Las Vegas Horsepower entertainment

LAS VEGAS - The definitive roar of 6,000 horsepower engines will echo throughout the vast desert of the nation's entertainment capital when the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series unleashes a spectacular motorsports presentation for the first time at...

LAS VEGAS - The definitive roar of 6,000 horsepower engines will echo throughout the vast desert of the nation's entertainment capital when the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series unleashes a spectacular motorsports presentation for the first time at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, April 6-9.

Competitors in five NHRA pro categories will be tuning their machines for optimum performance, hoping to hit the winning jackpot at the inaugural NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The $1.8 million race is the fourth of 23 events in the $45 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series for 2000.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a 1,600-acre motorsports complex owned and operated by Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI), will showcase the fourth new facility to be added to the NHRA schedule during the last three years. The dragstrip at LVMS features a state-of-the-art design typical of recent NHRA dragstrips constructed in Bristol, Tenn., Joliet, Ill., and Madison, Ill. The facility's smooth racing surface will provide competitors in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle and Pro Stock Truck an adequate platform for performance, as well as an adequate arena for an intense display of side-by-side racing.

And if the first few events of the 2000 NHRA season serve as a preview of what's to come, there will be plenty of 300-mph action at LVMS. Defending Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher, from Park Ridge, Ill., heads the list of favorites in his category behind the wheel of his Exide Batteries dragster. Schumacher leads the current Winston point standings following a victory at Phoenix, while category rival and two-time series champion Gary Scelzi is a close second following his triumphant victory at the season-opener in Pomona, Calif. Top Fuel veterans Kenny Bernstein and Joe Amato are also major headliners, while Doug Kalitta, driver of the MGM Grand dragster, Larry Dixon and Cory McClenathan will also be top threats in the desert.

Nine-time NHRA Winston champion John Force, from Yorba Linda, Calif., heads the charge in Funny Car in his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. After his recent victory in Phoenix, Force, with 82 career victories, is hot on the trail of passing Bob Glidden's all-time NHRA win mark of 85. Force is also working to join Glidden as only the second driver in NHRA history to claim 10 NHRA Winston championships. To do it, Force will have to hold off the advances of a trio of talented Chevrolet drivers, including WWF Racing's Jerry Toliver, Ron Capps, driver of the U.S. Tobacco Camaro, and Whit Bazemore, pilot of the Kendall Camaro.

Columbus, Ohio's Jeg Coughlin hopes to keep winning races in Pro Stock. Coughlin, the 1998 Winston Rookie of the Year, opened the season strong with back-to-back victories at Pomona, Calif. and Phoenix. To earn a victory at Vegas he'll need to battle a talented group of drivers that includes hometown favorite George Marnell, five-time Winston champ Warren Johnson, a resurgent Jim Yates and Summit Racing Pontiac driver Mark Pawuk, who posted a runner-up finish at Phoenix.

NHRA's two-wheel battle rolls on in Las Vegas as a cluster of talented Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors battle for victory. Three-time defending series champ Matt Hines holds the edge as pre-race favorite over fellow Suzuki riders Angelle Seeling, Gainesville winner Dave Schultz, Antron Brown, Craig Treble and Geno Scali.

Defending series champ Bob Panella Jr. wasted little time in moving back into title contention in the Pro Stock Truck category. The Stockton, Calif. native drove his Chevy S-10 to an impressive victory at the season-opening event in Pomona, Calif. He'll be challenged by a talented group of fellow S-10 drivers, including points leader Greg Stanfield, Tim Freeman, Steve Johns, Mike Coughlin and Rob Slavinski. The GMC charge will be led by category veteran John Lingenfelter, driver of the Summit Racing Sonoma. Todd Patterson heads the Team Mopar truck contingent.

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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Matt Hines , Jeg Coughlin , Bob Panella , Larry Dixon , Kenny Bernstein , Mark Pawuk , Warren Johnson , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Joe Amato , Gary Scelzi , Doug Kalitta , Mike Coughlin , John Lingenfelter , Bob Glidden , Cory McClenathan , Greg Stanfield , Geno Scali , Tim Freeman , George Marnell , Jerry Toliver