Historically, this is the part of the season where things start to get interesting. Now that we’ve had three events, we’re starting to get a feel for who’s who in each of the Camping World series pro categories but now comes the potential monkey wrench; the first of back-to-back Four Wide races.
It's understood that some racers love Four Wide racing and others simply tolerate it, but wins are wins and points are points and everyone who is entered this week in Las Vegas is looking for as many as they can get.
Justin Ashley, Matt Hagan, and Dallas Glenn each come to Las Vegas as the points leaders and not surprisingly, they are among the favorites in their respective eliminators. As difficult as it may be, we’ve taken our best shot at predicting this weekend’s winners. Here goes:
The favorite: We could go a number of ways here and actually feel good about any of them but we’re going to with Steve Torrence based largely on his past success at Four Wide races. Torrence won the Vegas Four Wide race in 2021 and was a runner-up to Brittany Force so he’s clearly not intimidated by the whole concept of quad racing.
Torrence is off to a solid start this season including a final round showing at the Gainesville season-opener and he’s just 45 points behind Ashley in the standings. The Capco team could easily win this race and emerge as the championship leaders.
The contenders: Top Fuel is so stacked right now it’s hard to single out one, or even three or four possible contenders. Certainly, Justin Ashley merits a lot of consideration since he’s won the last two events, but his lack of success in Four Wide races last season gave the nod to Torrence.
Brittany Force is the defending Las Vegas Four-Wide champ and she’s coming off a disappointing outing that the Monster/Flav-R-Pac team will want to quickly put behind them. The same goes for Doug Kalitta, who has shown early promise, but is still looking for his elusive 50th win. We also like Mike Salinas’ chances since he is also off to a soldi start despite a pair of quarterfinal losses at the last two events.
The dark horse: Austin Prock seems overdue for a win doesn’t he? Prock and his Montana Brands team have managed to put together five round wins in the first three races even though their qualifying results have not been what they’d hoped for.
Steve Torrence Capco Contractors 4-1
Justin Ashley Phillips Connect 5-1
Brittany Force Monster Energy 6-1
Mike Salinas Scrappers 6-1
Doug Kalitta Mac Tools 7-1
Antron Brown Matco Tools 8-1
Leah Pruett Dodge Power Brokers 8-1
Austin Prock Montana Brands 9-1
Josh Hart R+L Carriers 10-1
Clay Millican Parts Plus 12-1
The favorite: Last week we pegged Matt Hagan to win in Pomona and he came through with flying colors. Just because we’re at a different venue with a different format, there is no reason to think the Dodge Power Brokers team can’t come through again. Hagan has won two of the first three events and he’s solidly in the championship lead. Even though we’ve only completed three of 21 events, he’s clearly established himself as a favorite.
The contenders: Ron Capps has been to a pair of final rounds so he’s clearly in the mix and the same goes for Robert Hight, the Phoenix winner. Last year, we wrote quite a bit about the big three (Hagan, Capps, and Hight) but that’s not really the case any longer (if it ever was) We’ve now got to count Bob Tasca III, Alexis DeJoria, J.R. Todd, and even Cruz Pedregon in the mix.
Todd will be one to watch this weekend as the DHL Toyota team is coming off a dreadful Pomona event that included a two-car accident with John Force during qualifying and a body-destroying explosion in round one. A solid showing here would quickly help them put the whole incident behind them.
The dark horse: You want a real darkhorse this weekend? How about Alex Laughlin? We know, he’s got just three races worth of experience in a nitro Funny Car and has just one round win to show for it but clearly he’s a quick learner and his recent 3.99 best says a lot about the progress the Dunn team has made lately. Besides, aren’t Four Wide races where the really big upsets often occur?
Matt Hagan Dodge Power Brokers Dodge 3-1
Ron Capps NAPA Toyota 4-1
Robert Hight Flav-R-Pak Chevy 5-1
Bob Tasca III Motorcraft Ford 6-1
Alexis DeJoria Bandero Toyota 7-1
J.R. Todd DHL Toyota 7-1
Cruz Pedregon Snap-on Dodge 8-1
Tim Wilkerson SCAG Mowers Ford 9-1
John Force Peak/Blu Def Chevy 10-1
Chad Green Bondcoat Ford 11-1
The favorite: This is where things get a bit tricky for the good ‘ole Tipster. It’s no secret that Erica Enders has struggled out of the gate this season with just one round win in three races but it’s equally as important to note that her record in Las Vegas is just about unmatched by and driver in any class. Enders has won eight times at the famed Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, including the last two Spring Four-Wide races. It might be a bit of a gamble, but we’re going to ride with the reigning world champion one more time but hey, what’s a trip to Las Vegas without a bit of gambling?
The Contenders: It’s easy enough to label Troy Coughlin Jr., Camrie Caruso, and Dallas Glenn as contender since they’ve each won a race so far this season. There is no reason to think that any of them won’t win again. That same logic applies to Aaron Stanfield, Matt Hartford and even Bo Butner, who have also gotten off to strong starts this season.
It would also be wise to give some consideration to Greg Anderson, since he’s capable of winning any time and any place and also has a solid record in Las Vegas, the hometown of his former team owner Ken Black. Let’s also throw in Mason McGaha since he went to a final round in Gainesville.
The darkhorse: Sometimes Tipster has to recognize that there are a few drivers who don’t get the credit they deserve and one name that immediately comes to mind is Kyle Koretsky. The second-generation racer isn’t off to a bad start necessarily, he’s just been on the receiving end of some bad luck, most notably last week in Pomona where he lost a tough 6.550 to 6.550 race against Troy Coughlin Jr., in round one.
Erica Enders JGH/Elite Camaro 3-1
Dallas Glenn RAD Torque Systems Camaro 4-1
Camrie Caruso Powerbuilt Camaro 5-1
Troy Coughlin Jr. JEGS.com Camaro 6-1
Matt Hartford Total Seal Camaro 7-1
Aaron Stanfield Janac Bros/J3 Energy Camaro 7-1
Greg Anderson Hendrick Cars.com Camaro 8-1
Kyle Koretsky Lucas Oil/NitroFish Camaro 8-1
Bo Butner JHG Camaro 9-1
Mason McGaha Harlow Sammons Camaro 10-1
Cristian Cuadra Jr. Corral Boots Mustang 11-1