LAS VEGAS – As the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to Las Vegas for the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, April 5-7 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro team of Greg Anderson and Jason Line are ready to hit the jackpot for their sponsor and Las Vegas-based team owner Ken Black.
“Las Vegas has been very good to us,” Anderson said. “It’s always very important for us to do well there, it’s our team owner Ken Black’s home track, and this race is particularly special because it’s sponsored by Summit Racing Equipment.”
Two-time world champion Line and four-time world champion Anderson are determined to get their winning ways back on track at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals, which will be televised on ESPN2HD. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) are the defending winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.
Line, who won there for the first time in 2008, wants nothing more than to get out of their winless drought in the ultra-competitive class. He says he will be pushing hard to perform well at the Summit-sponsored race.
“We’ve been in a little bit of a slump lately,” Line said. “Things could be worse, but they certainly could be better. We do feel a sense of urgency to improve, and thankfully we have good people here on this Summit Racing team, and we’re going to be pulling out of this slump that we’ve been in very soon. This weekend would be a great place to do it.”
Anderson, who is a three-time winner at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals with his most recent victory there coming in 2007, says the Vegas event is a pivotal race for the team and the pressure is building to come out on top this season.
“We have always wanted to do well in Las Vegas for so many reasons,” Anderson said. “Without a doubt, it’s time for KB Racing to step up to the plate. It’s time to put up or shut up. We haven’t gotten off to a great start this year, but it’s time. We want to win on Saturday (in the K&N Horsepower Challenge) and get the Wally on Sunday. We want to come through for Ken Black and for Summit Racing Equipment and make them proud.”
The lucrative K&N Horsepower Challenge bonus event also takes center stage on Saturday, and the Summit Racing boys want to see their Camaros win the special race-within-in-a-race bonus event that will pay the winner $50,000. Anderson is a four-time Challenge winner while Line, a three-time runner-up, is ready to check it off his list.
“It’s [K&N Horsepower Challenge] way up there on the list of things I want to accomplish in my career,” Line said. “We certainly appreciate the K&N folks, not only for the good product that they make, but also that they’re willing to put on that race for the Pro Stock cars. Someone is going to win that title, and hopefully it will be one of our Summit Racing Camaros.”
Others to watch in Pro Stock include Phoenix winner Erica Enders-Stevens, Winternationals winner and defending K&N Horsepower Challenge champ Vincent Nobile, three-time SummitRacing.com Nationals champ and also a three-time K&N Challenge winner Jeg Coughlin, and defending world champ Allen Johnson, who drives the Team Mopar Dodge Avenger and won the circuit’s most recent event in Gainesville, Fla.
Antron Brown is atop the pack in Top Fuel riding high with momentum after claiming the 200th win for Don Schumacher Racing at Gainesville, Fla. Brown, who won this event in 2011, will try to increase his series lead with a strong performance at the controls of his Matco Tools dragster. A strong contingent of challengers will also be in the hunt for victory, including U.S. Army driver Tony Schumacher, Al-Anabi Racing’s Shawn Langdon, Mac Tools dragster driver Doug Kalitta, and defending event winner Massey, among others.
The competition is just as tough in the Funny Car category. Auto Club Ford Mustang driver Hight hopes to defend his title, but teammate Courtney Force and her Traxxas Ford Mustang crew are on the hunt for win No. 2 in 2013. High-profile drivers Ron Capps, 2012 Funny Car world champion “Fast Jack” Beckman, Gatornationals winner Johnny Gray, Matt Hagan and Alexis DeJoria are also hungry for a win at The Strip.
Fans will have the opportunity to meet many of the sport’s superstars at the NHRA Fan Fest Thursday, April 4 at the New York-New York Hotel and Casino. Schumacher, Brown, Capps Beckman, Anderson and Line, along with several other drivers, will be on hand for autographs and a question-and-answer session at the Staten Island Room near the Sporting House Bar & Grill from 6-8 p.m.
As always, fans also will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics service the race cars between rounds. While visiting the pits, interactive NHRA Nitro Alley and the NHRA Manufacturers Midway are two popular areas fans won’t want to miss. Children 12 and younger will receive free general admission tickets with a paid adult.
To kick off Championship Sunday’s pre-race festivities, fans will have the chance to see their favorite drivers during driver introductions. The Jersey Boys cast member Graham Fenton, who plays Fankie Valli (now playing at the Paris Las Vegas), will perform the National Anthem.
• SCHEDULE: Mello Yello Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Friday, April 5 and continue on Saturday, April 6 at 12:40 p.m. and 2:20 p.m. K&N Horsepower Challenge rounds are set for Saturday, April 6 at 12:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:25 p.m. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 7.
