The biggest names in professional drag racing are headed to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for this weekend’s NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals. Two of them are teammates Tony “Sarge” Schumacher and Antron Brown.

Both compete in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series’ Top Fuel Dragster class and have won at The Strip at LVMS.

 Coming off a second consecutive final-round appearance in Gainesville, Fla., two weeks ago, Schumacher vaulted into the points lead over Brown, who dropped to third behind his Don Schumacher Racing teammate and Morgan Lucas, respectively. Going into the famed Tire Kingdom Gatornationals, Brown led the Top Fuel standings. But a loss to Schumacher in the quarterfinals pushed him down two spots. It was the first time in three races the New Jersey native did not advance to the finals.

Entering the fourth round of the 23-race 2012 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, both Schumacher and Brown are anxious to keep moving in a positive direction at a facility each has enjoyed over the years.

Schumacher has posted six career wins at The Strip, two of which came in the spring race in 2004 and 2009. He also earned No. 1 Qualifier status eight times here. Brown has recorded only one career victory in Las Vegas and is defending champion of the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals after defeating Brandon Bernstein in the final round.

“Believe me, it’s great to lead the points again,” said Schumacher. “We know it’s early in the season, but it’s nice to be the team that’s being chased rather than being one of the teams doing the chasing. Mentally, it’s definitely good for the guys. Thanks to the motivation our Army Strong Soldiers provide us, we’re always striving for more and that’s exactly what we’ll be looking to do when we get to Las Vegas. Any time you race at a track where you’ve won multiple times, you feel good about going there. We just want to do what we’ve been doing to date – qualify well and then go rounds on race day. Of course, my biggest wish is to see that fourth win light come on this time around.”

“Well, let’s just say you always want to be the top dog,” said Brown, after losing the Top Fuel Dragster points lead in Gainesville. “But, with all of the great teams in Top Fuel, now, who knows how many different times this year we’ll have a new leader. It’s an unbelievable battle at the moment and I don’t see it changing the rest of the season.”at happens, at times. We just got beat by a great driver and a great team on that particular day.

“I definitely love racing out there,” Brown added. “It’s a spectacular place – one of the best venues we go to all year. The weather is usually perfect to make a bunch of power, so I know my guys will be trying to take a healthy cut at it with each lap we make.”

The NHRA Weekend kicks off on Thursday from 6-7:30 p.m. with a free driver autograph session at the New York New York Hotel & Casino. More than 25 drivers are expected to participate (including all Don Schumacher Racing drivers) and the first 200 fans in line will receive a free Summit racing hat.

Tickets for the NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals may be purchased online at www.LVMS.com, at the LVMS ticket office or by calling (702) 644-4444. Follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.

NHRA SummitRacing.com Nationals schedule:

Friday, March 30

7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open.

8 a.m. – Sportsman qualifying.

10:30 a.m. – Comp Eliminator qualifying session.

Noon – Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car qualifying.

1:30 p.m. – Comp Eliminator qualifying.

2 p.m. – Pro Stock qualifying.

2:30 P.M. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

3:30 p.m. – Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car qualifying.

4:20 p.m. – Nitro Harley qualifying.

4:30 p.m. – Pro Stock qualifying.

5 p.m. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

Saturday, March 31

7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open.

8 a.m. – Sportsman eliminations.

11 a.m. – Comp Eliminator qualifying.

11:30 a.m. – Pro Stock qualifying.

Noon – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

1 p.m. – Nitro Harley qualifying.

1:15 p.m. – Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car qualifying.

2:15 p.m. – First round of Comp Eliminator eliminations.

2:30 p.m. – Pro Stock qualifying.

3 p.m. – Top Fuel Dragster and Funny Car qualifying.

4 p.m. – Nitro Harley qualifying.

4:15 p.m. – First round of Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car eliminations.

Sunday, April 1

7:30 a.m. – Spectator gates open.

10:30 a.m. – Pre-race ceremonies.

11 a.m. – Final eliminations begin.

4 p.m. – Track closed.