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Force, Capps And Enders Are Winners In Vegas
Brittany Force grabbed the win in the Top Fuel category, getting past all other competitors in Las Vegas. Photo By Mike Burghardt

The Camping World NHRA Drag racing Series recently returned to Las Vegas Motor Speedway Strip for the Las Vegas Four-Wide Nationals. Each season, the NHRA features two of the Four-Wide events, one at the spring event in Las Vegas and one at the spring event in North Carolina at zMax Speedway.

In the normal 2-wide format, only two cars race each other down the track and only the winner continues. In 4-wide the first two to cross the finish line in each group continue. In the final round, the one to the finish line first is the winner.

In Top Fuel there were ups and downs. Mike Salinas, who won the event in Phoenix and has done an amazing job to improve his starting line reaction times, qualified No. 1 with a 3.722 at 324.58 mph. With a normal elimination (2-wide) ladder, with only 15 of 16 possible cars, he would have had a first round bye run. But, this was four-wide racing and instead of a bye run he would face two drivers and he would have to be no worse than second to the finish line to advance. But, instead of having his normal good reaction time, he was late and his two opponents, Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown (who normally would have only raced each other in the opening round) advanced to the next round. After qualifying second Brittany Force marched to the final round 4-car group with dominating performances and very good reaction times. Her final round group featured the best of the best. Tony Schumacher (eight-time Top Fuel champion), Steve Torrence (four-time champion) and Antron Brown (three-time Top Fuel champion). Torrence got away first, but Force drove by him to claim the 12th win of her career with a 3.718 at 338.00 mph performance. Torrence runner-upped with a 3.756 at 326.71 mph, followed by Schumacher and Brown.

In Funny Car, Ron Capps collected his first event win as a driver/car owner, utilizing the tuning expertise of his two premier crew chiefs, John Medlen and Dean “Quido” Antonelli. After qualifying No. 1 with a 3.833 at 331.46 mph he marched to his final round group, consisting of Robert Hight, Matt Hagan and Alexis DeJoria. Hight was off the starting line first, but Capps got around him with a 3.914 at 331.20 mph, to claim this special win. Hagan ended up as the runner-up as Hight’s car faded near the finish line, placing him third.

In Pro Stock, the big story involved Erica Enders. At the last event (Gator Nationals), she set the new elapse time record for Pro Stock (6.45 seconds) but lost to Bo Butner on a hole shot. On her social media account with her fans (and she has thousands) she laid down the shout out that she would make up for her error and would win the 4-wide event in Vegas. And to the delight of her fans, she did just that. But, it was not an easy one, as she won the final round by mere inches. Her final round group consisted of Christian Cuadra, Mason McGaha and Dallas Glen. Cuadra had turned in impressive reaction times all day (0.001 and 0.006) and left first in the final with a 0.007 second reaction time to Enders’ 0.019. He would have won the event had his engine not started to go away, as he went into fifth gear at the 1000 foot mark. With that, Enders was able to get past him in the last 320 feet to claim the victory, the 35th of her career. Enders won with a 6.688 at 206.32 mph to (a coasting) 6.702 at 196.13 mph (0.002 seconds margin of victory).

In the Funny Car category at the Las Vegas 4-Wide Nationals, Ron Capps claimed an emotional win, his first as a Team/Car owner. For the last 20-plus years he drove for Don Schumacher Racing. Being a team owner is a dream that many racers have, and Capps celebrated with a victory. Photo By Mike Burghardt