Thrilling NHRA Four-Wide Nationals Returns to zMax Dragway for One-of-a-Kind NHRA Mello Yello Grad Racing Series Event

1 04 2017

CONCORD, NC – April 1, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  The biggest spectacle in drag racing and one of the most unique experiences in all of motorsports will take place when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series again returns to zMAX Dragway for the eighth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 28-30.

The sixth of 24 events during the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season is truly a one-of-a-kind experience for fans and drivers alike, as four 10,000-horsepower nitro-burning machines power down the dragstrip simultaneously for a thrill unlike anything in drag racing.

The sights and sounds of the weekend thrill ride gives fans four times the fun and excitement, all at a state-of-the-art facility known as the “Bellagio of dragstrips.” The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will compete in the four-lane spectacle to hold up Wally trophies at zMAX Dragway. Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners. The race will also be televised on FOX Sports 1, including a broadcast of the finals on Sunday, April 30 at 5:30 p.m. (ET).

Force earned her second career Top Fuel win and first Four-Wide Nationals victory in a thrilling final round, edging past two-time defending world champion Antron Brown in a final foursome that also included Doug Kalitta and Clay Millican. Force has one final round appearance in 2017 in her Monster Energy dragster, but will seek her first win of the year against a loaded field that also includes points leader Leah Pritchett, who has two wins in her Papa John’s dragster, eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher, rookie Troy Coughlin Jr. and Steve Torrence.

Funny Car veteran Wilkerson won for the first time at zMAX Dragway, knocking off runner-up Cruz Pedregon and final round drivers Ron Capps and Matt Hagan. Capps ended the 2016 season with his first career world title, while Hagan has been red-hot to open 2017, claiming two wins and the points lead. Wilkerson and Pedregon would like to replicate last year’s Four-Wide Nationals success to get their respective seasons on track, while other Funny Car standouts include two-time event winners Robert Hight and Jack Beckman, John Force and Courtney Force.

Line’s first Four-Wide Nationals victory came in the midst of a strong start to 2016 that concluded with eight wins, including a victory at the fall race at zMAX Dragway that annually kicks off the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, and his third world title. He’ll try to duplicate that success in 2017 but will be met with a host of challengers, including 2017 season-winners Greg Anderson, the current points leader, and Shane Gray. Others to watch include Erica Enders, Jeg Coughlin Jr., rookie Tanner Gray, Vincent Nobile, Drew Skillman, Allen Johnson and Chris McGaha.

The Pro Stock Motorcycle class has the second of its 16 races in 2017 at the Four-Wide Nationals, where Hines is the defending event winner. He beat teammate Eddie Krawiec, Chip Ellis and Matt Smith in the final foursome last year, but Krawiec struck the first blow this season with a win at the opener in Gainesville. The talent-heavy field will also include defending world champion Jerry Savoie, Angelle Sampey, 2016 rookie of the year Cory Reed, Hector Arana and Hector Arana Jr.

The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series makes the third of 12 stops in 2017 at zMAX Dragway, as the wild and unpredictable Pro Mod cars will compete in a four-wide set-up for the first time. The event also features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, showcasing the future stars of the sport.

After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can watch the spectacular Muy Caliente Racing jet dragsters sponsored by Lucas Oil alongside Hanna Motorsports jet funny cars, and Douthit Motorsports Black Pearl Nostalgia Jet Funny Car as well. Jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.

Along with the exciting on-track action, the NHRA SpringNationals will honor first responders with NHRA’s “Salute to First Responders” celebration.

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 get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans will also 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 Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, April 29, at 2 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for noon on Sunday, April 30.

Be a part of the action all weekend with a Three-Day Pass to the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals starting at $106.  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.

NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS PRESENTED BY LOWES FOODS

WHAT: Eighth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods, the sixth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championships.

WHERE: zMAX Dragway- Track is located on Hwy 29 off I-85 at exit 49 (Speedway Blvd.) in the Concord, N.C. area.

WHEN: Friday through Sunday, April 28-30

FORMAT: Qualifying sessions and elimination rounds will be conducted using four lanes in all Mello Yello Series classes; Lanes will be identified from left to right facing downtrack as 1-4; The standard Friday qualifying procedure of a top 12 format will not be in use; Two Christmas trees will be in use, one between each two lanes; The Compulink Autostart system will continue to be utilized and it will not activate until all four vehicles are pre-staged and one vehicle has staged; The ladder structure will feature Race A: qualifiers 1, 8, 9, 16, Race B: qualifiers 4, 5, 12, 13, Race C: qualifiers 2, 7, 10, 15, and Race D: qualifiers 3, 6, 11, 14; Race A and Race B will be on one side of the ladder, while Race C and Race D will be on the other;  Lane choice for eliminations goes to the driver with the quickest E.T., then the second-quickest, and so on; The first two drivers in each elimination round to cross the finish line advance to the second round and final; In the final round, teams will finish in the order they cross the finish line (barring any red-light starts), with winner, runner-up and two semifinalists in that order.

SCHEDULE:

FRIDAY, April 28 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, April 29 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 2 and 4 p.m.

SUNDAY, April 30 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10:30 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at noon

TELEVISION:  

Friday, April 28, FS1 will televise two hours of qualifying highlights at 7 p.m. (ET).
Saturday, April 29, FS1 will televise three hours of qualifying highlights at 12 a.m. (ET).
Sunday, April 30, FS1 will televise three hours of elimination highlights at 5:30 p.m. (ET).

2016 EVENT WINNERS: Brittany Force, Top Fuel; Tim Wilkerson, Funny Car; Jason Line, Pro Stock; Andrew Hines, Pro Stock Motorcycle.

MOST VICTORIES:  Antron Brown, 2, TF; Spencer Massey, 2, TF; Jack Beckman, 2, FC; Robert Hight, 2, FC; Greg Anderson, 2, PS; Mike Edwards, 2, PS; Andrew Hines, 3, PSM.

TRACK RECORDS:   

Top Fuel – 3.713 sec. by J.R. Todd, March ’15; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12.
Funny Car – 3.876 sec. by Tommy Johnson Jr., Sept. ’16; 331.04 mph by John Force, Sept. ’16.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15; 215.48 mph by Greg Anderson, March ’15.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.794 sec. and 199.88 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ’15.

NATIONAL RECORDS:       

Top Fuel – 3.658 sec. by Leah Pritchett, Feb. ‘17, Phoenix; 332.75 mph by Spencer Massey, Aug. ’15, Brainerd, Minn.
Funny Car – 3.822 by Matt Hagan, Aug. ’16, Brainerd, Minn.; 335.57 mph by Hagan, May ’16, Topeka, Kan.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ’14, Englishtown N.J.

TICKETS: Order tickets by phone at (800) 455-FANS. Tickets also are available online at www.zmaxdragway.com.

About National Hot Rod Association

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Source: National Hot Rod Association

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