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Friday News & Notes from the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals

News, notes, quotes, photos, and video from the opening day of the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Updated throughout the day.
12 Apr 2024
NHRA National Dragster staff


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The defending event winners from the 2023 NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas are Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), and Dallas Glenn (Pro Stock).

Brown raced alongside Steve Torrence, Brittany Force, and Josh Hart in a memorable final quad, where all four drivers ran between 3.76 and 3.79 and all four drivers had competitive reaction times. Brown left first and ran 3.760 to edge Torrence, who was runner-up with a 3.774.

The Funny Car final included Hagan, Tim Wilkerson, John Force, and Chad Green, with Hagan’s 3.943 holding off Wilkerson’s 3.969.

The elapsed times in the Pro Stock final ranged from 6.646 to 6.693 with Glenn holding off Troy Coughlin Jr. while Cristian Cuadra and Deric Kramer were the semifinalists.


The Las Vegas event will mark the official debut of Holley EFI Factory X as a full NHRA championship category. The inaugural event has attracted eight drivers in supercharged modern muscle cars from Chevrolet, Dodge, and Ford. The initial entry list includes Greg Stanfield, Aaron Stanfield, Alex Laughlin, Jim Cowan, Stephen Bell, Lenny Lottig, Rick Hord, and Jesse Alexandra.

In addition to the Las Vegas races, Factory X will also be contested at Charlotte 1, Chicago, Norwalk, Indy, St. Louis, and Dallas before the champion is crowned back here in Las Vegas this fall.


We’ll get a little more of the unfinished business from the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals done this weekend with Comp completing its final four rounds today at the end of the day (and not concurrent with any Vegas qualifying) and Flexjet 91 Factory Stock Showdown finishing its final two rounds tomorrow as part of Q3 and Q4.

Comp round two: Joe Mozeris vs. bye; Allen Wilson vs. Scott Libersher; Cody Lane vs. Kayla Mozeris; Ryan Priddy (pictured) vs. Joshua Lee; Dean Carter vs. Doug Lambeck

Factory Stock semifinals: David Davies II vs. Mark Pawuk; Stephen Bell vs. Bye


Before he took to the wheel of The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Friday in the Jim Dunn/KGC Funny car, Buddy Hull was making laps elsewhere on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway grounds at Dream Racing, which allows speed freaks a chance to drive supercars and luxury race cars. Jim Dunn Racing Funny Car is receiving support from Primal Steakhouse, and its owner Chad Dillow, who is a Dream Racing member and supercar enthusiast, arranged for Hull to make laps in a variety of supercars and race cars this afternoon.

“I got to drive the Lamborghini race car with [instructor] Edoardo Liberati, and as expected, it's not as easy as it appears on the outside,” he said. “I had a great coach, who is a team Lamborghini driver. It went well, and we went out there and didn't wreck the car and didn't hit any walls or anything. We had a good time and turned some good laps, so it was great.”

Hull was behind the wheel of a Lamborghini Huracán GT race car. This 5.2 liter, V10 612 HP can reach a top speed of 205 mph and accelerates from 0-60 in less than three seconds. Hull was trying his hand with the 6-speed, three-disc racing clutch with the F1 paddle shifter. The track was a 1.2-mile, nine-turn road course located in the center of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Race cars can reach speeds up to 240 kph / 150 mph in the straight-away and lateral G-Forces up to 1.6 Gs. When Hull and Liberati came back into the paddock, the instructor had nothing but praise for Hull, who usually only makes one turn after hitting speeds more than 330 mph.

“It's totally different, just diving into corners and squeezing the throttle getting out of the corners,” said Hull. “When you come out here and you do something like this, it's so much different than what we do, you certainly gain respect for these guys. They’re athletes, you know. I made seven laps, and I got out of the car, and I can feel muscles in my body that don't normally get worked in a nitro Funny Car that are getting worked, and you feel your ribs a little bit because you are supporting your body going on those corners. It was just cool."


