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High Stakes in the High Altitude

Lucas Oil Western Regional
March 21 – 23, 2014
The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, NV

Paragraph 1The stakes are always high racing nitro dragsters, so it’s only fitting The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway would be the stage of Team Litton Racing’s next event. This specific track presents some natural challenges with its hotter temps and high altitude, which affects the density of the air and can play a huge role in the crew chief’s job of tuning the beast. Thursday’s testing numbers were promising with a clean run of 5.49 at 259mph. This run would serve as the baseline for the team, giving them the necessary data needed to calibrate the car for Q1. Legendary Crew Chief Jerry Darien lent Team Litton Racing a helping hand with the tune up in hopes of breaking through the car’s shake zone troubles and grabbing the win light. Darien’s expertise began by successfully racing in multiple divisions in the 80’s and continued to grow as crew chief for many of the scene’s most famous racers, including Ashley, Brittany and Courtney Force. The team welcomed this rare opportunity and eagerly awaited Q1 Friday morning.

Team Litton Racing ran a 5.47 at 263mph which landed them in the number three position after Q1. Crew Chief Anthony Dicero was pleased with the improvement and was optimistic with the car’s potential for the upcoming runs.  The team rested well knowing that they had started the weekend right and anticipated making further progress in Q2.


Paragraph 3Saturday started with great potential after a solid Q1 run.  In Q2, the car smoked the tires right at the hit of the throttle and the team slipped out of the third position. “Not quite what we expected,” commented Dicero “but this is a part of the new learning curve and trying to run our car a little differently. We are still number four or five, so we’ll pick it back up and head into Q3.” After smoking the tires in Q2, the team needed to be less aggressive in hopes to make a clean run down the track. Team Litton Racing ended Q3 in the seventh spot with a time of 5.55 at 258mph earning them a spot in eliminations on Sunday. Dicero and crew worked their magic throughout the night putting the car back together with more compression to compensate for the high density altitude of the track.


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Round one of eliminations began Sunday with sunshine and high hopes for the race day ahead.  The Litton car launched off of the starting line first, passing the sixty foot mark in .947 seconds, with a immediate advantage.  Litton had a comfortable lead until the car approached the trouble zone of 1.5 to 2 seconds when the tires began to shake. Litton pedaled the car and led the race until the last 100 feet. Chief Dicero reflected on the loss, “The easiest way I can say it is, you win some, you lose some and this time we lost. We’ll press on, but it’s tough to swallow. It’s hard to be too discouraged because we still made good runs. It’ll get better and it had gotten better already; we’ve been a contender all weekend. Like Alan Reinhart said in the last session, ‘That car could step right to the top given the right opportunity.’”  The Litton Team will return to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with high expectations this weekend for the 15th annual NHRA Nationals.