LAS VEGAS, NV – April 15, 2021 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – After closing out her 2020 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series with an impressive performance at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Angie Smith is returning to the track with hopes of an even bigger victory.
The Pro Stock Motorcycle standout takes plenty of excitement into this weekend’s DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, in part because DENSO is also the main sponsor on her EBR motorcycle. It would make a victory — and her first four-wide win — even more special if Smith can pull it off this weekend in the unique four-wide format.
“It’s a very cool feeling that this is the DENSO race,” Smith said. “We won in Vegas last year, and, of course, we want to put our bikes in the winner’s circle and add to our resume that we won our title sponsor’s race. It’s just an added bonus to win your sponsor’s race, and it’s very exciting to get back there. We’re always eager to race in Vegas.”
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, the last time the NHRA circuit raced four-wide at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This year’s race will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including finals coverage starting at 8 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 18. It is the second race of 2021 and fans are eager to enjoy one of the biggest spectacles in motorsports. All grandstand tickets have been sold for the weekend, as state and local officials allowed the track to host fans at 50-percent capacity for the race in Las Vegas.
That aspect is particularly thrilling for Smith, who missed that element during the fall Vegas race last year. There were fans at that race to close out 2020, but there will be considerably more this weekend as Smith races for another memorable moment. To do so, she’ll have to get past a talented group of competitors, including her husband, Matt, who is the defending world champ and also won the 2021 opener, Angelle Sampey, Ryan Oehler and Steve Johnson.
“I’m just glad we’re able to have more fans,” said Smith, who has two career wins to her name. “Even though I was ecstatic with the win in Vegas, and it was great and one of the best days ever, from a racer’s standpoint, you want to hear the cheers and interact with the fans. That was a missing element, so it’s a huge bonus having a bigger amount of fans there this weekend.”
In Pro Stock, Greg Anderson has always enjoyed success in Las Vegas, posting a remarkable eight career victories at the facility. He also comes in on a strong note thanks to his victory to open the 2021 campaign in Gainesville. It gives the four-time Pro Stock world champ plenty of momentum to keep picking up wins after earning his 95th career victory last month. That puts him just two away from Warren Johnson for the most in class history, but Anderson is solely focused on the task immediately in front of him, which is doing well at a four-wide race in Vegas against talents like reigning champ Erica Enders, Troy Coughlin Jr. and Matt Hartford.
“I can’t say that’s not a goal. That isn’t the reason I race, though,” said Anderson, who won the four-wide race in Charlotte in 2011 and 2012. “I race because this is what I love to do, and I love to win. Whatever that number ends up as, 95 or 105 or whatever it’s going to be, I’m going to be happy. I’m just going to try to get as many as I can.”
Three-time Top Fuel world champ Steve Torrence won the inaugural four-wide race in Las Vegas in 2018 and will go for a second victory while facing off with talented stars like Antron Brown, Brittany Force, Leah Pruett and Doug Kalitta.
Funny Car’s J.R. Todd will look to keep his four-wide success going in Vegas. The former world champ won the first two four-wide races at the facility and will go for three in a row against the likes of Robert Hight, Matt Hagan, John Force, Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon.
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 a thrilling four-wide jet car exhibition featuring the Lucas Oil “Muy Caliente” jets, the “Iceman” jet dragster and the “Volcano” jet dragster. 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 12 p.m. 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.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 22 national events featuring the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, Factory Stock Showdown and Top Fuel Harley Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. With over 120 Member Tracks, NHRA allows racers to compete at a variety of locations nationally and internationally. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. NHRA’s streaming service, NHRA.tv, allows fans to view all NHRA national events as well as exclusive features of the sport. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to www.NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. and YouTube.
Source: National Hot Rod Association