Only a select group of drivers can call themselves NHRA Four-Wide Nationals champions, and when the unique event returns to zMAX Dragway, April 11-13, the best drivers in the NHRA will again be vying for that special honor.
Last year, Spencer Massey captured his second consecutive Top Fuel Four-Wide Wally. He attributes his success at the one-of-a-kind event to Sportsman racing and focus on the Tree. Massey also holds the national Top Fuel speed record with a 332.18-mph pass that he put down on his way to his first Four-Wide win in 2012.
"Going back to the very first four-wide exhibition that I participated in and actually won, I think it has something to do with Sportsman racing,” said Massey. “You have to be focused on the Tree and not be flustered by seeing two other stage beams coming on. You have to have the right mind-set and be focused on the Tree and not let anything else get in the way."
Hector Arana Jr.
In Funny Car, Matt Hagan won the Four-Wide Nationals for the first time in 2013, recording his second win at zMAX Dragway. Hagan posted the first sub-four-second run in NHRA history, a 3.995-second pass en route to a win at the 2011 NHRA Carolina Nationals.
"It's always a fast racetrack, and the four-wide is always crazy,” said Hagan. “It's always a challenge, but that's what makes it interesting, and that's what makes you a good driver. You have to adapt to the situation and turn on the win lights. It's just been a great experience, and hopefully we have more wins to come there in Charlotte."
Last season, Hector Arana Jr. became only the second Pro Stock Motorcycle rider to win at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals as the motorcycles competed at the four-wide event for the first time since 2010.
"Four-wide is always fun because it's different and outside the box,” said Arana. “Now you have to race down the track against three other guys instead of one, which is always exciting. You have to think and pay attention a little bit more than you would at any other track.
“It definitely plays into the favor of whoever is the strongest mentally and can keep all four bulbs squared away to know who's in and who's not. The advantage will go to whoever can keep everything straight and not mess up. I'm glad I can be one of the few Pro Stock Motorcycle riders that can say they have won a four-wide race."
Mike Edwards won last year in the Pro Stock division, picking up his third win at zMAX Dragway and second NHRA Four-Wide Nationals win (the first was at the inaugural event). Edwards is sitting out the 2014 season after selling his racing operation to Chris McGaha.
Fans will have the chance to see if Massey, Hagan, and Arana can defend their titles at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals April 11-13. Gates open at 7:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday. Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying sessions are scheduled for 1:15 and 4:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Final eliminations are scheduled to begin at noon Sunday.
Weekend passes for all three days of the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals begin at just $99. Children 13 and younger are admitted free every day of the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Every ticket is a pit pass, allowing fans to observe and interact with their favorite drivers and teams, as well as check out Nitro Alley and a midway featuring displays, vendors, and a kids’ play area.
Tickets and camping are still available for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 11-13 at zMAX Dragway, by calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office, 800-455-FANS (3267) or logging on to www.zmaxdragway.com.