In an opening quad that featured the final-round combatants from the Winternationals — Justin Ashley and Austin Prock — neither of them advanced as both lost traction, which allowed Leah Pruett to forge ahead for the win with a 3.77, and she will be joined in round two by privateer Rob Passey, who picked up his second career round with a 4.07.
Passey, whose chassis is an old Dick LaHaie Murf McKinney unit, scored his first round win last year at the NHRA Arizona Nationals, where he upset low qualifier Doug Kalitta.
Ashley's loss ended the points leader's eight-round win streak — 10 if you count his win in the Mission Challenge in Pomona — and he'll keep the points lead unless Seve Torrence scores a runner-up or better.
The second quad became a trio when snakebitten Krista Baldwin couldn’t stop her car after the burnout, and Mike Salinas raced to the win with a 3.729 with Shawn Langdon on his heels with a 3.77. Clay Millican, who dropped cylinders, finished third,
With just three cars in their quad due to the 15-car field, for Brittany Force, Tony Schumacher, and Antron Brown, the watchwords might well be the old saw, “I don’t have to be quicker than the bear, just quicker than you.” Force took the win light on a holeshot with a 3.785, finishing .004-second ahead of Brown’s 3.780. All three drivers ran 3.78 as Schumacher finished third with a 3.789, continuing his perplexing shutout in four-wide races.
Josh Hart won the final Top Ful quad with a solid 3.768 but six-time four-wides winner Steve Torrence needed a holeshot to finish ahead of Doug Kalitta for second place, 3.814 to 3.806. Buddy Hull, whose car was vexxed in qualifying with a 5.09 best, found the magic for round one with a 3.85 that won’t advance but will leave the team feeling better about their weekend.
Top Fuel semifinal quads (in lane choice order):
Leah Pruett vs. Antron Brown vs. Brittany Force vs. Rob Passey
Mike Salinas vs. Josh Hart vs. Shawn Langdon vs. Steve Torrence
John Force put behind him a forgettable weekend in Pomona with a holeshot victory in the first Funny Car quad, his 3.979 finishing ahead of Alexis DeJoria’s quicker-but-later 3.967. Paul Lee finished third and Jason Rupert fourth, both with traction-troubled passes.
After just one round win in the season’s first three races, Force entered the event sitting 13th in the points standings, the lowest the 16-time champion has ever been after three races, but this will help considerably.
Low qualifier Cruz Pedregon won his first-round quad, and he also did it on a holeshot, his 3.976 finishing ahead of Tim Wilkerson’s 3.963 as both advanced. Steven Densham finished third and Bobby Bode, whose parachutes deployed just off the line, finished fourth.
Matt Hagan, who clocked a 3.997, and Jeff Diehl, who ran a personal event-best 4.00, will advance to the next round of eliminations. The “win” is a balm for Diehl, who had a star-crossed DNQ weekend in Phoenix with Jim Campbell at the wheel and another DNQ with “the Surfer” back behind the butterfly in Pomona.
"This team has earned this, and we needed this," said Diehl. "This was no gimme. We don't want gimmes. This is my father's dream -- I'd rather be riding 70-foot waves -- but he instilled this in me, and he's here, so this is for him and my wife."
Robert Hight was looking to rebound from a first-round loss at the Winternationals that snapped his streak of first-round victories at 24, but the car washed out early and dropped a cylinder early, and finished third. Alex Laughlin finished fourth.
"We're struggling," Hight admitted. "It left and washed out really bad, so i was having to drive right from the get-go, and when it's this hot and you're driving it around, they're not gonna stay stuck."
Chad Green, 2023’s biggest surprise in Funny Car after back-to-back semifinal finishes in Gainesville and Phoenix, rebounded nicely from his tough first-round loss in Pomona — the team accidentally left the throttle stop on after the burnout — to win his quad with a 4.05 and was joined in advancing by Blake Alexander, which left two unexpected drivers – world champ Ron Capps and Bob Tasca III – headed to the trailer early.
