Side by Side by Side by Side... and Very Fast!
Everyone in the pits at the zMAX Dragway was talking about the mental challenge that racing four wide brings to the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. It truly is a special race that pits driver against driver against driver against drive once a year in Concord, NC. There is an all out shootout for points and prize money and the fans love the unique format as well as the raceway known as the "Bellagio of Dragstrips". At the four-wide event, there are plenty of amentities. Every ticket is a pit pass giving fans direct access to the race teams between rounds and to scheduled autograph sessions where they can engage with their favorite driver.
After the first two days of qualifying, Clay Millican in Top Fuel, Courtney Force in Funny Car and last weekend's winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. in Pro Stock posted the fastest time in their respective divisions. It was Couglin's third straight round for garnering the quickest elapsed time in class with a 6.60 second run that earned him three precious bonus points. As many of the teams had expected, there was little to no improvement in times from Friday's rounds as the weather was warmer and more humid on Saturday. But, with qualifying complete, drivers eagerly awaited Sunday's eliminations in the quad format.
In the Pro Stock final, Chris McGaha piloted his Harlow Sammons Chevy Camaro to a 6.591 ET to record his first win at the track ahead of Greg Anderson, Shane Gray and Drew Skillman. Ron Capps would post his second consecutive win of the 2017 Funny Car season in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger ahead of teammates Jack Beckman and Matt Hagan with J.R. Todd finishing in third. In Top Fuel, current points leader, Leah Pritchett, ran second to Steve Torrence's 323.89 mph pass. It was the first win of the year for Torrence who also finished ahead of Tony Schumacher and Terry McMillen in the final round of the weekend.
Teams get a break on travel this week as everyone makes the short trip west to Atlanta Dragway for the May 5-7 NHRA National series event.