CONCORD, NC – April 24, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) – The more challenges the better as far as Tony Schumacher is concerned, which is why the eight-time Top Fuel world championship always looks forward to the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, which take place this weekend at state-of-the-art zMAX Dragway.
Matched up against three other 10,000-horsepower dragsters, creating a sensory experience unmatched in drag racing, Schumacher and his standout U.S. Army team eagerly anticipate the extra challenge of one of the biggest spectacles in the sport. Now the longtime Top Fuel star who has 83 career wins hopes to add his first NHRA Four-Wide Nationals win to his incredible resume.
“You can’t make a little mistake because there are three other drivers who can capitalize on it,” Schumacher said. “Normally, you might be able to make a mistake and there’s a chance the other driver will make one, too. But when there are three of them, you’ve got a couple guys who are going to be ice cold. You have to be a machine to win the Four-Wide. You have to be as ice cold as you can ever be to get the job done. I want that Four-Wide trophy. It’s a race I haven’t won and our mission this weekend is to be the last one standing.”
Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Tim Wilkerson (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of a race that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including a broadcast of the finals on Sunday, April 30 at 5:30 p.m. (ET). It is the sixth of 24 events during the 2017 NHRA season, and it’s already been a banner start for Schumacher. He sits third in points, having already traded impressive blows with Don Schumacher Racing teammates Leah Pritchett, who has three wins and the points lead, and back-to-back world champ Antron Brown, with Schumacher posting an early-season victory at Gainesville.
“This U.S. Army team hit the ground running at the start of this season and what it all comes down to is the fact we’ve got a great racecar, which leads to a great attitude for the driver and everyone on the team,” Schumacher said. “Things have come together here in the early part of the season where the fruits of our labor of paid off and we’ve had a great racecar everywhere we’ve gone.”
Bouncing back from a second-round loss in Houston, which bumped Schumacher out of the points lead, is next on the agenda during this stretch of three straight races.
The uniqueness of the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals throws a massive curveball into the mix during a busy span, but Schumacher isn’t about to run from the challenge.
“This race is certainly different from all of the others, but it’s still my job to leave the starting line at the light and get to the finish line first,” Schumacher said. “My job is to drive a racecar no matter how many cars are there. If you’re racing in this series and you don’t look forward to being challenged each and every day, you’re in the wrong business. What it comes down to is you’re only as good as your next run. With the start we’ve had to this season, it puts just another bounce in your step when you go to work each day. We still have a long way to go.”
Funny Car veteran Wilkerson won for the first time at zMAX Dragway last year, and will face off against the likes of defending world champ Ron Capps and points leader Matt Hagan in 2017.
Line’s first Four-Wide Nationals victory came in Pro Stock and he will look to grab momentum from fellow 2017 winners Greg Anderson, Bo Butner Shane Gray and rookie Tanner Gray.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hines will try to make it two straight Four-Wide wins over the likes of Gainesville winner Eddie Krawiec and defending world champ Jerry Savoie.
The NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series makes the third of 12 stops at zMAX Dragway. 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.
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 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 Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. on Friday, April 28 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, April 29, at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. 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 $107. 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 FACT SHEET
WHAT: Eighth annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, 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.
FRIDAY, April 28 – LUCAS OIL SERIES qualifying
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES qualifying at 3:45 p.m. and 6:15
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 4 and 6:30 p.m.
SATURDAY, April 29 – LUCAS OIL SERIES eliminations
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES qualifying at 2:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES qualifying at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
SUNDAY, April 30 – Pre-race ceremonies, 10:30 a.m.
MELLO YELLO SERIES eliminations begin at noon
NHRA J&A SERVICE PRO MOD DRAG RACING SERIES eliminations at 12: 55 p.m.
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; Jack Beckman, 2, FC; Robert Hight, 2, FC; Greg Anderson, 2, PS; Mike Edwards, 2, PS; Andrew Hines, 3, PSM.
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.
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.
PS Motorcycle – 6.728 sec. by Andrew Hines, Oct. ’12, Reading, Pa.; 199.88 mph by Hector Arana Jr., March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.
TICKETS: Order tickets by phone at (800) 455-FANS. Tickets also are available online at www.zmaxdragway.com.
Glendora, CA– Point standings (top 10) following the 30th annual NHRA SpringNationals at Royal Purple Raceway, the fifth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series –
1. Leah Pritchett, 494; 2. Antron Brown, 440; 3. Tony Schumacher, 438; 4. Doug Kalitta, 358; 5. Steve Torrence, 352; 6. Brittany Force, 282; 7. Clay Millican, 269; 8. Troy Coughlin Jr., 228; 9. Terry McMillen, 195; 10. Scott Palmer, 180.
1. Matt Hagan, 400; 2. Ron Capps, 398; 3. John Force, 371; 4. Tommy Johnson Jr., 357; 5. (tie) Courtney Force, 301; Robert Hight, 301; 7. Jack Beckman, 282; 8. Jonnie Lindberg, 235; 9. J.R. Todd, 222; 10. Jim Campbell, 211.
1. Greg Anderson, 457; 2. Bo Butner, 426; 3. Jason Line, 403; 4. Jeg Coughlin, 372; 5. Tanner Gray, 370; 6. Shane Gray, 278; 7. Erica Enders, 255; 8. Chris McGaha, 246; 9. Vincent Nobile, 235; 10. Drew Skillman, 225.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
1. Eddie Krawiec, 120; 2. Andrew Hines, 97; 3. Joey Gladstone, 81; 4. Steve Johnson, 74; 5. Jerry Savoie, 63; 6. LE Tonglet, 58; 7. (tie) Scotty Pollacheck, 52; Matt Smith, 52; 9. Hector Arana, 36; 10. Hector Arana Jr, 35.
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