Funny Car semifinal quads (in lane choice order):
Alexis DeJoria vs. John Force vs. Matt Hagan vs. Jeff Diehl
Tim Wilkerson vs. Cruz Pedregon vs. Chad Green vs. Blake Alexander
Pro Stock's Troy Coughlin Jr. had first choice in his quad when it came to which lane he would race down, and he used it to his advantage to make a switch just before the first four Pro Stockers reached the waterbox. It paid off as Coughlin won the round with a 6.638 at 207.59. Cristian Cuadra also advanced on a 6.669, 206.10 that edged out eight-time Las Vegas winner Greg Anderson on a holeshot. Anderson's 6.657 was negated by a .032-second reaction time to Cuadra's .009. For Cuadra, the quick start was a positive turn; his average reaction time this season heading into the event was a .069.
Two years ago, Aaron Stanfield was runner-up at this event, and he started off on solid footing as the No. 3 qualifier here this weekend, then raced to a 6.660 in the first round to emerge as the winner of his quad. Deric Kramer's first Pro Stock final was at this race in 2018, and he advanced as runner-up from this round. Chris McGaha will leave Las Vegas hungry after running into trouble almost as soon as he dropped the clutch, and Bo Butner had the best light of the quad – a .025-second reaction time – but was behind by the time the four passed the 60-foot timer.
No. 2 qualifier Dallas Glenn had the second-quickest run of the first round, a 6.636, and utilized it to get the win light, while Steve Graham was the surprise runner-up with a 6.701. For Kyle Koretsky, good fortune seems to have temporarily turned its cheek. In each of the first four races of the season, Koretsky's fate has been determined at the starting line. He was -.017 red. Mason McGaha had high hopes heading into the event as he has made good moves in previous four-wide competition – he reached the final round at each of the last three four-wide races – but after a respectable .033 reaction, he was out of the groove and slowed.
In a battle between powerhouse engine builders KB Titan Racing and Elite Motorsports, one from each umbrella emerged victorious. Elite's Erica Enders emerged from the first round for only the second time this season on a 6.691, and it was to no one's surprise as she is the most winning driver at The Strip. She's also won in both of the last four-wide races held here.
No. 1 qualifier Matt Hartford, who entered the event tied for No. 2 in the Pro Stock points, will carry KB Titan power ahead as he laid down a 6.627 to get the win. Camrie Caruso rattled the tires early and had to get out of it, and Jerry Tucker made a respectable pass that simply wasn't enough.
"When you're racing Erica and Camrie and guys with power like Jerry Tucker, you have to go up there for bear," said Hartford, who made the best run of the entire first round. "You can't lay back and say you're just going to go up there and take a shot at it."
Pro Stock semifinal quads (in lane choice order):
Dallas Glenn vs. Aaron Stanfield vs. Deric Kramer vs. Steve Graham
Matt Hartford vs. Troy Coughlin Jr. vs. Cristian Cuadra vs. Erica Enders
For the second straight round, the quad that included world champ Brittany Force was a threesome instead of first-round upset winner Rob Passey was shut off on the line with an oil leak. The final result was the same as round one as Force won the round with a 3.753 with Antron Brown finishing second at 3.769.Both dropped cylinders but still held off Leah Pruett, who was the odd driver out despite a fine 3.79.
"We're going to work on it and lean it up a little bit because of the weather, but Mark [Oswald] and Brian [Corradi, crew chiefs] and the boys will get it done. Brittany looked like she dropped a hole, too, so it's tricky out here. With the altitude, it doesn't need as much fuel, so we'll work on it and see what we can do in the final."
Brown has the most final-quad appearances among the pro categories in four-wide competition with 10 appearances between the Las Vegas and Charlotte events and a pair of wins in Charlotte (2014 and ’15).
Force is the defending event champ and also scored a four-wide win in Charlotte in 2016.
Steve Torrence, a six-time four-wide winner, had the misfortune of having to follow down the recently restored Lane 4 &mdsash; he had the slowest previous-round e.t. of those in his quad and thus had no ability to pick another lane – nonetheless advanced to the final along with Josh Hart. Both had troubles — Hart running a cylinder-dropping .13 and Torrence a traction-plagued 4.61 — but advanced after Mike Salinas smoked the tires instantly and Shawn Langdon got timed out for not staging in time.
Hart has been in two previous four-wide finals, in Charlotte in 2021 and 2022 with a best finish of third.
