Drag racing team owner Ken Black of Las Vegas will serve as grand marshal for this weekend’s NHRA Las Vegas Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This weekend’s NHRA national event will mark the return of Black to the quarter-mile arena after the popular patriarch suffered a stroke last December. His recuperation has kept him from the drag strip since then.

Black will be on hand Sunday to oversee the opening festivities and hopefully witness one of his two cars win the final round later that afternoon. Black owns the Summit-sponsored NHRA Full Throttle Series Pro Stock teams of Greg Anderson and Jason Line. Between his two drivers, he has won the Pro Stock points championship four times. He also has fielded a Top Fuel Dragster for Hilary Will.

“I am really looking forward to getting back to the track this weekend in Las Vegas,” said Ken. “The response from the drag racing community throughout my recovery has been nothing short of tremendous, and it will great to be able to see everyone and thank them for keeping us in their thoughts and prayers.  I’m also honored that the folks at The Strip have chosen me to serve as the grand marshal for the event.

“Most of all, I can’t wait to be out there with Greg, Jason and all my guys on the KB Racing crew.  I’m so proud of what they’ve done this year, and even though we’ve been in constant contact, there’s nothing like being out at the track with them.  I had a little taste of it last week during our test session, and can’t wait for this weekend to get here.  I’m ready to go racing.”

Anderson leads the Pro Stock points chase and the NHRA Las Vegas Nationals is the next-to-last stop on the 2010 campaign.

“This (race in Las Vegas) means the world to us, because this is not only Ken Black’s hometown – which certainly is very important – but also because this will be the first time in almost one year’s time that he will be at the race track,” said Anderson. “He has not been able to come to a race since the Finals (Pomona, Calif.) last November, so it will be absolutely huge to have him out there with us.  I think it’s going to give us an extra boost of confidence and keep a smile on our faces, because we will know that all is right with the world once again.  With Ken back, it really doesn’t matter what else goes on, because all will be right with the world.

“We’ve always enjoyed racing in Vegas, and want to do well because of Ken and his family, so it’s perfect timing to come into this race with the points lead.  Everything is on the line right now, and I couldn’t hope to go to a better place with better circumstances than what we’ve got.  I know I’ll be smiling all weekend because we’ll have Ken with us.

“If we were to come back this year and win the championship, it would be without a doubt the most special one to me because of Ken Black, and everything he has been through, and what it would mean to him.  He needs all the positives and morale boosters he can get right now to help with his recovery, and every person on this KB Racing team is ready to do whatever it takes to help him get all the way back.

“If we can somehow pull this off and put a smile on his face for the next three months, it would be more than any of us could ask for. It’s going to be a battle over these next two races, but if the cards fall our way, it would be the best championship we’ve ever won.”

Black, a local businessman who owned the Vegas General Construction Company (which included KB Framers and K&K Framers) was honored in 2007 at The Speedway Children’s Charities Mel Larson Night of Champions as a Las Vegan who has made significant contributions to auto racing.

Black’s team is based in Mooresville, N.C. and the entire shop crew is coming to Las Vegas to celebrate the boss’ return to racing. The employees at the shop who normally do not travel with the team are paying their own airfare and lodging expenses just to be with Black in Las Vegas when he returns to the track.

Tickets for the Oct. 28-31 NHRA Las Vegas Nationals may be purchased by calling the LVMS ticket services office at (702) 644-4444 or online at www.LVMS.com. Follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.

Schedule for the Full Throttle Drag Racing Series NHRA Las Vegas Nationals
at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Wednesday, Oct. 27
6 p.m. – Speedway Children’s Charities Cards for Kids poker tournament at Cannery Hotel & Casino.

Thursday, Oct. 28
7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open.
7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. – Registration, tech inspection open (all categories).
8 a.m. – Sportsman qualifying.
4 p.m. – Comp Eliminator qualifying.
6 p.m. – Track closed.
6-8 p.m. – Free NHRA Fanfest and driver autograph session at Fremont Street Experience.
6-8 p.m. – Free Don Schumacher Racing driver autograph session at New York New York Hotel & Casino.
6-8 p.m. – Free NHRA driver autograph session (Terry McMillen) at Golden Gate Hotel & Casino.

Friday, Oct. 29
7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open.
7:30 a.m.-Noon – Registration, tech inspection open (pro teams and Top Alcohol only).
8 a.m. – Sportsman eliminations.
10 a.m. – Comp Eliminator qualifying.\
10:30 a.m. – Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car qualifying.
11:45 a.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.
12:15 p.m. – Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying.
1 p.m. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.
2 p.m. – Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car qualifying.
3:15 p.m. – Comp Eliminator qualifying.
3:45 p.m. – Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying.
4:30 p.m. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.
5:30 p.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.
6 p.m. – Track closed.

Saturday, Oct. 30
7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open.
8 a.m. – Sportsman eliminations.
10:30 a.m. – First round of Comp Eliminator eliminations.
11:15 a.m. – Pro Mod qualifying.
11:45 a.m. – Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying.
12:30 p.m. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.
1:30 p.m. – Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car qualifying.
2:45 p.m. – Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying.
3:30 p.m. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.
4:30 p.m. – First round of Pro Mod eliminations.
5 p.m. – First round of Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car eliminations.
6 p.m. – Drag strip closed; Speedfest 2010 at the Bullring (kids under 12 in costume free).

Sunday, Oct. 31
7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open.
9 a.m. – Sportsman eliminations.
10 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies.
11 a.m. – Final eliminations begin.
4:30 p.m. – Track closed.

Schedule subject to change.