For the third time in four races, Tony Stewart will wear a different livery on his Top Fueler. After starting the season in Gainesville with Direct Connection, he sported the colors of Mobil 1 at the Winternationals, went back to Direct Connection in Phoenix, and this weekend will be representing the Rayce Rudeen Foundation on his blue and yellow Top Fuel dragster. The Rayce Rudeen Foundation is a nonprofit organization that works with organizations and programs to encourage a healthy and productive life that is free of addiction, named in honor of Rayce Rudeen, who at age 26 passed away from an accidental Fentanyl overdose.

Stewart's Funny Car teammate, Matt Hagan, also ran the DC colors in Gainesville and Phoenix but bannered Johnsons Horsepowered Garage at the Winternationals and will fly the red, white, and blue colors of Operation Healing Forces and Shelor Motor Mile in Las Vegas. Operation Healing Forces was formed in 2011 with the goal of strengthening human bonds amongst the Special Operation Forces (SOF) community, while Shelor Motor Mile is the Hagan family-owned car dealership serving the Christiansburg, Va., area since Hagan's father, David, founded it in 1974.


It’s no secret that the 2024 season has been a struggle for Dave Richards and the Versatran/BlueBird Funny Car team, and not the start they’d hoped for in what will be their first full-season schedule as part of the Scag “factory team.”

They DNQ’d at both the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals and NHRA Arizona Nationals, sandwiched around a first-round loss at the Winternationals, but were one of a group of teams that stayed at Firebird Motorsports Park to test on the Monday after the Arizona Nats.

"We stayed and tested, and we're feeling really good,” Richards said. “We made two runs and learned a lot. The car is getting happy. We're figuring it out.”

Richards has raced at The Strip previously; his best finish came in the fall contested event in 2020 when he qualified No. 12 and lost to Bob Tasca III in the first round of the two-wide competition. While he has experience with the four-wide format, racing at the Charlotte event a total of five times, he’s not done it yet in Vegas,

"I'm not new to four-wide or racing at The Strip, I've just never raced four-wide there,” he said. “It'll be different, but nothing we can't handle. I'm definitely glad to be jumping back in the seat without an off weekend. Hopefully, we can build some momentum and put on a good show."



The format may be different, but the early qualifying results from the 4 Wide Nationals in Las Vegas should be familiar to NHRA fans as Jeg Coughlin Jr. and Greg Anderson topped the charts after Q1.

Coughlin, returning to full-time duty in Pro Stock this season this year in the Elite Motorsports SCAG Power Equipment entry, rolled to a 6.641 to take the early lead while Anderosn, fresh off his 104th career victory last weekend in Phoenix, is close behind at 6.657.

Jerry Don Tucker opened with a strong run in his Elite-powered entry with a 6.660 for the No. 3 spot while Troy Coughlin Jr. and Dallas Glenn both recorded matching 6.672 elapsed times.

Noticeably absent from the top of the qualifying charts is six-time and reigning world champ Erica Enders, who lost power early in her Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage entry and slowed to a 6.787 at just 199.67 mph.



The first three quads of the 20-car field (minus Buddy Hull, as the Jim Dunn team couldn’t get their KGC flopper to light) didn’t yield a single three-second run, then Bob Tasca III put a three on the boards with a 3.96 in the fourth of five quads and it turns out to be the only three of Q1.

Phoenix winner Austin Prock just missed with a 4.01 and West Coast favorite Steven Densham was third with a 4.02 as nine drivers ran in the 4.0s.

After a disappointing return to Funny Car racing in Pomona where he DNQ’d after two disappointing and aborted attempts, fan-favorite Alex Miladinovich clocked a 4.57 that has him qualified No. 16, but it’s an A-to-B pass they build on. Paul Lee lost a potentially better run when the parachute deployed early but he still ran a 4.098 at just 286 mph towing the laundry through the lights.

John Force and Matt Hagan are on the outside looking in after Q1 after mid-four-second passes.



Sixteen cars are on the grounds so everyone who makes an attempt will be in Sunday’s show.

