RANDOM THOUGHTS: Racing just got really loud at Las Vegas


Racing just got really loud at Las Vegas

By Tom Zulewski

In the ever-changing world around Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NASCAR got things started last spring with the announcement of two full race weekends featuring all of the three touring national series – Monster Energy Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Trucks. They made an excellent debut together last month.

Those events have absolutely nothing on the noise level that the NHRA brought to the Strip at LVMS this past weekend.

Instead of the standard two-lane drag racing, Las Vegas has brought four-wide racing to fans on the West Coast side of the country.

If you thought two Top Fuel dragsters running side-by-side was loud enough to make your head feel like it would explode, putting two more on track only doubles the madness.

Rock concerts with big-time heavy-metal guitar riffs are child’s play compared to four nitro-burning dragsters – Funny Car, Top Fuel or Pro Stock – zooming down the quarter-mile at the same time.

When LVMS held its introductory press conference celebrating the debut of four-wide racing last Thursday, I knew something was up when long-time PR man Neal Reid came up to me with a packet of ear plugs.

They were most definitely needed and put to good use.

The lucky four who got to do the debut burnouts were Top Fuel drivers Richie Crampton and Antron Brown along with Funny Car drivers J.R. Todd and Cruz Pedregon. When announcer Alan Reinhart gave the command to fire the engines, it gave off an experience that fans of drag racing are not going to forget.

LVMS president Chris Powell said last week the advance ticket demand for the NHRA Denso 4-Wide Nationals was off the charts. It’s with good reason.

Las Vegas has joined ZMax Dragway in Charlotte, N.C. as the second NHRA drag strip to host a four-wide event. The full story from Sunday’s final eliminations can be found elsewhere on the pages of this week’s print edition and online at ironcountytoday.com.

The eliminations will work the same as they have in the past, but there will only be three rounds to determine the event champion. The No. 1 qualifier not only has to work against the No. 16, but the 8th- and 9th-place qualifiers will work alongside.

The top two from each round advance (qualifiers 4, 5, 12 and 13 face off in the opening round as do 2, 7, 10 and 15, then 3, 6, 11 and 14), then the top two from each heat in the round of eight make the final. From there, only one winner comes from four racing for the Wally trophy.

That’s pretty cool stuff, and the best part comes because they’ll do it all over again Oct. 25 to Oct. 28 in the penultimate race before the 2018 champions are crowned.

They’ll do it loud and proud, too. Make sure the ear plugs are in good working order.

-Stat of the day: Since Cedar softball pulled off the seven-run seventh-inning rally that stunned Snow Canyon, the Lady Reds have beaten the last three opponents – Desert Hills, Canyon View and Hurricane – by a combined count of 29-1.

Not only that, Cedar has won 15 straight Region 9 games overall. At the rate the Lady Reds mash the ball – six home runs in the last two games alone – pressure on the opposing pitchers will get worse as the defending champs keep getting better.

-Sportsmanship matters: Toward the end of Canyon View’s boys soccer home game against Pine View last week, Falcons goalkeeper Matt Bench went airborne to make a save. Before he came down, a Panther player collided with Bench in midair and the senior crashed down in a motionless heap.

As Bench laid on the turf and coaches and trainers tended to him, the concern on both sides grew and led both teams to gather as one in a prayer circle hoping their friend was OK.

Bench would relate on his Twitter that he was concerned about not being able to walk again, but he reported later Friday he was doing just that, even while feeling pain.

Winning and losing don’t always have to drive sports. Camaraderie and friendships made along the way can make an even bigger difference.

Follow Tom Zulewski on Twitter @TommyZee81 or email tominator19@yahoo.com.

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