The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season will continue in Las Vegas with the 17th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals, beginning this Thursday through Sunday. It’s the 23rd of 24 races in the season. The race will feature competition in four NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series categories, Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle as well as racing in the NHRA Lucas Oil Series. The race will be televised on Fox Sports 1. Winners from 2016 were Steve Torrence in Top Fuel, John Force in Funny Car, Shane Gray in Pro Stock, and Jerry Savoie in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
The AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals is a pivotal stop for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. This event is the third of six races in the six-race NHRA playoffs and can be a make or break stop for the teams. The race is also the conclusion of three consecutive events and the drivers and the teams will be aiming to end the trio of events on a high note. Here is some information on a few drivers you will want to watch this weekend:
After finishing the 2016 season in a career-best third place in the Top Fuel points standings, Steve Torrence has taken his Capco Contractors dragster to a new level this season. Torrence recently won his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s biggest drag race and entered the Countdown to the Championship as the No. 1 seed. He has raced to eight victories in the first 21 races as well as two runner-up finishes. This Texas native is a strong contender for his first career Top Fuel World Championship.
Leah Pritchett and her husband Gary have a unique aspect to their relationship as they are fierce competitors on the track. Gary is a crew member for the Steve Torrence team and they have raced each other during the season in eliminations. Currently Pritchett has three round wins to two over her husband’s team and these two powerhouses will be battling for the remainder of the season and beyond.
Antron Brown, one of this reporter’s favorites and a hell of a nice guy, continues to chase history as he pursues his fourth total and third consecutive Top Fuel world championship in 2017. Last season, Brown raced his Matco Tools dragster to a category-best seven victories, including three playoff wins in the Countdown to the Championship. He is the only African-American driver to win a major U.S. auto racing season championship and it is the first time in seven years that a Top Fuel champion has won back-to-back titles. He is currently third in the Top Fuel points standings with four wins in 10 final round appearances. Brown has 65 wins in his career.
Since the NHRA was founded by Wally Parks in 1951 the organization has been home to any hot-rodding enthusiast who wanted to take his or her car to the dragstrip, no matter their race, ethnicity, or gender. The sport grabbed national attention for its diversity in the 1970s, when motorsports gender barrier-breaker Shirley Muldowney raced to victories and world championship titles in NHRA’s Top Fuel category. Since then, NHRA has established itself as the most diverse motorsport, as its race winners and champions represent a variety of cultural backgrounds. The melting pot of winners has included women, Hispanics and African-Americans. Erica Enders and Antron Brown have won world championships in their respective categories and demonstrated NHRA’s great diversity. Hispanic brothers Cruz and Tony Pedregon are both multi-time Funny Car world champions, and Hector Arana is a Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion. Women have won races in each of NHRA’s four Mello Yello Series categories. Courtney Force and her sister Brittany, along with Alexis DeJoria and Leah Pritchett, are just a few of the women who currently compete in 10,000-horsepower nitro-powered machines at more than 320 mph.
The 2017 season is the second year of the partnership with Fox Sports, and this season has been highlighted by 16 live Sunday finals shows, including four on the FOX broadcast network. The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series opened with a live Sunday broadcast of the 57th annual Circle K NHRA Winternationals on the FOX broadcast network. In all, FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX will have aired more than 550 hours of original television programming from the world’s fastest motorsport series. FOX Sports’ combined networks, including FOX, FS1 and FS2, will broadcast coverage of the Lucas Oil Series, J&A Service Pro Mod Series, and repeats of Mello Yello Series race coverage. In the first year of NHRA on FOX, NHRA saw 14 million more viewers in 2016 than in 2015 and television ratings for Sunday’s live finals shows were up 24 percent.
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From the Sunset Strip to the Las Vegas Strip, the world-famous Hollywood Laugh Factory has brought its amazing brand of comedy to Vegas nightly at the new Tropicana Las Vegas! The Laugh Factory has been recognized as the #1 Comedy Club in the country, bringing the hottest comedians in the business center stage for a supreme comedy experience that shouldn’t be missed. Shows happen twice nightly at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Featured this week are Charles Fleischer, Brian Scolaro, and Adam Stone.
