For the first time in two years, four-wide NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series racing, the sport’s ultimate thrill ride, will return to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals on April 16-18.
It is the second race of the 2021 season, and anticipation is high for one of the biggest spectacles in the sport. The COVID-19 pandemic caused four-wide races in Las Vegas and Charlotte to be canceled in 2020, but the thrilling showcase of four 11,000-hp nitro-burning machines powering down the track simultaneously has returned in 2021.
Fans are also excited for the event, as all grandstand tickets have been sold for the highly anticipated weekend. State and local officials allowed the track to host fans at 50% capacity for the first of two NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series events at the famed Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Clay Millican, Top Fuel veteran, who pilots the 11,000-hp Denso/Parts Plus dragster is one of many thrilled for the return of four-wide racing as well, especially since his sponsor is also the event sponsor.
“I’ve worked with Denso for many years, and they’ve always been great, and it’s cool when one of the sponsors is the race sponsor,” Millican said. “It also would be cool to have a Denso trophy with a Denso car. That would check off all the boxes and make the weekend even more special. Having more people at this race, I’m really looking forward to it."
All the top stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle will look to grab early-season momentum at the fan-favorite event that provides one of the most unique experiences in motorsports. Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), J.R. Todd (Funny Car), Bo Butner (Pro Stock), and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were winners of the 2019 four-wide event. This year’s race will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including finals coverage starting at 8 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 18.
Two years ago, Salinas earned his first career Top Fuel victory by winning the four-wide race in Las Vegas. He would love to repeat that, but it won’t be easy against the likes of Millican, who advanced to the final quad at that event, Steve Torrence, the three-time world champ who won the inaugural four-wide race in Vegas, Brittany Force, Antron Brown, Leah Pruett, Shawn Langdon, Doug Kalitta, Billy Torrence, and Justin Ashley.
In Funny Car, the four-wide race in Vegas has been a great event for Todd, and the 2018 world champ is off to a strong start after winning the opener in Gainesville. Todd has won both four-wide races at the track and will look for his second straight in 2021 against what is a loaded Funny Car field. John Force Racing is back to racing after not competing for most of 2020, with Robert Hight advancing to the final round in Gainesville and legendary John Force turning in a solid showing. Others to watch include defending world champ Matt Hagan, Ron Capps, Alexis DeJoria, Tim Wilkerson, Bob Tasca III, and Cruz Pedregon.
Whoever wins in Pro Stock will grab their first career four-wide victory in Las Vegas, and four-time champ Greg Anderson is certainly among the favorites. He’s always performed well at the spectacular facility and advanced to the final quad of the 2019 race. Anderson also has momentum after winning in Gainesville to earn his 95th career win, but he’ll face plenty of challenges. It starts with back-to-back world champ Erica Enders, who won in Vegas to close out the 2020 season and also includes Troy Coughlin Jr., Alex Laughlin, Aaron Stanfield, Fernando Cuadra Jr., Kyle Koretsky, Deric Kramer, and Mason McGaha.
Pro Stock Motorcycle took part in four-wide racing at Las Vegas for the first time in 2019, with Hector Arana Jr. earning the victory. Things have recently belonged to the Smith family in the class, as Angie closed out the 2020 campaign with a win in the class. Her husband, reigning world champ Matt Smith, followed by opening 2021 with a victory in Gainesville, impressively starting his title defense. Others to watch in the two-wheeled class include three-time world champ Angelle Sampey, Jerry Savoie, Ryan Oehler, Steve Johnson, Scotty Pollacheck, Karen Stoffer, and Joey Gladstone.
The race also includes thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where future stars of the sport hone their skills. The drivers in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car will also race in a four-wide format for the first time in class history. After qualifying on both days, fans can watch the thrilling Lucas Oil “Muy Caliente” jet car. Jet cars are thrust-driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 3:30 p.m. PT on Friday, April 16, with the two final rounds slated for 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 17. Final eliminations are scheduled for noon on Sunday, April 18. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, April 16, and eliminations beginning at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 18 on FS1.