Las Vegas II: Teams make a return appearance

NHRA Teams Make A Return Appearance In Las Vegas LAS VEGAS - Summer is officially over and there seems to be a cooling trend in most parts of the country. But not in Las Vegas. No way, no how. In Vegas, the action is always hot - especially...

NHRA Teams Make A Return Appearance In Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Summer is officially over and there seems to be a cooling trend in most parts of the country.

But not in Las Vegas. No way, no how.

In Vegas, the action is always hot - especially when 6,000 horsepower dragsters come roaring through the city. The nation's fastest dragsters, fueled by nitromethane and piloted by some of the best drivers, will soon be invading the desert oasis. For the second time this season, The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is playing host to the National Hot Rod Association. Thousands of fans were treated in April to a track-record speed of 325.61 set by Kenny Bernstein. The Top Fuel driver went on to win the event, beating Andrew Cowin 4.533 to 4.615 in the final round.

The state-of-the-art facility won't fall short on excitement the second time around either. The Strip gets a second event this year as the inaugural AC Delco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals speeds through town Oct. 25-28.

Bernstein will be looking to maintain his dominance in the desert in the $1.9 million race, the 23rd of 24 events in the $50 million NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series.

The first NHRA national event held at The Strip was in April 2000. Bernstein beat Joe Amato 4.907 to 5.213 to claim the first-ever Top Fuel title at the track. With a Winston championship on the line, Bernstein is surely hoping for a Vegas sweep come October. He and Larry Dixon have lingered at the top of the points order all season, claiming 13 event wins between them. Dixon has grabbed six wins in his Miller Lite dragster while Bernstein and his Budweiser gang have scored seven victories.

Bernstein is gunning for his second Top Fuel title and sixth NHRA title overall. Dixon, the 1995 Winston Rookie of the Year, is searching for his first career championship.

John Force has already clinched a record 11th Winston championship behind the wheel of his Castrol GTX Ford Mustang. Already the winningest driver in the series, Force has 98 career wins with six coming this season. Force is headed to an unprecedented 100th win, but has not advanced past the second round at either Las Vegas event. He does, however, have the track record for Funny Car speed. He clocked a 321.04 run in April, but eventually lost to Dean Skuza in the quarterfinals, 4.887 to 4.965.

Whit Bazemore, Del Worsham and Ron Capps are scrambling for second place behind Force in the category. Bazemore was the runner-up here in April, losing to Tommy Johnson Jr. in the final, and will look to notch his fourth win on the year while Worsham has earned four trips to the final round, three of those ending in victory. Capps has three final round appearances to his credit this season and has taken home the trophy twice.

Jeg Coughlin Jr. is the Pro Stock driver to beat in Las Vegas. He has won both events held the desert and will try and close the gap between him and the other top competitors in the 200-mph category. Coughlin will be challenged by five-time Winston champ Warren Johnson, two-time series champ Jim Yates, and hometown favorite George Marnell, who is looking like a contender for next year's title.

The Pro Stock Motorcycle division will be returning to The Strip as defending Winston champ Angelle Savoie is aiming for a second straight title. Antron Brown is looking for a career-best finish, while three-time Winston champ Matt Hines and rookie sensation GT Tonglet will be aiming for the crown at the state-of-the art facility.

SCHEDULE: Pro qualifying sessions are scheduled for 2:45 and 5:45 p.m. on Oct. 26 and continue at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Oct. 27. Final eliminations start at 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 28.

TICKETS: Tickets are available for the inaugural AC Delco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals. Call (800) 644-4444,, or for information.

ON TV: ESPN2 will provide one hour of qualifying highlights on Oct. 28 at 1:30 a.m. (ET). In addition, ESPN2 will also televise one hour of early round coverage at 2 p.m. (ET) and three hours of final round coverage at 7 p.m. (ET) on Oct. 28.

ON THE WEB: NHRA news, photos and driver information available at


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Series NHRA
Drivers Antron Brown , Matt Hines , Jeg Coughlin , Kenny Bernstein , Warren Johnson , Dean Skuza , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , Ron Capps , John Force , Joe Amato , Andrew Cowin , George Marnell , GT Tonglet , Tommy Johnson Jr.