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Cantu Leaves Las Vegas Having Fulfilled A Drag Racing Dream

Juan Cantu made a childhood dream come true this weekend as he competed in Top Alcohol Dragster for the first time at an NHRA national event. Cantu held his own amidst a field of tough contenders as he raced his CompassBlue DEF dragster at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. 

The talented driver from Monterey, Mexico, is a fan favorite in Jet Dragster exhibitions, but this is the first time for him to take on the challenge of NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Top Alcohol Dragster. The Four-Wide drag racing format added another layer of complexity to his highly-anticipated debut. Cantu embraced the intensity of the moment and put on a great show for the fans on Friday with two solid qualifying passes. It was his first run of 5.464 seconds at 258.22 MPH that launched him onto the ladder in the No. 11 position. 

“Qualifying was exciting,” remarked Cantu. “I’m thrilled that we made some good runs down the track right off the bat. Competing in the Four-Wide format is eye-opening and I’m glad to have the learning opportunity. A day spent drag racing is always better than any other day. I’m very grateful for this opportunity to represent my home country of Mexico and my wonderful sponsor, CompassBlue DEF.”

After experiencing a few staging issues on Saturday, Cantu and his crew regrouped and were focused as they rolled into eliminations on race day. He faced Prescott Dean, Casey Grisel and Madison Payne in a stunning display of speed and power. All four cars made impressive runs down the track and crossed the stripe within three-tenths of a second of each other. Dean and Grisel reached the finish line first which brought Cantu’s Top Alcohol debut to a close.

While his race day may be over, the dream is very much alive for Cantu who began drag racing at just nine years old when he competed against adults at a local track in Mexico. From that moment on, the need for speed captivated him. Getting the opportunity to compete on a national stage in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series only fueled his passion and Cantu is eagerly awaiting his next opportunity to compete.

This story was originally published on April 16, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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