-seconds at 205.88 mph in the final round in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to beat teammate Aaron Stanfield, Deric Kramer and Mason McGaha. Enders, who won her second straight race at Las Vegas and eighth overall at the facility, slipped into the qualifying field at No. 13 on her last attempt on Saturday, becoming the first Pro Stock competitor to win from 13th since 2006. She stayed perfect over her last six final-round appearances and became the first driver to win a four-wide race from the bottom half of the field.
“I guess today is all about threes,” Enders said. “I really want to give a big thank you to my guys. It is frustrating to go out and shake your butt off (the first two qualifying) rounds. They got down to business today and that’s all that matters. I’m so proud of my team and I freaking love Las Vegas.”
Enders was second in both of the first two quads, using a holeshot to advance in the second round, before the final-round win. Stanfield won his second-round quad and went 6.667 at 205.26 in the finals to finish as runner-up.
In Top Fuel, Torrence capped off a memorable stretch with his fifth four-wide victory, going 3.823 at 321.73 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster in the final round to beat Doug Kalitta, Clay Millican and Antron Brown. It gives Torrence his first victory of 2021 and 41st in his career. The win for Torrence, who has won three straight world titles, comes after celebrating the birth of his first child less than two weeks ago, his birthday on Saturday and his mother’s birthday on Sunday. After qualifying second, Torrence won his first two quads and cruised to the win in the final round against three standout drivers.
“There’s nothing better than being a dad, and happy birthday to my mom, and we had Dom Lagana standing on the starting line with me. There’s a lot of cool stuff that happened today,” Torrence said. “I’m taking my little girl home her very first Wally. We had to work hard to get it done today, but we got it done and I’m proud of it.”
Kalitta finished as the runner-up in the class, going 3.866 at 270.75 in his 106th career final round. He won his first quad and finished second to Torrence in the second round to advance to the finals.
Tasca III picked up his first Funny Car victory in nearly two years and his seventh overall thanks to a run of 3.938 at 328.46 in his 11,000-horsepower Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang in the finals. In a loaded Funny Car final, Tasca outlasted defending world champ Matt Hagan, Tim Wilkerson and Ron Capps, narrowly slipping past Hagan at the finish line. Tasca also earned his first career four-wide win in the process, with it coming on the weekend where the Ford Mustang celebrated its 57th birthday.
“It’s so special. My dad hasn’t been out here in a long time and it’s great to have him out here,” Tasca said. “Happy birthday to Mustang, and I’m so privileged to be able to drive the quickest and fastest Mustang on the planet, so thank you to Ford.”
Hagan went 3.955 at 324.98 to finish as the runner-up. He was second in the first-round quad and won his second-round quad to move to his 66th final. Wilkerson’s 3.922 at 320.43 was the quickest run of the final round, but Tasca and Hagan were both quicker on the starting line.
Oehler was in a celebratory mood after earning his second career Pro Stock Motorcycle victory on his Flyin’ Ryan Racing EBR, going 6.911 at 194.83 in the final round to beat Cory Reed, Steve Johnson and a red-lighting Scotty Pollacheck. He overcame significant adversity throughout the weekend to gain his first four-wide victory, winning his first-round quad and finishing second a round later to Johnson to move to the final round. Oehler, who earned his first career win last season, was impressive in the final round, posting a great reaction time and picking up the strong wire-to-wire win.
“We started the weekend off in the sand at the end of the track and round one, we basically ruined the engine,” Oehler said. “We changed motors and made a rapid turnaround, and I can’t thank my family, my team, my crew and my sponsors enough. This is awesome. We got our second Wally and there’s going to be more.”
Reed finished as the runner-up after going 6.948 at 193.10, advancing to his second career final round. He took second in all three quads on Sunday.
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series returns to action April 30-May 2 with the Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway, marking the final event at the facility.
SATURDAY - FORCE, HIGHT, ANDERSON, SMITH EARN NO. 1 QUALIFIERS AT NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS
Brittany Force made her last Top Fuel qualifying run count in a major way on Saturday, powering to the No. 1 spot at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Robert Hight (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified No. 1 in their respective categories at the second race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
Force, who sat out the bulk of the 2020 NHRA season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, jumped to the top spot with a run of 3.732-seconds at 320.66 mph in her 11,000-horsepower Flav-R-Pac dragster. It came during the final qualifying session and gives the former world champ her first No. 1 qualifier of the year and the 21st in her career. She’ll face off with Antron Brown and Justin Ashley to open eliminations. Steve Torrence was bumped to the second position after his run of 3.741 at 328.94 from Friday and Doug Kalitta moved up to third in the final session with his pass of 3.743 at 314.83.
