Las Vegas SummitRacing Nationals
March 28th – 30th, 2014
The Strip Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas, NV
Team Litton Racing rolled for a second weekend in Las Vegas, this time for the SummitRacing Nationals on March 28-30, 2014. Between tune-ups, new parts, new strategies, and unforeseen weather conditions, you never know the hand that you will be dealt on race day in Las Vegas.
In the first qualifying round of the weekend, the car struggled to complete the run and driver Bill Litton clicked it off early. Litton ended Q1 in the seventh spot with a time of 5.85 seconds at 208 mph. The crew rushed back to the pits to start repairing a blown head-gasket, a broken head, and replacing other engine parts that were damaged during the run. Despite the crew’s hard work the car hurt itself again in Q2, but still managed to run a 5.73 at 250 mph. Crew Chief Anthony Dicero said, “It seems as if we’ve lost the combination that was making progress in prior runs.” The crew worked late into the night preparing the car for Q3.
In Q3, the car launched hard with a strong 60 foot time, but Litton encountered severe tire shake and stepped off the accelerator to save parts. Fortunately, the data was useful and the problem that was causing engine damage seemed fixed.
The first round of eliminations was going to be the most challenging faceoff of the weekend. The race for the win light was against the number two qualifier, Ashley Sanford. The team had worked tirelessly to prepare the car to rise to the occasion and was anxious to see their hard work in action. Ashley gained the starting line advantage, but the aggressive start caused her tires to smoke. Ashley pedaled her car and Litton seized the opportunity for the win light with his quickest pass of the weekend, 5.53 seconds at 252.9 mph. Crew Chief Dicero commented on the victory, “That’s how you do it, start from the bottom work your way to the top, so we will be racing on Sunday-something new for Team Litton Racing and definitely something we want to do more of.” A round one victory sent the team to round two of eliminations with a renewed hunger to win.
Sunday’s weather conditions proved unruly for everyone at the track bringing a 30-40 mph direct crosswind from the left side. Conditions were so treacherous for Pro Stock cars, due to their lack of down force, that they were postponed and the dragster class ran in their place. Litton was in the second pair to race on Sunday against Johnny Ahten. Both cars launched hard, but Ahten pulled ahead and held the lead. At around 4.8 seconds, Litton let off the throttle knowing that it wouldn’t be possible to reel Johnny in. Litton anticipated the crosswind, knowing it would hit him hard after he passed the grandstands. The down force created by the rear wing compensated for the crosswind until he let off the throttle and put the chutes out. Litton felt like something broke in the front end and turned the wheel to the left, however, the car continued to make a hard move to the right. Dicero later said, “The conditions this week weren’t anything but trying on everyone’s patience, but we’ve got a round win in our books and we’re making a name for ourselves. It’s still early in the season.” Litton added, “Definitely wanted to go all the way, but knocking out the #2 qualifier shows we have what it takes and we really had to earn this one. Chief Anthony, Warren, Ken and the crew had to keep putting the car back together this weekend. Nobody is backing down out here.” Team Litton Racing’s progress this year has come in leaps and bounds and the determination of the team has pushed them from new career best speeds to competing on Sundays with the top players.