After making a little bit of drag racing history March 30 in Houston when he became the first European racer in 30 years to win a Top Fuel elimination round, reigning FIA Champion Urs Erbacher will try to make another entry in NHRA's annals with an event victory this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Erbacher is in the United States to prepare for his FIA title defense, which begins May 23-26 at Santa Pod Raceway in England. His recent first-round upset of No. 1 qualifier Alan Bradshaw in Texas sent record-keepers delving into the history books to see when a European-based racer last won a round on U.S. soil. The answer was Clive Skilton of England, who claimed a few rounds in his Led Zeppelin-themed rail in 1977.

"It was a proud accomplishment," Erbacher said from his home in Arlesheim, Switzerland. "Now we would like to figure out how to win the race itself. No other European has done that so it's become a dream goal for our team.

"The most important thing, though, is to get our car running at its best before we pack it up and put it on the boat to England. We're intent on defending our title in the FIA. Then we'll come back to the states and try to win some more at the end of the year. What can I say? We love to drag race and this is the best in the world."

While he preps for his regular tour, which winds through England, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, and England once more, Erbacher is ready for the 2008 debut of his wildly-popular reality show. The "Kings of Nitro" is a smash hit on Discovery Channel EMEA, which airs in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

"The TV is a little different (in Europe) but we do know it's starting in Italy on the evening of April 18th," said Erbacher, a custom motorcycle builder by trade. "Then it opens in the Middle East and Africa on May 29th. After that, people can see it every week. It's a really fun show that follows us around while we're racing and building our custom motorcycles."

With local sponsorship from Marnell Masonry, Erbacher and his international team will be busy during the ninth annual NHRA Nationals. Erbacher will be signing autographs from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, at the Palms Hotel and Casino as part of the Champions Meet & Greet party. He'll then serve as color commentator for the all-star event involving a NHRA stars racing in Thunder Roadsters at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, at The Bullring.

"We want to go out with a big weekend so we're holding nothing back," Erbacher said. "Las Vegas is a very exciting place and we want to add to the party."

UPDATE: Reigning FIA Top Fuel champion Urs Erbacher of Switzerland will banner Las Vegas builder and former Pro Stock racer George Marnell's company -- Marnell Masonry -- as the primary sponsor of his dragster this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"I still love the sport and it's neat to have a car with your name on it," the former national event winner said from his Las Vegas home. "It gives all the kids and our employees someone to root for.

"I haven't met Urs Erbacher in person yet but I hear he's quite a character. I'm interested to hear his stories about racing in Europe and I know all the guests we have coming up to the suite can't wait to meet the European champion. It would be really something if he can go some rounds this weekend."

Aside from the race itself, Erbacher will be representing Marnell Masonry at the Champions Meet & Greet from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Palms Hotel and Casino. He's also making an appearance at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Club Nitro at the Strip, and will serve as color commentator of the NHRA All-Star race at the Bullring beginning at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Erbacher made a little history at the last stop on tour when he recorded a round win in Houston, thereby becoming the first European Top Fuel driver in 31 years to win a round in NHRA competition. Clive Skilton of England was the last driver to do so.

At the conclusion of the ninth annual NHRA Nationals, Erbacher's entire operation will be shipped to England for the start of the 2008 FIA tour.

Courtesy: Courtney Enders at 832-492-7222.