“It just shows this team has picked up right where we left off,” said Force, who won the fall race at Vegas in 2019. “We had a long time being away from the races, and coming back to Gainesville, we found our routine pretty quickly. Coming here and taking this No. 1 qualifier (spot), we’re excited and pumped. Thank you to David Grubnic, Mac Savage, and all of these Flav-R-Pac guys. We want to go out and win this thing. That’s our focus tomorrow, winning this thing and bringing home our first win of the season.”
Hight helped make it a clean sweep in nitro qualifying for John Force Racing, blasting to the No. 1 position in Funny Car by going 3.882 at 331.85 in his 11,000-horsepower Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS in the final qualifying quad on Saturday. Alexis DeJoria had bumped Hight out of the top spot, but the veteran standout moved back to No. 1 with his stellar run moments later, earning his 69th career No. 1 qualifier. He’ll be joined by Cruz Pedregon, J.R. Todd and Jonnie Lindberg in the opening round of eliminations. John Force jumped DeJoria as well, finishing No. 2 with his run of 3.898 at 330.72, while DeJoria’s 3.912 at 321.04 puts her in the third spot.
“(Crew chief) Jimmy Prock has called every single run we’ve made this weekend,” said Hight, a five-time Vegas winner. “They have this Auto Club Chevrolet working great. We’ve got to go three rounds tomorrow and I think we’re in a good position to do that.”
Anderson continued his dominant start to the 2021 Pro Stock season, taking the No. 1 spot for the second straight race thanks to his run of 6.638 at 205.85 in his DENSO Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro. It also gives the four-time world champ his 108th career No. 1 qualifier. Anderson will try for his second straight victory as well on Sunday and will be part of an opening-round quad that includes Fernando Cuadra, Val Smeland and Aaron Stanfield. Matt Hartford qualified second with his 6.650 at 205.01 and Kyle Koretsky jumped to the third spot on his final pass with a 6.651 at 205.38, but Anderson remained a step ahead of everyone.
“We’re on a roll and the car is making beautiful runs,” said Anderson, who has eight career wins in Las Vegas. “We had a great weekend in Gainesville and so far this weekend, the car has made three flawless runs, and in front of (team owner) Ken Black. That’s what is important to me. We’re on his home turf and I love racing out here. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow. So far, so good and this Denso Chevy has been on point, so let’s see if we can close the deal.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, provisional No. 1 qualifier M. Smith simply got better on Saturday, claiming the No. 1 spot with his impressive pass of 6.890 at 196.59 on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/Matt Smith Racing EBR. That gives Smith, the defending world champ, his 44th career No. 1 qualifier and in an ideal position to win his second straight race to open 2021. His first-round opponents are Ryan Oehler and Karen Stoffer. Matt’s wife, Angie, remained in the second spot with her 6.909 at 195.51 and she will look to win in Vegas for the second straight race. Steve Johnson qualified third with a 6.935 at 191.57.
“All in all, we just wanted to show how good we are, this DENSO motorcycle at this DENSO race. That’s what it’s all about,” Smith said. “Everybody who helps us, we really appreciate it.”
Eliminations at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals begin at noon PT on Sunday. Television coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 (FS1).
First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the 21st annual DENSO Spark Plug NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the second of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.
Top Fuel -- 1. Brittany Force, 3.732 seconds, 325.53 mph vs. Bye vs. vs. 8. Antron Brown, 3.808, 314.83 vs. 9. Justin Ashley, 3.821, 301.20; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.741, 328.94 vs. 15. Cameron Ferre, 6.305, 107.62 vs. 7. Leah Pruett, 3.800, 312.13 vs. 10. Greg Carrillo, 3.827, 321.04; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.743, 314.83 vs. 14. Rob Passey, 5.968, 117.96 vs. 6. Shawn Langdon, 3.785, 310.05 vs. 11. Troy Buff, 3.849, 299.66; 4. Clay Millican, 3.759, 323.12 vs. 13. Todd Paton, 5.272, 134.90 vs. 5. Billy Torrence, 3.769, 326.56 vs. 12. Jim Maroney, 4.014, 305.98.
