The NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 13-15, is one of the most unique events in motorsports. As a result, winning means that much more, and it has become one of the most prestigious victories on the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series circuit. Past event winners John Force, Greg Anderson, and Jack Beckman discussed how it feels to race and win at the greatest spectacle in drag racing.
Fifteen-time NHRA Funny Car champion Force won the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in 2010 after participating in a four-wide exhibition race during the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries in 2009 at zMAX Dragway.
“I came back the next year [after running the four-wide exhibition], and they put it into play as a special race within running for the championship,” said Force. “I was lucky enough to win that, and my daughter Ashley was runner-up to me.
“I started finding the magic of it, and I know the fans loved it. But it’s tough, it’s a different ball game to race, and it changes you trying to stay in that Countdown on how your mind-set is.”
Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car driver Beckman took home the Wally in 2011 and enjoys the unique win. Beckman also won the inaugural event at zMAX Dragway in 2008.
“It’s cool because it’s novel,” Beckman said. “Anytime you can win an inaugural race, that’s the only one there is ever going to be, and I won that one at zMAX. Then, to win something like the four-wide because it’s such a special, unique race; that’s one of the trophies I like looking at the most.”
Four-time NHRA Pro Stock champion Anderson won in 2011 and feels that the event provides a unique challenge that makes it even more gratifying to win.
“As a driver, it’s probably the toughest challenge we have,” said Anderson. “So for that reason, it probably makes you feel the best. I really didn’t have the faith that I could conquer that deal. It’s a heck of a challenge [to win], and I did last year, so it really makes me feel proud that obviously I did a better job somehow.
“With all the games going on out there, I found a way to keep my mind in the game on the toughest stage, so to speak. As a driver, you get a lot of gratification out of that, so I feel pretty darn good to have a Four-Wide win.”
The elite group of NHRA Four-Wide Nationals winners also includes Cory McClenathan (Top Fuel), Mike Edwards (Pro Stock), and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) at the inaugural four-wide event in 2010 and Del Worsham (Top Fuel) in 2011.
The stars of the NHRA return to zMAX Dragway April 13-15 in an attempt to add their names to the exclusive list of winners.
Fans can purchase two tickets to any day of the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals for $60 and receive a choice of two T-shirts, two beer vouchers or two Coca-Cola soft drinks, and two hot dogs. Children 13 and younger will be admitted free with the purchase of an adult ticket.
For tickets and camping for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, April 13-15 at zMAX Dragway, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office, 1-800-455-FANS (3267).