The way the early part of his 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season has gone, Las Vegas might be the perfect location for a reversal of fortunes for Pro Stock standout Vincent Nobile.
Stuck with seemingly nothing but bad luck and a variety of maladies through the first three events of the season, Nobile finally started to see something go his way at the most recent NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte.
But after a string where not much seemed to go right, Nobile is ready for an extended period of good fortune in his Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro, continuing at this weekend's 16th annual SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"Honestly, when things go wrong and are out of your control, that's probably when it's the most frustrating," said Nobile, who made it to the final foursome in Charlotte. "You make your own luck, but I know it's just a matter of time before we turn it around. We've got a great team and a great car.
"We're definitely in a good place after Charlotte. But I've learned in this class that a little luck goes a long way. Our car is starting to work pretty well and we're excited to see what we can do."
Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Alexis DeJoria (Funny Car) and Erica Enders-Stevens (Pro Stock) won last year's event that will once again be televised on ESPN2. The race marks the fifth of 24 events in a 2015 season that didn't exactly feature the start Nobile had envisioned.
He suffered first-round losses in each of the first two events in the rugged Pro Stock class, falling in the second round in Gainesville. For Nobile, who has nine career victories entering his fifth full Pro Stock season, it certainly wasn't what he had in mind.
Nobile chalked some of it up to some bad luck at inopportune times, but his team, led by crew chiefs Nick Mitsos and John Nobile, has worked hard in hopes of a turnaround. The team took a big step in Charlotte, but Vincent Nobile knows his team is capable of much more.
After finishing in the top 10 each of his first four full seasons in Pro Stock, including a career-best third-place finish in 2012, Nobile has high hopes for the rest of the 2015 campaign.
"We've accomplished a lot in this class when it comes to finishing in the top 10, qualifying No. 1 and winning races," said Nobile, who has four No. 1 qualifiers. "The only thing left to do is win a championship and I think this team is definitely capable of doing that. I know what we can do as a team and it's just a matter of putting it all together. I have all the faith in the world in our team. But it definitely takes a team effort in this class, there's no doubt about that."
Continuing his momentum from Charlotte in Las Vegas would be huge for Nobile, especially considering the K&N Horsepower Challenge bonus event takes place during the weekend. Nobile has experience in that regard, winning the bonus event and race in 2012 when it took place in Norwalk, Ohio.
But doubling up will be as difficult as ever in the loaded Pro Stock class, which features reigning world champion Enders-Stevens, who made a major statement at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals a year ago by sweeping the race and the K&N Horsepower Challenge. Other top performers include Summit Racing Chevy teammates Greg Anderson and points leader Jason Line, Enders-Stevens' rookie teammate Drew Skillman, Allen Johnson, Phoenix winner Roger Brogdon, Shane Gray, Jonathan Gray, Charlotte winner Larry Morgan, and tough Texan Chris McGaha.
Nobile, who will face off against Johnson in the opening round of the challenge on Saturday, is part of a field that includes Enders-Stevens, Anderson, Line, V Gaines, Shane Gray and McGaha, with the K&N Horsepower Challenge winner pocketing an extra $50,000. As for what it will take to have a successful weekend in Las Vegas, Nobile knows a quick start is imperative.
"The main idea for us is to just make sure we go 'A' to 'B' on Friday," Nobile said. "You need that baseline or you're really going to be at a disadvantage. If you get that good baseline it gives you a chance to win. I definitely think we can win it again and hopefully it happens. Vegas can be tricky, but we've had some success there. We're there for one reason and that's to win. I think Vegas owes us one so hopefully we can go out there and seal the deal."
In Top Fuel, reigning world champion Schumacher began his run for his category-record eighth series title at this event last season, defeating Doug Kalitta in the final round. Schumacher is the winningest driver in Las Vegas history with eight career victories at the track, but will have to contend with the likes of three-time world champion Larry Dixon, a five-time winner at The Strip, Spencer Massey, recent Charlotte winner and current points leader Antron Brown, 2013 world champ Shawn Langdon, Richie Crampton, Steve Torrence, J.R. Todd and Brittany Force.
In Funny Car, Alexis DeJoria claimed her second career victory at Las Vegas in 2014, just two races after earning her first career win in Phoenix. Robert Hight, who fell in the final round to DeJoria, is seeking his first win at the track since 2012 and will be joined by John Force Racing teammates John Force and Courtney Force. Other top stars include five-time Vegas winner Ron Capps, defending world champ Matt Hagan, fall event winner and current series points leader Del Worsham, Tommy Johnson Jr., Four-Wide Nationals winner Jack Beckman, and two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they're granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time with their favorite NHRA drivers.
Mello Yello Series qualifying begins on Friday, April 10, with sessions at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, April 11, at 1:10 p.m. and 4:05 p.m. Pro Stock runs for the K&N Horsepower Challenge are scheduled for 1 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday. Final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 12.