• TICKETS: Tickets are available for the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals online at www.lvms.com or by calling The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at (800) 644-4444.
• TELEVISION: ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 8 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 6 and three hours of eliminations coverage at 11 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 7.
• ON THE WEB: Get instant results, access to photos, video clips, and the latest news updates from every NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event on the Internet at www.NHRA.com.
SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS FACT SHEET
WHAT: 14th annual Summitracing.com NHRA Nationals, the fourth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in three categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock – earn points leading to 2013 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.
WHERE: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas. Track is located approximately 15 miles north of downtown Las Vegas off Interstate 15.
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, April 5-7
FRIDAY, April 5 - LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m.
SATURDAY, April 6- LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 12:40 p.m. and 2:20 p.m.
K&N HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE at 12:30 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:25 p.m.
SUNDAY, April 7 - Pre-race ceremonies, 10 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at 11 a.m.
Saturday, April 6, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise two hours of qualifying coverage at 8 p.m. (ET).
Sunday, April 7, ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise three hours of coverage starting at 11 p.m. (ET).
SATELLITE (Digital HD feed):
Friday, April 5, 10:30 - 11 p.m. (ET), SES 2 / Transponder 1C
Saturday, April 6, 8:30 - 9 p.m. (ET), SES 2 / Transponder 1C
Sunday, April 7, 9:30 - 10 p.m. (ET), SES 2 / Transponder 1C
(3720 MHz, horizontal; Data Rate: 40.461470554 Mbp; Symbol Rate: 29.27 Ms; FEC: ¾; Bandwidth: 36 Mhz)
Video news release contains race action highlights each day and winners’ interviews on Sunday.
2012 EVENT WINNERS: Spencer Massey, Top Fuel; Robert Hight, Funny Car; Allen Johnson, Pro Stock
MOST VICTORIES: Larry Dixon, 4, TF; Greg Anderson, 3, PS; Jeg Coughlin, 3, PS; Robert Hight, 3, FC; Kenny Bernstein, 2, TF; Mike Edwards, 2, PS; Tony Schumacher, 2, TF.
Top Fuel - 3.773 seconds by Tony Schumacher, Oct. ’12; 327.11 mph by Doug Kalitta, Oct. ’12
Funny Car - 4.030 seconds by Matt Hagan, Oct. ’09; 317.27 mph by Robert Hight, Oct. ’12.
Pro Stock - 6.590 seconds by Jason Line, Oct. ’12; 209.72 mph by Line, Oct. ’12.
Top Fuel - 3.701 sec. by Antron Brown, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12, Charlotte, N.C.
Funny Car - 3.986 sec. by Jack Beckman, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 320.58 mph by Beckman, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.
Pro Stock - 6.473 sec. by Mike Edwards, March ‘13, Gainesville, Fla.; 214.35 mph by Line, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.
TICKETS: For tickets call Las Vegas Motor Speedway at (800) 644-4444, or visit www.LVMS.com.
NHRA MELLO YELLO DRAG RACING SERIES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS STANDINGS
GLENDORA, Calif. -- Point standings (top 10) following the third of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series:
Top Fuel: 1. Antron Brown, 269; 2. Tony Schumacher, 265; 3. Shawn Langdon, 207; 4. Doug Kalitta, 187; 5. Khalid alBalooshi, 183; 6. Spencer Massey, 177; 7. Clay Millican, 165; 8. Morgan Lucas, 159; 9. Brandon Bernstein, 146; 10. David Grubnic, 144.
Funny Car: 1. (tie) Ron Capps, 244; Johnny Gray, 244; 3. Courtney Force, 216; 4. Matt Hagan, 209; 5. Cruz Pedregon, 181; 6. Del Worsham, 168; 7. Robert Hight, 156; 8. Bob Tasca III, 155; 9. Jack Beckman, 148; 10. John Force, 144.
Pro Stock: 1. Mike Edwards, 263; 2. Jeg Coughlin, 247; 3. Allen Johnson, 231; 4. Vincent Nobile, 224; 5. Erica Enders-Stevens, 208; 6. V. Gaines, 198; 7. Jason Line, 197; 8. Greg Anderson, 163; 9. Greg Stanfield, 135; 10. (tie) Shane Gray, 115. Chris McGaha, 115.
Pro Stock Motorcycle: 1. Hector Arana Jr, 125; 2. Steve Johnson, 96; 3. Hector Arana, 85; 4. Scotty Pollacheck, 73; 5. Andrew Hines, 55; 6. John Hall, 54; 7. Eddie Krawiec, 52; 8. Chip Ellis, 51; 9. Matt Smith, 43; 10. Mike Berry, 33.