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Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Saturday preview

After a single opening salvo Friday, teams from the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series will get two shots at the four-wide Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to try to secure a spot in their respective fields and to get a feel for two of the three lanes they didn’t run on Friday.
17 Apr 2021
Phil Burgess, NHRA National Dragster Editor
Race coverage
Las Vegas

After a single opening salvo Friday, teams from the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series will get two shots at the four-wide Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to try to secure a spot in their respective fields and to get a feel for two of the three lanes they didn’t run on Friday.

With only three qualifying sessions and four lanes, some teams will enter raceday without a run in the lane they’re stuck in if they don; have a high lane choice.

Making the field won’t be an issue in either Top Fuel or Pro Stock Motorcycle, which sport 15 and 13 entries, respectively, but the fight for the No. 1 spot in Top Fuel will be crucial as the polesitter, as well as the No. 8 and 9 qualifiers, will race in a three-car quad in the first round. Four-wide killer Steve Torrence, who’s won four of the last five four-wide events, enters Saturday as the No. 1 qualifier.

Past world champ Robert Hight leads the Funny Car field, where the top seven drivers Friday all ran in the three-second zone. With 19 cars on the grounds, there will be a fight of the 16 spots. A trio of Californian independents -- Alex Miladinovich, Jeff Diehl, and Steven Densham – currently are on the outside looking in.

Pro Stock boasts 18 entries, so there will be some shuffling and scrambling in the factory hot rod class in the final two sessions. Aaron Stanfield leads the field with a 6.671 but five drivers on his tail trail by less than two-hundredths of a second.

Reigning world champ Erica Enders didn’t make it down the track Friday and enters Saturday on the bump spot but probably won’t stay there long with the father-son combo of Fernando and Cristian Cuadra as the two non-qualified drivers.

The other gasoline-fueled world champ, Pro Stock Motorcycle king Matt Smith, leads the two-wheeled contingent after Friday’s lone pass with a 6.891, the only run in the 6.80s. Teammates Angie Smith, winner of the fall season-ending las Vegas event last year, and U.S. Nationals champ Scotty Pollacheck sit in the next two spots. If they stay there, they also will only have to fend off one rival in their three-bike first-round pairing to advance.

You can catch the action all weekend on FOX Sports 1 and NHRA.tv.

You can follow NHRA on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram to get a closer look at the action.

TELEVISION SCHEDULE:

Sunday, April 18, FS1 will televise qualifying coverage from 10 to 11 a.m. (ET)
Sunday, April 18, FS will televise final eliminations from 8-11 p.m. (ET)