Funny Car Drivers Enjoy Unique Experience of NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway

CONCORD, NC – April 26, 2017 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  Placed in the middle of three straight races, this weekend’s eight annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at the state-of-the-art zMAX Dragway provides a chance for drivers to bounce back if they struggled last weekend in Houston. But the uniqueness of the race also poses a massive challenge for every driver in the Funny Car class.

The prospect of competing against three other 10,000-horsepower dragsters at the same time is not an easy task, though it does present a thrilling, one-of-a-kind experience. For Tommy Johnson Jr., who won in Las Vegas, returning to zMAX Dragway brings excitement, especially when he can make amends from a first-round loss in Houston in his Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T.

“We’ll regroup and come out swinging at the Four-Wide,” said Johnson, who is fourth in points. “Charlotte is kind of a home race for me, and all of my family lives there now and comes out. We’ve done well there in the past so I’m looking forward to it.”

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 at 5:30 p.m. (ET). It is the sixth of 24 races in a 2017 NHRA Funny Car season that has had different winners at the past four races.

Matt Hagan was hot early, winning the first two, he is the current Funny Car points leader, and he is eagerly anticipating erasing last weekend’s first round loss.

“There’s a lot of racing still left and we’re going to my home track at Charlotte where my entire family will be,” Hagan said. “So I’m pretty pumped about that and we’re just going to roll on with it.”

The impressive parity in the class also means a number of standout drivers will be seeking their first win of the season at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. That includes Courtney Force, who broke a string of three straight first-round losses with a semifinal appearance in Houston. With a race as important as the Four-Wide Nationals, which annually draws a huge crowd for the biggest spectacle in drag racing, a win could provide a huge boost for Force, currently fifth in points.

“What we’re taking away from (Houston) is that consistency we’ve been looking for,” Force said. “We may not have a Wally in hand, but we have things we can take away and use in the future. I’m looking forward to the next race (in Charlotte).”

Count first-year Funny Car driver J.R. Todd as another who is anxiously awaiting this weekend’s race. Todd, a former Top Fuel standout, continues to learn at a rapid rate, a necessary requirement in a class as talented as Funny Car. Defending world champion Ron Capps captured his first win of the year last weekend in Houston, providing plenty of momentum heading into Charlotte, while 16-time world champion John Force won earlier this season in Gainesville. The legendary driver is also a huge fan of the unique challenges that four-wide racing presents.

“The fans love it,” Force said. “They can come there, and it’s a change: Four cars, 40,000 horsepower, side-by-side-by-side-by-side. (It’s the) greatest show on earth. I love two-lane, but I love four-lane. I wish they’d build more of them.”

Force’s daughter, Brittany, won her first Top Fuel Four-Wide event last year, and will face off with three-time 2017 winner and points leader Leah Pritchett and two-time world champ Antron Brown.

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.

SCHEDULE:

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.

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; 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.
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 –

Top Fuel
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.

Funny Car
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.

Pro Stock
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

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