Brown, Hagan, Glenn Reign Supreme at Las Vegas NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted the fifth Four-Wide Nevada Nationals
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosted the fifth Four-Wide Nevada Nationals

Four-Wide NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series contests are an anomaly. There’s only two of them annually and this year they take place one right after the other. This past weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals on The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway proved that anything can happen, and usually does when you put four straight-line racers on a four-lane dragstrip in the middle of a desert.

For the record, multiple-time 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series drivers claiming Wally winner’s trophies at this four-wide race, held for the fifth time as Las Vegas’ spring drag race, produced victories by Antron Brown in Top Fuel, while Matt Hagan drove Tony Stewart Racing’s Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to the win in Funny Car and Dallas Glenn earned the nod in Pro Stock. For the latter two drivers, this victory built on three already strong showings in this year’s 21-race campaign.

Brown’s dragster was the best car when it counted – NHRA photo

Hagan has scored three race victories in this young season while Glenn scored his second consecutive win after earning his first of the year at Pomona. There was one other winner of note at this race: Tony Stewart secured his initial victory in Top Alcohol Dragster, competing with the McPhillips clan under the Mobil 1 banner, aced his first drag race trophy. Ever. His and Hagan’s victories allowed the sophomore squad to earn its initial “double up.”

Stewart, a champion in USAC and INDYCAR open-wheel competition, also has three NASCAR Cup Series titles, has won championships in IROC and in SRX competition. This was only his fourth competitive weekend in Top Alcohol Dragster, a category where he intends to compete for the full season with McPhillips. He was runner-up by less than an inch in his first TAD competition, held last fall at this same track.

Tony Stewart earned his first Top Alcohol Dragster win in Las Vegas

 

“When we raced here last fall, I was just ecstatic to make the finals, but today I told Leah (Pruett, his wife and Top Fuel driver), “I’m not happy to just be in the finals today. I said I want this,” Stewart explained as he clutched his trophy, with his biggest smile in quite a while. “I thoroughly enjoyed four-wide racing. I’ll be honest: to me, it feels like it kind of brings that short-track feel, like the first few rounds it felt like heat races. It’s hard not to like it when you win, but I think it’s a cool deal.”

Stewart’s Funny Car racer Hagan, who’s won three of four NHRA contests held to date, thanks to astute tuning by Dickie Venables, strengthened his points lead in the class with this win, taking a yawing advantage of 105 points over reigning titleholder Ron Capps and his Toyota GR Supra, with the surging Alexis DeJoria’s DC Motorsports Supra third after her semifinal round appearance at Vegas. Chad Green, who went to the final round with his Ford Mustang is fourth with Phoenix victor Robert Hight fifth with his John Force Racing Chevrolet Camaro SS.

Matt Hagan is having an excellent start to his 2023 season – Anne Proffit photo

“This is so special to share the winner’s circle with my boss, Tony Stewart, and his first NHRA national win too,” Hagan said. “It’s funny, because I never followed Tony’s oval racing career, and I actually had to look up his achievements when I talked with him about this new team! After he won here, he came to my car and said, ‘Now it’s your turn to win!’ Wow… I wasn’t feeling any pressure until then, but our crew, led by Dickie Venables, has been so good this year that I just needed to be good on the line. And that car ran strong to the finish,” Hagan said.

Antron Brown scored his 72nd NHRA victory across both Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes and his fourth at this track on Sunday, but this was the three-time Top Fuel champ’s first four-wide win in Sin City. While he was runner-up in the first two rounds, he was first to the finish line when it counted. “When you’re racing four-wide, everything is crazy,” Brown admitted. “It’s kind of a battle royal and the final round was no exception,” racing against good friend and four-time consecutive champ Steve Torrence (who, like Brown is a Toyota racer), reigning two-time champ Brittany Force and Josh Hart.

Antron Brown just wants to improve – Anne Proffit photo

Torrence’s runner-up result gave him the point lead by a minuscule 13 over Justin Ashley, with Brittany Force third, Brown fourth and Mike Salinas fifth. Leah Pruett, Austin Prock, Shawn Langdon, Doug Kalitta and Hart are the top 10 in the dragster standings. “When you go four-wide racing, it’s crazy,” Brown conferred. “It’s kind of a battle royal. Every round is a tough matchup and that showed in the final round. I’n super pumped and super proud of my guys… I just want to keep getting better and better – our main focus is to keep improving and getting better.”

Last year Dallas Glenn picked up a four-wide final round at this track, so winning this year driving the KB Titan Chevy Camaro he’s wheeled successfully in a race he believes he should have taken in 2022 was special. “Going into this one, I knew I had to hit all of my shifts,” Green noted. “I’ve got an awesome car right here; it’s bad to the bone. There’s no way you can complain about a week like this with a car that’s running like mine. I want to capitalize on every bit of performance this car has right now.”

Glenn’s Camaro was pitted against similar Pro Stock cars from Troy Coughlin Jr of Elite Motorsports, KB Titan’s Deric Kramer and the Ford Mustang of Cristian Cuadra. “It’s the best car I’ve ever had by far and it feels good to show what this car is capable of,” Glenn stated. “I want to keep this momentum going as long as I can. If you put your head down and work hard, you can pretty much achieve all your dreams… I’m definitely living my dream right now!” The win gives Glenn 51 points on Coughlin Jr., with Matt Hartford, Camrie Caruso and Aaron Stanfield. bo Butner III, Greg Anderson, Cristian Cuadra, Kyle Koretsky and Mason McGaha, all in Chevy Camaro machines but Cuadra, complete the top 10.

 

Glenn does a proper burnout in Las Vegas – photo courtesy NHRAGlenn’s Camaro was pitted against similar Pro Stock cars from Troy Coughlin Jr of Elite Motorsports, KB Titan’s Deric Kramer and the Ford Mustang of Cristian Cuadra. “It’s the best car I’ve ever had by far and it feels good to show what this car is capable of,” Glenn stated. “I want to keep this momentum going as long as I can. If you put your head down and work hard, you can pretty much achieve all your dreams… I’m definitely living my dream right now!” The win gives Glenn 51 points on Coughlin Jr., with Matt Hartford, Camrie Caruso and Aaron Stanfield. bo Butner III, Greg Anderson, Cristian Cuadra, Kyle Koretsky and Mason McGaha, all in Chevy Camaros except for Cuadra, complete the top 10/

The NHRA has a weekend off before the second four-wide race of the season takes place at Charlotte’s zMAX Dragway. The Circle K NHRA Camping World Four-Wide nationals is set for April 28-30.

About Anne Proffit 1264 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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