Compiled by SEMA Editors
BROWN, DEJORIA, LINE VICTORIOUS IN LAS VEGAS: Defending Top Fuel world champion Antron Brown raced to his first victory of the season last Sunday at the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals. Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car) and Jason Line (Pro Stock) also were winners in their categories at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the fourth of 24 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events. Brown powered his Matco Tools dragster to a 3.843-second pass at 314.60 mph to defeat first-time finalist Troy Buff, who drove his Bill Miller Engineering dragster to a 3.918 at 307.58 in the runner-up effort.
“It never gets boring,” Brown said. “It’s more than just a trophy. It’s all the hard work it takes to get here. We struggled the first three races, but we just kept digging; we kept our head down and just kept going.”
HORSEPOWER CHALLENGE HISTORY: ANDERSON WINS NO. 5: Greg Anderson raced to victory in the K&N Horsepower Challenge in an uncontested final round when teammate Jason Line’s car broke on the starting line last Saturday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Anderson’s Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro lost traction at the start, but he was able to cruise down the track to claim his fifth victory in the Pro Stock all-star event. With the victory, Anderson earns $50,000. He started the bonus race as the top seed and outran rival Jeg Coughlin Jr. and tough Texan Chris McGaha to advance to the final.
“It’s so much fun racing this race; you don’t have to worry about points, you don’t have to worry about screwing up or anything. You just go have fun and try to win the big cash,” Anderson said. “Fifty grand is big to us. It’s huge. It’s obviously the biggest payday we can make a year.”
LOWES FOODS NAMED PRESENTING SPONSOR OF THE NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS: Lowes Foods has been named presenting sponsor for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway, April 22–24—the fifth event in the 24-race 2016 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. As presenting sponsor, Lowes Foods will conduct marketing activities, including themed advertising and promotions. The company also will have a presence onsite at the event, including signage and display space, as well as in the race broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
“We are so excited to have Lowes Foods come onboard as the presenting sponsor for this unique event,” said Brad Gerber, NHRA vice president and chief development officer. “The NHRA Four-Wide Nationals is our only four-wide race of the season, so it’s always one of the most anticipated events of the year. We’re thrilled to start this partnership with Lowes Foods and believe they will become a huge asset to this great event.”
He Said, She Said
“To be a part of that, it’s incredible. Three women in the last three races, including myself, have won. It’s an amazing time in NHRA Drag Racing. We’ve come so far. Man, we just needed to catch one break. Lately, we couldn’t get down the track much in qualifying and then the first round, we would turn it around and do so well, but the other person would just do a little bit better so it was a lot of tough breaks. It’s been a dream of mine to race Del in the finals, and going up against him, it’s no easy feat. I was pretty excited to race him in the final, but man, I wanted to win so bad.”
—Alexis DeJoria following her fourth Funny Car victory and first since 2014. She became the third different female to win this season, as Leah Pritchett and Brittany Force have won in Top Fuel early in the season. She defeated her teammate Worsham in the finals in the first Kalitta Motorsports Funny Car final.
Inside the Numbers
500: Number of races two-time Funny Car racer Cruz Pedregon has been part of in his career following the DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Nationals in Las Vegas. Pedregdon began his career in 1991 in Top Fuel before moving to Funny Car in 1992. His first career win was in Houston against Gordon Mineo, and he has 35 victories, 39 runner-up finishes and 61 No. 1 qualifiers. He is third among active drivers with the most events, following John Force with 688 races and Del Worsham at 532.
Did You Know
FANS TO DETERMINE TOP 20 MOST IMPORTANT FUNNY CARS: As part of NHRA’s 50th Anniversary of Funny Car celebration, fans will have the opportunity to vote for the cars they believe are the most important in the class’ history. After hundreds of suggestions from fans, an expert panel of drag-racing historians and journalists narrowed the final list to 20, based on the cars’ influence and success within the class. NHRA legends such as John Force, Don “the Snake” Prudhomme, Kenny Bernstein and “Jungle Jim” Liberman all have cars on the list, which spans from 1966’s introduction of the class, as represented by Don Nicholson’s Mercury Comet—the first flip-top Funny Car—to 2015, as represented by “Fast Jack” Beckman’s national-record-setting Infinite Hero Dodge. The list includes record breakers, barrier breakers, race and championship winners and cars that moved the class forward, either technologically by sponsorship or name association.