Las Vegas ''Strip'' Awaits Amato, Hines, Krisher

The action on the world-famous Las Vegas "Strip" will take on a new meaning this weekend (April 6-9) with the inaugural NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The newly-constructed quarter-mile will be tested by all five...

The action on the world-famous Las Vegas "Strip" will take on a new meaning this weekend (April 6-9) with the inaugural NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The newly-constructed quarter-mile will be tested by all five Winston Drag Racing Series divisions. "It's a great new event at a great facility in one of the world's greatest cities," says five-time Top Fuel champion Joe Amato. The challenge for the racers -- including Amato in the DynoMax/Valvoline/ Keystone Automotive dragster, three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle titlist Matt Hines on the Eagle One Suzuki, and No. 3 -ranked Pro Stock driver Ron Krisher in the Eagle One Pontiac Firebird -- is how to figure out what the new track surface "wants." That is, how to tune the mega-horsepower vehicles so they grab -- but don't overpower -- the track. Amato, winner of 50 Top Fuel races and currently fourth in points, explains: "Jimmy Prock (crew chief) and the crew will look at the track and they'll get a little feel for what it's like. You can usually tell. It's going to be a raw track. The only thing you can compare it to is when we went to Bristol last year (for the Winston Showdown in Tennessee). The same person built the track. Supposedly, they used the same cement and concrete mixtures. That was a good track right out of the box. "So, the crew will go look at it, and they'll watch the alcohol cars (Federal-Mogul Series dragsters and Funny Cars) that run ahead of us. You get a little bit of a feel for it. Tracks are funny. Sometimes, new blacktop, if it gets a lot of heat on it, the oil comes out of it and it gets slippery down track. This has 660 feet of cement, so that's good. That will at least get you launched and get you a good run. Then, as the rubber gets put down on the track, it should get better as the weekend goes forward." Hines, with 23 wins and three straight championships, thinks Vegas will be similar to National Trail Raceway -- where he won in 1997 and 1998. "We look at the barometric pressure and just the overall conditions and try to relate it to the closest track we've run in the past. Most likely, Vegas will be like running Ohio. We start on the conservative side and work our way up." Krisher, meanwhile, is on a roll. He's made the semifinal round at the two most recent events, Firebird and Gainesville, for the first time in his career and is third in Pro Stock points. NOTE: Joe Amato is scheduled to be interviewed Sunday (April 9) on TNN's "RaceDay" show, which airs at 11 a.m. (EDT).

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series NHRA
Drivers Matt Hines , Joe Amato , Ron Krisher