Story By: NHRA – LAS VEGAS, NV – 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.
CAPITAL CITY MOTORSPORTS PARK SIGNS ON AS NHRA MEMBER TRACK
NHRA has announced that Capital City Motorsports Park has signed on as the newest NHRA member track in the NHRA Southeast Division.
Located in Montgomery, Alabama, Capital City Motorsports Park is overseen by owner Ben Willis. Willis and his team coordinate racing and facility operations at the facility.
“We are proud to put Montgomery back on the map and rebuild a solid relationship with NHRA Division 2,” said Willis.
Capital City Motorsports Park is gearing up for its 2021 schedule, which will include the Free Entry 10K event in August and the Mike Smith Memorial Race as well as the Jr Dragster Halloween Spectacular in October.
Capital City Motorsports Park joins a group of over 120 NHRA member tracks worldwide. As an NHRA-sanctioned track, the facility will be eligible to offer racers a variety of NHRA racing opportunities, including the NHRA Summit Racing Series, the NHRA Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League and NHRA Jr. Street.
NHRA Division 2 includes 19 tracks across the region. Racers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and even Puerto Rico make up the one of the busiest divisions in the country. Division 2 hosts competitions throughout the year along with countless other events for the heartiest of drag racing competitors and fans. For more information, including schedules, point standings and more, go to the Division 2 website, NHRADiv2.com.