NHRA’s Mello Yello Drag Racing Series added the 4-Wide drag racing format to it’s second venue last weekend….

Texan Steve Torrence, who just missed winning the NHRA Mello Yello World Championship last season, raced to a Top Fuel victory at the 19th annual DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This was the inaugural four-wide racing experience for fans on the West Coast and it came in front of a sellout crowd.

J.R. Todd (Funny Car) and Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) were also winners in their respective categories at the fourth event on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Torrence piloted his Capco Contractors dragster to a 3.771-second pass at 326.63 mph for the 18th victory of his career and second of the season. He defeated the No. 1 qualifier Tony Schumacher, three-time world champion Antron Brown and Doug Kalitta in the final round.

Steve Torrence continued his rather torrid pace so far in 2018 – winning for the 2nd time this season – to extend his overall points lead.

“I knew my team was confident coming into today, but going into a final round against Antron [Brown], Tony Schumacher and Doug [Kalitta] up against you makes it a tough round,” Torrence said. “Our car still isn’t performing at the level it was last year, but we know we just have to work on the car and prepare for the later part of this season when every race really matters.”

With the victory, Torrence moves atop the Top Fuel points standings as he chases his first world championship in the class.

The TF final “quad” went to Steve Torrance (far lane) over opponents Doug Kalitta, Antron Brown and Tony Schumacher.

Todd ran a 4.041 at 317.05 in his DHL Toyota Camry for his first DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals win and 11th of his career. Jack Beckman finished in second after his 4.052 at 312.21, while Courtney Force wound up third and Tommy Johnson Jr. ended in fourth.

“We brought out a new car in Gainesville and struggled during Friday’s qualifying this weekend, but I got my confidence up in the fourth round of qualifying and then definitely carried over into today,” Todd said. “I know it’s going to be tough to crack the top ten in this Funny Car class because it’s so competitive, so every win we can get is going to help us crack the Countdown to the Championship.”

JR Todd racked up this 12th career NHRA win and his 3rd in the fuel FC category.

In Pro Stock, Nobile picked up his 11th career victory and first at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when he ran a 6.591 at 210.44 in his Harlow Sammons Chevy Camaro. He bested Deric Kramer, Bo Butner and Chris McGaha in the final round.

“My team worked their tails off this weekend, we went through three engines over the weekend but overall it was a great weekend and there isn’t any reason we can’t be back in the winner’s circle again soon,” Nobile said. “The car has been running well but we have had some bad luck so far this season, but we are hoping this is our turning point.”

Vince Nobile won in Pro Stock racing the potent Mountain View Tires sponsored Chevy Camaro

K&N Kingpin!

Pro Stock class racing at Las Vegas also included the prestigious annual K&N Horsepower Challenge which was won for the 7th time (!) by Greg Anderson.

That race within a race run off during Saturday schedule saw Anderson’s 6.731-second pass at 205.47 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro best the defending world champion Bo Butner who red-lit in the final round of the specialty race to secure the $50,000 prize.

“It’s an honor to race for that K&N check, they have been great supporters of this class for years and it definitely gave me a confidence boost heading into race day,” Anderson said. “This is two weeks in a row I’ve gotten a No. 1 qualifying position and I know I have the car, crew chief and team to turn things around.”

Greg Anderson collected his 7th (!) K&N Horsepower Challenge in Pro Stock

He opened the challenge as the No. 1 seed and outran Vincent Nobile and Drew Skillman to advance to the finals. It was Anderson’s seventh career victory and third consecutive in the Pro Stuck bonus event

The 8 best Pro Stock racers in the world faced off during Saturday’s K&N Horsepower Challenge event.

An In-House Victory

Expert Texas-based racer Ricky House emerged victorious in the Mickey Thompson Tires/Wheels presented Top Fuel Harley division race also presented at the Denso 4-Wide Nationals.

Rickey House (near lane) roared from behind to defeat Jay Turner in the M/T Top Fuel Harley class final.

House saved his best effort of the event for the final when he recorded low ET of the race at 6.324 secs at 217.14 mph to defeat Jay Turner’s 6.795 secs at 158.97 mph.

House had qualified #1 (6.347 secs) and had also defeated Canadian Mike Scott and recent NHRA Gatornationals winner Tii Tharpe in earlier competition.

The win has pushed House to the top of the points standings after four season races so far. His 237 total is now ahead of Doug Vancil (232) and Tharpe (231).

The Lucas Oil Lowdown

Defending 2017 NHRA Lucas Oil World Champions Joey Severance and Justin Lamb both visited the winner’s circle this past weekend in the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Joey Severence (far lane) defeated Norway’s Julie Nataas in the Lucas Oil TAD final round.

In the Top Alcohol Dragster final round, Julie Natass, Drøbak, Norway got off to a great start; peaking at 5.349 seconds, 267.32 mph. However, she was unable to hold off hard charging Severance, Woodburn, Ore., who registered a victory pass of 5.244 seconds, 275.00 mph. Severance continued the defence of his 2017 Lucas Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Dragster World Championship.

Local racer Lamb of Henderson, doubled up defending his 2017 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Stock and Super Stock World Championships. In the Stock final round, Lamb gained a small starting line advantage and held off Larry Gilley, Hilmar, Calif., for the final round win. Lamb recorded a victory pass of 10.025 seconds, 130.51 mph. Lamb had a seamless path to victory in the Super Stock final round. Brad Burton, Snohomish Wash., triggered the red light at the starting line to give Lamb the easy win. Lamb finished his pass at 8.725 seconds, 155.52 mph.

Defending NHRA Lucas Oil World Champion Justin Lamb won in both Stock and Super Stock at his home track in Las Vegas

In the Top Alcohol Funny Car finale, Sean Bellemeur, Placentia, Calif., faced off against fellow Californian John Lombardo Jr., of Brea. Bellemeur took the lead and never looked back running as 5.470 seconds, 265.69 mph for the win. Lombardo had mechanical issues and had to shut down shortly after takeoff.

The TAFC championship went to the potent Chevy Camaro driven by Sean Bellemeur

Mike MacBrair, Napa, Calif., ousted fellow Californian Steve Casner of Sheridan in the Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs final round. MacBrair attained the starting line advantage and never lost momentum, hitting 6.617 seconds, 203.00 mph. In the Top Sportsman final round presented by RacingRvs, Bud Preuss, Grand Junction Colo., hit a perfect light (0.000 seconds) then ran 7.490 seconds, 154.53 mph capturing the final round win. Jeff Gillette, Benicia, Calif., fouled at the line, setting off the red light.

Bud Preuss (near lane) delivered a perfect .000 RT in the Top Sportsman final to win it.

The other drivers visiting winner’s circle were Joe Mozeris in Comp Eliminator, Bradley Johnson in Super Comp, and Michael Miller in Super Gas.

Comp winner – Joe Mozeris

Michael Miller drove his 23T to the Super Gas title over Aaron Kinard’s Corvette

Posted with files by NHRA Communications, NHRA Field Marketing and Bruce Biegler
Photos by : Bob Johnson