Funny Car -- 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.882, 331.85 vs. 16. Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 4.384, 288.58 vs. 8. Cruz Pedregon, Dodge Charger, 3.960, 323.50 vs. 9. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.980, 325.14; 2. John Force, Camaro, 3.898, 330.72 vs. 15. Chris Morel, Charger, 4.183, 270.21 vs. 7. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.946, 325.22 vs. 10. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 3.996, 317.94; 3. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.912, 321.04 vs. 14. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.159, 299.06 vs. 6. Chad Green, Mustang, 3.929, 324.05 vs. 11. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.998, 314.24; 4. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.919, 323.89 vs. 13. Bobby Bode, Mustang, 4.097, 269.94 vs. 5. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.923, 329.10 vs. 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.090, 308.71.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Jeff Diehl, 4.525, 202.58; 18. Alex Miladinovich, 4.821, 189.60; 19. Steven Densham, 14.954, 889.91.
Pro Stock -- 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.638, 205.85 vs. 16. Fernando Cuadra, Ford Mustang, 6.725, 203.95 vs. 8. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.667, 205.94 vs. 9. Aaron Stanfield, Camaro, 6.671, 205.66; 2. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.650, 205.01 vs. 15. Cristian Cuadra, Mustang, 6.715, 204.51 vs. 7. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.662, 205.26 vs. 10. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.676, 205.41; 3. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.651, 205.38 vs. 14. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.697, 204.76 vs. 6. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.659, 206.29 vs. 11. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.679, 204.91; 4. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.655, 205.63 vs. 13. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.693, 205.07 vs. 5. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.656, 204.91 vs. 12. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.680, 206.26.
Did Not Qualify: 17. Fernando Cuadra Jr., 6.735, 203.86; 18. Alan Prusiensky, 6.780, 205.38.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.890, 196.59 vs. Bye vs. vs. 8. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.980, 192.74 vs. 9. Cory Reed, Suzuki, 7.034, 191.81; 2. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.909, 195.51 vs. Bye vs. vs. 7. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.953, 193.68 vs. 10. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.074, 190.03; 3. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.935, 192.77 vs. Bye vs. vs. 6. Chip Ellis, Harley-Davidson, 6.949, 193.54 vs. 11. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 7.134, 189.68; 4. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.939, 195.17 vs. 13. David Barron, EBR, broke vs. 5. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 6.946, 193.65 vs. 12. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.399, 179.18.
Robert Hight put together a standout performance in Funny Car on Friday, racing to the provisional No. 1 spot in NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series action at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Aaron Stanfield (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the second race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
It is also the first four-wide race in the NHRA in two years and Hight didn’t waste any time jumping to the top spot, powering to a run of 3.922-seconds at 327.59 mph in his 11,000-horsepower Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS. If it holds, it would be his 69th career No. 1 qualifier. After racing to the runner-up spot at the season-opener in Gainesville, Hight was motivated to get back to racing in Las Vegas and that was apparent on Friday.
“I’m glad we’re back finally running a schedule that’s a little more normal,” Hight said. “A month off after a runner-up finish is not much fun because, honestly, I lost that as a driver in the final. J.R. (Todd) did a better job (in the final round at Gainesville), I’ve thought about it 1,000 times in my mind, and I’m ready to get back out there and start racing and redeem myself.”
Defending world champ Matt Hagan claimed the No. 2 spot on Friday with a run of 3.946 at 325.22 and John Force is currently third after going 3.954 at 324.75.
Steve Torrence rocketed to the No. 1 position in Top Fuel with a run of 3.741 at 328.94 in his 11,000-horsepower Capco Contractors dragster in the final quad of the day. If it holds, it would give Torrence, who has won three straight Top Fuel world titles, the top spot for the second consecutive race and the 29th time in his standout career. Clay Millican sits second, seeking his first career four-wide victory, with a 3.788 at 321.58, while Shawn Langdon is third with his 3.796 at 310.05.
In Pro Stock, rising star Aaron Stanfield led the way and looks to track down his first career No. 1 qualifier in the class. Stanfield, who picked up his first career win in Pro Stock late last year, went 6.671 at 205.66 in his Janac Brothers Racing Chevrolet Camaro to make the top run on Friday, putting him in prime position to finish in the top spot for the first time in his young career. Points leader Greg Anderson, who won the opening race of the season, is currently second after going 6.683 at 205.01 and second-year driver Mason McGaha is a spot behind with his run of 6.686 at 205.41 in the same quad.
