This weekend, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) teams head for Las Vegas and the NHRA Vegas Four-Wide Nationals. This weekend’s race marks a return for the first time this season of four-wide drag racing. The Mopar-backed Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) teams are looking forward to heading back to “The Strip” at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Leah Pritchett – Driver of the John Schnatter Top Fuel Dragster
During last year’s Vegas Four-Wide Nationals, Leah qualified seventh and went to a quarterfinal finish before losing to Antron Brown and Doug Kalitta. Coming off of a quarterfinal finish in Gainesville, the John Schnatter Top Fuel Dragster driver is currently sitting second in points with five round wins.
“We’re sitting second in the points and the goal continues to be, as it always has been, to contend for a championship. We want to be thick in the hunt come November. The best way to do that is to run all 24 races. Not only does that keep you in the points, but it continues to bank data. We were originally unfunded for the Vegas Four-Wide event which means we would’ve been parked for this specific race. I didn’t want that for my team, they’ve worked too hard to sit and have to watch as spectators, so I called upon a longtime supporter who immediately offered up the funding needed to keep this car on the track this weekend. Thank you, John Schnatter, for stepping up and giving our team a shot at racing for the Vegas Four-Wide Wally.” – Leah Pritchett
Jack Beckman – Driver of the Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
“Fast Jack” Beckman, returns to “The Strip” looking to improve last year’s runner-up position at the Vegas Four-Wide Nationals. Last year, he qualified sixth and went to the finals before getting beat by J.R. Todd. Currently, Beckman is second in points with six round wins.
“I’m really looking forward to Vegas. Twice a year we get a shot at a totally unique format. I’ve won a four-wide event a couple of times and I enjoy being taken out of our element and getting thrown a little bit of a curveball. Plus, I just love Vegas. My first-ever nitro win was there and I haven’t been back to the Vegas winner’s circle since then. It’s been over 12 years so I’d like to end that drought this time at Vegas.” – Jack Beckman
Ron Capps – Driver of the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
Ron Capps is looking to get back in the groove after a disappointing start to his 2019 season. In Gainesville, Ron qualified eighth and went to the quarterfinals before losing to Robert Height. Ron has had success in Vegas before, and won this race back in 2009 and is a two-time runner up (2006 and 2007). Capps currently sits ninth in the Funny Car points.
“These past few weeks off have been much-needed for a lot of teams. A year ago, as we were headed to the inaugural Vegas Four-Wide race, we were all excited because we were going to a brand-new race track. We found out once we got there just how good of a job they did building four fantastic lanes. This year, leaving Gainesville, we’ve had an uncharacteristically slow start to the season for our NAPA AUTO PARTS team. We’re ninth in points, but I really feel like we’re on the verge of a win at any given time. We’ve fought some bugs here and there the first three races, and we’re still really trying to get a feel for these new DSR chassis. We’ve run both cars with our new Dodge Hellcat body and it’s showing us it’s got a lot more downforce with less drag. I feel like we left Gainesville with a lot of really good information that (crew chief Rahn) Tobler is going to put to good use.
“The best part about this upcoming weekend is the weather. We’ve had cold weather the first three races, much colder than we’ve ever had before. I think a lot of the teams are really pumped to see high 70s, low 80s for the first time this season. This event starts a string of a lot of back-to-back races over the next few months, and I think we’re going to see our NAPA team make a run up in the points. Couldn’t think of a better place to start that run than one of my favorite tracks that we go to, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.” – Ron Capps
Matt Hagan – Driver of the Pennzoil Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
Matt Hagan returns to Vegas in a Pennzoil sponsored car this weekend. After a poor performance in this event last year with a first-round elimination, the team looks to improve this record at “The Strip” this weekend. Hagan currently sits third in points and has shown that he can take his HELLCAT Funny Car to the winner’s circle already this year.
“The Vegas Four-Wide Nationals are going to be kind of crazy. It’s halfway to Denver, altitude is always an issue plus you add in the four-wide element. We’re coming off of a decent qualifying performance in Gainesville, then we won first round but hurt the blower so we had to stick a new blower on it. It had too much boost and we blew the tires off that next round. That being said, going into Vegas I feel really confident. The car is running well and the guys are doing a great job of maintaining it. We’re going to stay and test on Monday and then I go straight to Houston to do some promotional gigs for Pennzoil. We’re running the chrome Pennzoil car the next two races, so I’m looking forward to hopefully pulling out a win for Pennzoil very soon.” – Matt Hagan
Tommy Johnson, Jr. – Driver of the Make-A-Wish Foundation Dodge Charger SRT HELLCAT Funny Car
A two-time (2001 and 2017) champion of this event, Johnson returns to Vegas looking to win again with his Make-A-Wish Foundation team. Currently sitting fifth in the points standings, the Make-A-Wish team qualified second in this event last year before making it to the semifinals. Johnson hopes to celebrate his birthday this weekend with a win.
“We always seem to do really well at Vegas. We’ve won there a couple of times in the past, and we did really well last year at the Vegas Four-Wide but felt like we let one get away from us; we should’ve won. So, looking forward to getting a little revenge from last season. It’s my birthday on Saturday and I’d like nothing more than to turn our luck around this weekend in Vegas.” – Tommy Johnson, Jr.
NHRA Vegas Four-Wide Nationals TV Schedule:
|Friday, April 5, 2019||Friday Night Nitro Live||9:30pm- 11:00pm ET||FS1||ORIGINAL|
|Sunday, April 7, 2019||NHRA Sunday Live||11:30am – 12:30pm ET||FS1||ORIGINAL|
|Sunday, April 7, 2019||Finals||5:30pm – 8:30pm ET||FS1||ORIGINAL|