Fans are counting down the days to 32,000 horsepower and the second annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals coming up, April 14-17, at zMAX Dragway and NHRA officials are adding to the excitement by implementing a new starting line Christmas tree.

In a change from the inaugural event, the NHRA will debut the new tree at the second annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Instead of the usual separate pre-staging and staging bulbs, the new tree will include one row of four LED lights to indicate the pre-staging and staging of the cars in all four lanes. During pre-staging, the top half of each LED light will light up and during staging all four LED lights will light up entirely, indicating the position of drivers from left to right in all four lanes.

When the biggest names in drag racing battle it out on the world’s only four-lane, all-concrete drag strip next week, procedures will be a little bit different from the typical two-wide event. Here is a peek at the procedures that will be implemented during the second annual NHRA Four-wide Nationals.

Lane Designation

  • Lanes will be identified in numerical order from left to right facing down track. The outermost left lane will be lane No. 1, then lanes No. 2 and No. 3 will be in the middle, with the outermost right lane referred to as lane No. 4.

Track Preparation

  • In an attempt to maintain uniform traction quality in all four lanes, Sportsman classes, while only running two cars side-by-side, will run in all four lanes for the entire event. Certain Sportsman classes will only run lanes No. 1 and No. 2 while other Sportsman classes will run exclusively in lanes No. 3 and No. 4. Track prep, cleanup equipment and personnel will increase accordingly.


  • For the first of four qualifying sessions, drivers with the least number of Full Throttle championship points will be the first to run and the top four points leaders will be the last to run in each category.
  • Subsequent qualifying sessions will follow normal qualifying procedures with the quickest elapsed times running last in each session.
  • Every effort will be made to ensure each team has the opportunity to make one qualifying run in each of the four lanes.

Qualifying Field

  • Since each team will make one qualifying run in each of the four lanes over two days. All elapsed times from all qualifying sessions, from both days will be used to establish the 16-car field for eliminations in each category.

Starting System

  • Since zMAX Dragway is essentially two tracks built side-by-side, with a center wall separating the two all the way to the top end, each track will have the new Christmas tree fitted with four specially designed LED pre-stage/stage units, which will indicate the pre-stage/stage position of drivers in all four lanes (from left to right).
  • The Compulink AUTOSTART system will continue to be utilized at this event, however, unlike two-lane racing, the AUTOSTART system will not activate until all four vehicles are pre-staged and one vehicle has staged.

Ladders for Eliminations

  • Similar to an NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket, the top qualifier will face the bottom qualifier and the eighth qualifier will face the ninth qualifier in the first race. The first two drivers in each pairing to cross the finish line (barring red-lighting), will advance to round two, therefore the pairings in round one will be grouped accordingly: Race A will have qualifiers 1, 8, 9, 16; Race B consists of qualifiers 3, 6, 11, 14; Race C will have qualifiers 2, 7, 10, 15; and Race D will have qualifiers 4, 5, 12, 13.
  • In the second round, first and second place from Race A will be in the same grouping as first and second from Race B, and first and second place from Race C and D will be in the other second round race. Again, the first two across the finish line (barring red-lighting) advance to the finals.
  • In the final round, teams will finish in the order they cross the finish line (barring red-lighting).

Lane Choice for Eliminations

  • First round lane choice goes to the quickest qualifier in each group of four. Second quickest in the group has second choice and third quickest has third choice.
  • In subsequent rounds, the first choice goes to the driver with the lower elapsed time from the previous round and so forth throughout the grouping.

Tickets are on sale now for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway, April 14-17. Nitro fans can buy two tickets to any day for only $60 and receive a choice of a free upgrade: two event hats, two event shirts, two beer vouchers or two Coca-Cola soft drinks and two hot dogs. To purchase tickets by phone, call the zMAX Dragway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267).

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