Show times are 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. Tickets range from $34.95 to $54.95. Call 702-739-2411. Fleischer is best known as the voices of Roger Rabbit, Benny the Cab, Greasy, and Psycho in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. After the film’s success, he continued to perform the voice of Roger in several Disney television and theme park appearances, and in three follow-up short subjects to the original film. Other voice roles for Fleischer included The Polar Express, We’re Back!, A Dinosaur’s Story, and on-screen roles included Back to the Future Part II and Gridlock’d. Charles’ first movie role was as “Brick” who was one of Richie’s friends (played by Robby Benson) in the movie The Death of Richie. Charles also had a recurring role on the 1970s TV series Welcome Back, Kotter as Carvelli, as Chuck on the ABC series Laverne & Shirley, and on the Disney cartoon series House of Mouse as the voice of Benny The Cab. Fleischer appeared for the first time on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson Show on the evening of May 15, 1974. He was a regular on Keep on Truckin’, and guest starred in The Weird Al Show as a guy in a band. He is now the part-owner of a multi-media company in Southern California, and a writer for television and movies.
Singer-songwriter Clint Holmes will bring his silky vocals and smooth dance moves to Suncoast Showroom on Saturday, Oct. 28, and Saturday, Nov. 25. As the son of an opera singer and a jazz musician, Holmes grew up singing and acting throughout his childhood, playing in rock bands in high school and studying music in college. Even after joining the army, Holmes sang for a military chorus during his service. In 1972, Holmes released his breakthrough hit “Playground in My Mind,” which reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, selling more than one million copies.
Throughout his career, Holmes has been a part of a variety of entertainment experiences. From 1986 to 1988, he served as the announcer on Fox’s “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers.” Homes was a musical feature and event correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight,” and was the host of his own Emmy Award-winning talk/variety show. Additionally, Holmes once shared the stage with the late comedic legend Don Rickles, where Holmes learned his jazz comedian riffling style. Most recently, Holmes has become an iconic Las Vegas entertainer, performing in venues across the Las Vegas Valley, including the world-class Smith Center for the Performing Arts. He has been recognized as the “Best Kept Secret” by Las Vegas Life Magazine and won the “Best Singer,” “Best All-Around Las Vegas Performer” and “Favorite Male Las Vegan” by the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Earlier this year, the vocalist released his new album “Rendezvous,” which reinterprets modern day classic pop hits, soulful R&B and theatrical tunes. “Rendezvous” also features Grammy Award-winning artists, including Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and Jane Monheit.
Showtime is 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $14.95 plus taxes and fees, and can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000; online at www.suncoastcasino.com; or in-person at Suncoast, The Orleans, Gold Coast and Sam’s Town. Tickets may also be purchased the day of the show (depending upon availability) at the venue box office.
HallOVeen haunts the Magical Forest at Opportunity Village once again this October, with the long-standing holiday attraction trading its Christmas flair for spookier seasonal finery for the fifth year in a row. The fun-for-all-ages tradition includes a lineup of exciting rides and attractions including: The Haunted Adventure by Santino and Rocco Panaro; Cheyenne’s Enchanted Carousel; the Forest Express Ghost Train; Rod’s Monstrous Mini-Golf; Avalanche Slide; Boris the Elf’s Experience; and the Blizzard, a mini-coaster making its debut in the park in 2017. Even more fun in costume, Forest-goers can also enjoy nightly entertainment, delicious food, and beverages, trick-or-treat stations, and festive new pumpkin displays, along with gifts, goodies and more in the Candy Cabin.
The family-friendly festivities are running now through Tuesday, October 31, Halloween night, at the not-for-profit’s 6300 West Oakey Campus, with ample parking in the adjacent CSN lot off Torrey Pines. HallOVeen will be open Sunday through Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m., with extended Friday and Saturday hours from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. “HallOVeen’s a great chance each year to gather up the family, put on a costume and enjoy the spooky season right here in the Magical Forest,” said Opportunity Village President and CEO Bob Brown. “We’re big supporters of inclusion and togetherness at OV, so it’s wonderful to see folks from all walks of our community coming together for fun – and a good cause.” Tickets are available for purchase online at www.HallOVeen.com or at the Magical Forest Box Office. General admission pricing is $10 for children, $12 for adults (ages 13 to 59) and $10 for seniors (60+). Passports, which include admission and a wristband for unlimited rides and attractions, are available for $19 (children) and $22 (adults). Every penny of the proceeds from Opportunity Village’s signature events, including HallOVeen, benefit programs and services for adults with intellectual disabilities in Southern Nevada.
Well, gang see ya at the NHRA this weekend.