World champ Doug Kalitta has the best run of a hit-or-miss session with a 3.779, with Clay Millican (3.820), rookie Jasmine Salinas (3.848), and Shawn Reed (3.871) making the best runs.

Terry Totten didn’t make a run after problems surfaced with the reverser and Rob Passey sat out the session, so only 14 cars are currently on the grid.



The opening round of qualifying for the FlexJet Factory Stock Showdown was led by David Janac, who produced the only seven-second run of the session with a 7.984. Janac crashed his Cobra Jet Mustang last month at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals so he’s driving a Stanfield Racing-prepared COPO Camaro this weekend in Las Vegas.

Scott Libersher is close behind with an 8.005 while Ricky Hord, David Hartman, and Stephen Bell are also in the mix with runs of 8.020, 8.027, 8.029.

Mark Pawuk opened the season with a win in Gainesville while the final round of the recent Pomona race were delayed by rain and will be completed this weekend.



The Holley EFI Factory X era officially kicked off on Friday afternoon at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the history books will show that three-time FlexJet Factory Stock Showdown champion Aaron Stanfield is the provisional low qualifier with a 7.146, 191.08 in his Janac Bros. Camaro, which is a tribute to the famed Reher-Morrison Pro Stock team.

Stanfield will take the lead into Q2 followed by Lenny Lottig, who posted a 7.416 in his Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins tribute Camaro, and Jesse Alexandra, who shut off early to a.7.746 at just 174.41 mph.

As expected, there were a few glitches as Rick Hord, Alex Laughlin, Jim Cowan, Stephen Bell, and Greg Stanfield each slowed well before the finish line.

Racers in the Holley EFI Factory Stock Showdown class will get two more rounds of qualifying tomorrow in advance of Sunday’s final eliminations, where history will be made as the first official class winner will be crowned.



The Pro Stock field tightened considerably following the second round of qualifying as all 16 drivers are qualified between Jeg Coughlin Jr’s 6.641 and the current bump of 6.729 held by Matt Hartford.

Coughlin, the winner of the inaugural Las Vegas event in 2000, backed up his earlier run with a 6.674 in Q2 behind the wheel of his SCAG Power Equipment Camaro. Greg Anderson’s 6.657 from Q1 remains the second-quickest pass of the day.

Coughlin and Anderson have been impressive, but the quickest run of the session came from his Elite Performance teammate, Jerry Don Tucker, who wheeled his Outlaw Mile-Hi Beer entry to a 6.670. Troy Coughlin Jr., also picked up a qualifying bonus point with a 6.679 in his JEGS.com/White Castle entry.

Reigning and six-time world champion Erica Enders shut off early on her first run when she experienced an engine issue. Enders’ second run was only marginally better as the 10-time Las Vegas winner is currently in the No. 11 spot with a 6.694.

The drivers currently outside the 16-car field include Mason McGaha, Steve Graham, Aaron Stanfield, and Joey Grose, who will each have two more shots to qualify tomorrow.



After only one Funny Car ran in the threes in Q1, Bob Tasca III got some company in the sub-four-second club by three other drivers, but BT3 improved on his opening lap of 3.961 with a 3.931 to take the No. 1 spot back from Austin Prock, who had momentarily swiped it with a 3.947.

John Force (3.962) and Daniel Wilkerson (3.993) hold down the next two spots with Paul Lee fifth at 4.006.

The bump spot is a decent 4.117, held by “the Surfer,” Jeff Diehl. Terry Haddock, Jim Campbell, Alex Miladinovich, and Buddy Hull will need to bump their way into the field in Saturday’s final two sessions.



Four-time world champion Steve Torrence had the best run of the second session, a 3.800, but nobody could supplant Doug Kalitts’s 3.779 from Q1. Kalitta didn’t make it down the track, but he ends the day in the No. 1 spot with Torrence in second.

Antron Brown (3.803) and Brittany Force (3.820) also had solid runs in Q2 and are qualified Nos. 3 and 4. Tony Stewart’s 3.852 rounds out the quick eight.