It was the Matt and Angie Smith show in Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying on Friday, as M. Smith took the top spot and his wife followed in second. It’s an ideal start for both considering it is their sponsor’s race, and M. Smith continues to impress to open his 2021 campaign. The defending world champ started the year with a win in Gainesville and ran well on his Denso Auto Parts/Stockseth/Matt Smith Racing EBR in Las Vegas, going 6.891 at 195.96. If it holds up, it would give M. Smith his first top qualifier of the year and the 44th in his standout career. A. Smith, who won in Vegas to close out the 2020 season, is currently second with a run of 6.909 at 195.51, and teammate Scotty Pollacheck is third thanks to his 6.939 at 195.17.
Qualifying continues Saturday at the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at 1:00 p.m. PT.
Results Friday after the first one of three rounds of qualifying for the 21st annual DENSO Spark Plug NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, second of 22 events in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday's final eliminations.
Top Fuel -- 1. Steve Torrence, 3.741 seconds, 328.94 mph; 2. Clay Millican, 3.788, 321.58; 3. Shawn Langdon, 3.796, 310.05; 4. Billy Torrence, 3.800, 323.04; 5. Justin Ashley, 3.821, 301.20; 6. Greg Carrillo, 3.827, 317.49; 7. Antron Brown, 3.840, 314.83; 8. Leah Pruett, 3.938, 260.51; 9. Jim Maroney, 4.014, 305.98; 10. Troy Buff, 4.667, 163.95; 11. Brittany Force, 5.067, 133.74; 12. Todd Paton, 5.272, 134.90; 13. Cameron Ferre, 6.305, 107.62.
Not Qualified: 14. Doug Kalitta, DQ'ed.
Funny Car -- 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.922, 327.59; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.946, 325.22; 3. John Force, Camaro, 3.954, 324.75; 4. Cruz Pedregon, Charger, 3.960, 323.50; 5. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 3.963, 325.77; 6. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.980, 325.14; 7. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.998, 314.24; 8. Blake Alexander, Mustang, 4.049, 273.33; 9. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.089, 264.49; 10. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.090, 305.49; 11. Chad Green, Mustang, 4.122, 300.86; 12. Terry Haddock, Mustang, 4.159, 299.06; 13. Chris Morel, Charger, 4.183, 270.21; 14. Bobby Bode, Mustang, 4.608, 178.50; 15. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 5.147, 157.71; 16. Ron Capps, Charger, 6.844, 98.23.
Not Qualified: 17. Alex Miladinovich, 7.732, 86.31; 18. Jeff Diehl, 9.574, 64.91; 19. Steven Densham, 18.483, 889.91.
Pro Stock -- 1. Aaron Stanfield, Chevy Camaro, 6.671, 205.66; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.683, 205.01; 3. Mason McGaha, Camaro, 6.686, 205.41; 4. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.686, 205.22; 5. Aaron Strong, Camaro, 6.689, 204.79; 6. Troy Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.696, 204.39; 7. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.705, 205.22; 8. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.705, 205.01; 9. Kyle Koretsky, Camaro, 6.707, 204.85; 10. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.712, 205.41; 11. Fernando Cuadra Jr., Ford Mustang, 6.735, 203.86; 12. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.740, 204.76; 13. Dallas Glenn, Camaro, 6.756, 204.42; 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 7.180, 157.95; 15. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 15.942, 63.27; 16. Erica Enders, Camaro, 16.321, 79.69.
Not Qualified: 17. Cristian Cuadra, 16.643, 48.28; 18. Fernando Cuadra, 23.024, 30.91.
Pro Stock Motorcycle -- 1. Matt Smith, EBR, 6.891, 195.96; 2. Angie Smith, EBR, 6.909, 195.51; 3. Scotty Pollacheck, EBR, 6.939, 195.17; 4. Ryan Oehler, EBR, 6.953, 193.24; 5. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.962, 192.77; 6. Chip Ellis, Harley-Davidson, 6.970, 193.54; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.985, 192.74; 8. Cory Reed, Suzuki, 7.070, 191.81; 9. Freddie Camarena, Suzuki, 7.134, 189.68; 10. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 7.515, 178.24; 11. Angelle Sampey, Suzuki, 7.880, 187.86; 12. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 10.710, 96.35.