Top Fuel final-round quad (in lane choice order): Brittany Force vs. Antron Brown vs. Josh Hart vs. Steve Torrence
Tim Wilkerson and his son, Daniel, crew chief for Chad Green, will be part of the four-car final quad after Wilk’s Scag Power Equipment Ford raced to a seven-cylinder 4.053 to finish ahead of Green’s 4.157. Blake Alexander finished third while low qualifier Cruz Pedregon finished fourth after smoking the tires instantly. Wilkerson has one four-wide win, in Charlotte in 2016, while Green will be in his first four-wide final.
For the second straight round, John Force finished ahead of Alexis DeJoria on a holeshot, but this time it will cost her as it was the difference between second and third in the quad, 4.069 to 4.061. Both, however, finished behind two-time season winner Matt Hagan‘s 3.968. Jeff Diehl finished fourth
With his wins already this season in Gainesville and Pomona, Hagan has now won multiple events in 11 consecutive seasons. That’s the longest active streak in the series and it ties him with Robert Hight and retired Pro Stock driver Warren Johnson for the third-longest in NHRA history. The only drivers who have earned multiple victories in more consecutive seasons are John Force (18 seasons from 1990-2007) and Greg Anderson (12 seasons from 2001-2012).
Hagan, runner-up at this event last year, will be appearing in his seventh career four-wide final looking for his second win and first since Charlotte 2013.
Force, of course, won the first-ever four-wide race, in Charlotte in 2010, and has since added two more four-wide wins including last year in Charlotte, his most recent win on the tour.
Funny Car final-round quad (in lane choice order):
Matt Hagan vs. Tim Wilkerson vs. John Force vs. Chad Green
Dallas Glenn, the incoming points leader, is heading to a second consecutive final on the season after recording a 6.654. He'll be joined by KB Titan Racing teammate Deric Kramer, who advances on a 6.680 paired with a crisp .006 reaction time.
The final will be the third of the four-wide variety for Glenn, who reached the money round at this event last year but finished No. 4 in the quad. For Kramer, it will also be his third four-wide final. He was runner-up at this race in 2018 and finished third in the final quad here in 2021.
And just like that, the No. 1 qualifier is dealt a critical blow. Matt Hartford finishes last in the quad but with the quickest pass of the round. His 6.648 holds no merit after a .077 reaction time, and quad-mate Erica Enders suffers a similar fate as a .078 and 6.715 dash her hopes of a get-well weekend.
Cristian Cuadra was runner-up at this event last year, and his cool demeanor at the starting line comes through with a .006 start and time of 6.685 to advance as second-best of the quad. Troy Coughlin Jr.'s respectable .027 and 6.663 wins the round and sends him ahead to his second final of the season.
Pro Stock final-round quad (in lane choice order):
Dallas Glenn vs. Troy Coughlin Jr. vs. Deric Kramer vs. Cristian Cuadra
CAMPING WORLD SERIES FINAL-ROUND RESULTS
LUCAS OIL SERIES FINAL-ROUND RESULTS
Top Alcohol Dragster -- Tony Stewart, 5.324, 269.62 def. Todd Bruce, 5.332, 270.97 and Chris Demke, 5.355, 270.64 and Mike Coughlin, 5.351, 270.75;
Top Alcohol Funny Car -- Doug Gordon, Chevy Camaro, 5.506, 266.42 def. Ulf Leanders, Camaro, 5.530, 261.57 and Brian Hough, Camaro, 6.564, 118.79 and Jake Guadagnolo, Camaro, 5.670, 248.07;
Competition Eliminator -- Travis Gusso, Chevy Cobalt, 8.792, 154.92 def. Jeff Taylor, Cobalt, 7.115, 185.43.
Super Stock -- Brad Burton, Pontiac Firebird, 9.579, 131.18 def. Trey Vetter, Chevy Cobalt, 9.120, 139.96.
Stock Eliminator -- Kyle Rizzoli, Chevy Camaro, 10.363, 118.83 def. John Gray, Plymouth Demon, 11.187, 113.47.
Super Comp -- Tanner Theobald, Dragster, 9.062, 159.59 def. Doug Johnson, Dragster, 9.019, 172.04.
Super Gas -- Tom Carlson, Chevy Corvette, 10.053, 159.21 def. Mark Philbrick, Ford Mustang, 10.065, 155.04.
Top Dragster -- Mike MacBrair, Dragster, 6.411, 212.06 def. Dan Naylor, Dragster, 6.285, 217.60.