Four Wide Racing at zMAX Dragway with Milestones on the Line
Drivers and crew chiefs spent most of the weekend talking about finding the right recipe for racing four wide at NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord NC. But, is it really that different to make a winning run when you line up against three other competitors instead of just one? Well, according to some teams, those few precious seconds that it takes to stage four entries can play havoc with an engineer's calculations for something as simple as the amount of fuel onboard. As any diehard race fan can confirm, running out of fuel at the 980-foot mark can result in a spectacular supercharger explosion. For the drivers, it is just different. There are two Christmas trees, so the drivers in the two inside lanes have to pay special attention. Moreover, there are four lanes of pavement to worry about getting the traction right, so it can be double the headaches.
After entering the weekend tied for the lead in Top Fuel with Tony Schumacher, Steve Torrence found the right ingredients to pilot his Capco Contractors dragster to a 3.813-second pass defeating Doug Kalitta, Terry McMillen and Clay Millican and assuming sole possession of the points lead. Since it was his third straight first-place finish in a four-wide event, the rest of the Top Fuel field may want to look at what that team is cooking up. In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon broke a 92-race winless streak in his Snap-On Tools Toyota Camry for his 36th Wally by eliminating 16-time world champion John Force, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Courtney Force in the final round. The victory moved Pedregon past Don Prudhomme into sole possession of fifth place all-time Funny Car victories.
Once again, it looked like it was going to be a special weekend of racing for the ladies at the Charlotte track. The Force sisters got the weekend off to a great start when Courtney Force garnered the top spot in Saturday's Funny Car qualifying with a 332.02 mph pass in her Advanced Auto Parts Chevy Camaro. Not to be out done, sister Brittany set the track elapsed time record at 3.689 seconds to claim the number one spot in Top Fuel making it the first time ever for sisters to be the number one qualifiers. Unfortunately, Brittany was eliminated when she ran third in the first quad race in Top Fuel. In the Pro Stock final, Erica Enders-Stevens celebrated a win at the zMAX 4-Wide Nationals, which was her first victory of the season in the Melling Performance Chevrolet Camaro. The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues on May 4-6 with the 2018 NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway outside Atlanta GA.