Testing Prepares Rhonda and John For The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Las Vegas has always been one of Rhonda Hartman-Smith and her husband, John Smith¿s, favorite cities, and over the past few years The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway has become one of their favorite tracks as well.
 ¿I am excited about Vegas because I think it¿s a great track, and I have always done fairly well there, having gone to a few semi¿s in the past,¿ Hartman-Smith states. ¿Vegas is an exciting city, and we look forward to returning there since we weren¿t able to test in the pre-season session at the track.¿
 Having missed the Las Vegas and Phoenix pre-season test sessions due to Virgil Hartman¿s (team owner and crew chief) heart surgery, Hartman and Smith have spent many of their qualifying runs this year testing new set-ups and combinations.  The couple also spent extra time in Gainesville testing both the FRAM AirHog and Prestone Top Fuel dragsters to ensure they were ready for the upcoming Las Vegas race.
 ¿Testing went well in Gainesville, we learned some things, but the track was tricky still.  Once we got off the concrete pad we smoked the tires, as did most everyone else.  We lost a couple of blower belts too.  We learned some 60¿ - 330¿ things and played with the tune-up a little,¿ Hartman-Smith explains.
 So, with the first three races of the season, and several test runs behind them, both drivers are ready to move forward in Las Vegas.  Hartman and Smith both believe that the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals will mark the beginning of their 2004 competitive streak.
 ¿We just look forward to getting back on track with the new-style Goodyear tire, a great race track, and get some numbers put down so we can become consistent.  We want to start winning rounds and get ourselves back in the Top Ten,¿ she said.  ¿I was pleased that we got the Fram AirHog dragster to the No. 9 qualifying spot in Gainesville, but in [Las] Vegas we want more.¿