Professional Funny Car driver Tony Bartone will give drag racing fans a sneak peek at the 2008 season when he brings his Chevrolet to the starting line at the Jan. 18-20 Nitro Blast-Off Preseason Test Session at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Bartone's Jim Dunn Racing Funny Car now is sponsored by CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods and its bright green-and-yellow paint scheme is highlighted by canine silhouettes on the hood and doors.  Another eyebrow-raising item on Bartone's colorful entry is an associate-sponsor sticker on the rear spoiler: Speedway Illustrated Magazine, a respected stock car racing publication.

Team owner Dunn is one of the original pioneers of drag racing. He began his career as a competitor in 1950 when the popularity of the sport was starting to take hold on local strips throughout Southern California. Over the years, the acclaimed driver/crew chief/team owner has accumulated numerous wins and performance records.  Since retiring from driving in 1990, Dunn's career has continued to flourish as a respected crew chief, technical advisor and car owner.

"We've put a lot of good things in place during the offseason," said Jon Dunn, team manager for Jim Dunn Racing. "We've brought in some tremendous sponsors and team partners and we can't wait to get started. We're also pleased to have Tony back with us this year. Tony's done a great job for us, knows what we're trying to accomplish and the tight parameters we're racing with. To have Tony back sets us up for what we're hoping will be a great year."

It will be Bartone's fourth full season with Jim Dunn Racing. Last year, the 51-year-old New York native and 1996 Lucas Oil Alcohol Funny Car champion advanced to a pair of semifinals at Englishtown and Richmond (Va.) and qualified a season-best No. 4 at Seattle.

The seventh annual Nitro Blast-Off Preseason Test Session will take place Jan. 18-20 and is open to the public.  Through the years, the Las Vegas test has been the proving ground for technical and safety developments, the debut of new teams and the opportunity for drivers to obtain professional competition licenses. 

Sportsman Teams
Open to any Lucas Oil Sportsman team or any NHRA E.T. category.  Cost to test is $150 (car and driver) for a weekend run card or $60 for a single day of testing.  No pre-registration necessary.

Professional and Semi-Professional Teams
Top Alcohol Dragster, Top Alcohol Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Mod, Pro Stock Bike, Pro Street, Outlaw 10.5 and Nostalgia classes.  Cost to test is $300 (car and driver) and is valid for entire weekend. No pre-registration necessary.

Top Fuel Dragster and Nitro Funny Car Teams
No charge for teams who pre-register prior to Friday, January 11, 2008.  Please Contact Mysti Haynes at (702) 632-8213 or e-mail: for additional information.

Thursday, Jan. 17
Credential sales and pit parking - 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 18-Sunday, Jan. 20
Credential sales and tech inspection - 7 a.m.
Sportsman and E.T. time trials - 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Professional and Semi-Professional time trials - 9 a.m.-5 p.m.