NHRA Action Returns to zMAX Dragway Four-Wide Style April 11-13
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to the prestigious zMAX Dragway for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 11-13, the fifth of 24 events during the 2014 season. The event is the only place on earth to see the world's best drag racers power their 8,000-horsepower nitro machines side by side in a four-wide configuration.
It's an experience unlike anything else in drag racing.
The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will once again try to tame the one-of-a-kind thrill show at the world's only four-lane, all-concrete dragstrip. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (PSM) were last year's winners of the event that will once again be televised on ESPN2.
Celebrating its fifth running, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals has provided thrills never before seen in professional drag racing. For most racers, the only obstacles standing in the way of a win light are the Christmas Tree and the competitor in the other lane. In the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, drivers also must handle the added pressure of facing two more competitors. For fans, watching four racecars accelerate to more than 300 mph is unlike any other sports experience imaginable.
Massey has mastered the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, winning two straight in his Battery Extender powered by Schumacher Electric dragster. In a thrilling final last season, Massey defeated Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tony Schumacher, eventual 2013 Top Fuel world champ Shawn Langdon and Brandon Bernstein. Massey will face tough competition as he goes for the three-peat.
Schumacher, Top Fuel's most accomplished driver, has never won the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and 'The Sarge' will be gunning to add that title to his racing resume. His runner-up finish last season will only make him hungrier to tame the four-wide beast. Langdon may not have won the event last season, but he achieved almost everything else on the way to his first world championship title. The Al-Anabi Racing driver has not won so far this season, but a win in Charlotte could jumpstart him to a second straight world title.
Langdon's Al-Anabi Racing teammate Khalid alBalooshi started the season with his biggest win Top Fuel at the illustrious Winternationals in Pomona, Calif. and a title at this event would be another big addition to his resume. Matco Tools dragster driver Antron Brown scored his first victory of the season in Phoenix and will be a strong candidate to gain another early season win.
Doug Kalitta has been consistent early and could be a major factor. The driver of the Mac Tools dragster has never won in Charlotte and would love to take a win at the track located in the heart of the Carolinas. Last season's top rookie, Brittany Force, is riding high following her first final round appearance in Phoenix and will be a major contender. Others to watch in the field will be Steve Torrence, Leah Pritchett, 2014 rookie Richie Crampton and veteran David Grubnic.
In Funny Car, Don Schumacher Racing driver Hagan won his first of five events during the 2013 season in Charlotte and the win catapulted him into a major series title fight with John Force. Hagan defeated Blake Alexander, Tim Wilkerson and Chad Head to taste success at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, his second career victory at Charlotte. Hagan started off 2014 well, piloting his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger to the runner-up spot at the Winternationals and the Virginia cattle rancher is thirsty for more.
Force, who started the year by resetting national Funny Car records in elapsed time and speed, won the Four-Wide title in 2010 and wants desperately to add a second win at the unique event. Jack Beckman (2011) and Robert Hight (2012) join Hagan and Force as former winners of the event and one of the four could leave Charlotte as the only two-time winner. Kalitta Motorsports' Del Worsham won here in 2011, but he claimed the win in Top Fuel. Worsham's DHL Toyota Camry has been consistent so far this season and he would love to become the first driver to win the event in both nitro categories.
Worsham's teammate, Alexis DeJoria became only the fourth female winner in Funny Car and the 14th female winner in the Mello Yello Series at Phoenix in late February and a victory in Charlotte would cement her place as one of the top performers to start the season. The Traxxas Ford Mustang of Courtney Force has struggled to start the season and a win in the unpredictable four-wide race could be the spark she needs to turn her slump around. Cruz Pedregon, Tommy Johnson Jr., Bob Tasca III, Tim Wilkerson and Tony Pedregon are some of the other Funny Car competitors who are expected to compete for the coveted Wally.
With defending event champ Edwards taking a break from competition and local favorite and two-time winner Greg Anderson still recovering from heart surgery, the Pro Stock field will be loaded with drivers trying to race to their first four-wide win. Allen Johnson has one victory under his belt in 2014 and Mopar teammate Jeg Coughlin will be looking to rebound following a disappointing start to the season. Coughlin won the Fall Charlotte event and would love to add the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals to his hall of fame career. Winternationals winner and one-time Charlotte winner Jason Line is seeking another early season win. Erica Enders-Stevens, series points leader V Gaines, Shane Gray, Vincent Nobile, Dave Connolly and Jimmy Alund will add to the ultra-competitive factory hot rod category.
Arana Jr. will try to defend his Pro Stock Motorcycle title and will face tough competition to do so. His father, Hector Arana, has won in Charlotte before but is eager to grab his first win in the four-lane configuration event. Defending world champ Matt Smith won the spectacle in 2010 and will be a tough out as he and wife Angie Smith compete at the dragstrip located only 73 miles from their residence in King, N.C. Eddie Krawiec, Andrew Hines, Michael Ray, John Hall, Steve Johnson and more of the two-wheel contingent will also try to add their names to the winner's list for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals.
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they're granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time with their favorite NHRA drivers.
Fans also will want to visit NHRA's popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Mello Yello Series qualifying begins Friday, April 11, with sessions at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, April 12, at 1:15 p.m. and 4:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 13.
Be a part of the action all weekend with a 3-Day Pass to the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals starting at $99. Tickets for children 13 and under are free with any paid adult ticket; to purchase general admission or reserved seats please visit www.zMAXDragway.com or call the box office at (800) 455-FANS (3267). For more information about NHRA, please visit www.NHRA.com.