From left, NHRA President Tom Compton, zMax owner Bruton Smith, and 14-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force unveiled the new event logo.
Compton, zMax's Marcus and Bruton Smith, and Force flashed a four-wide salute.
The press conference was well-attended by all forms of media.
(Kevin Thorne photos)
For the first time in NHRA national event history, qualifying and eliminations for Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle at an NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event will be conducted four-wide instead of two, NHRA officials announced today.
The inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals is scheduled for March 25-28 at zMax Dragway near Charlotte. NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series competition will be conducted in the traditional two-lane format, running some classes in the left two lanes and others in the right two lanes to assist with lane preparation and consistency.
The announcement comes just four months after NHRA conducted its first four-lane exhibition at a national event, where nearly 30,000 horsepower blasted off at zMax Dragway during the September running of the NHRA Carolinas Nationals. In separate runs, four Top Fuel dragsters and four Funny Cars competed in the four-wide event, with everyone standing to witness the most spectacular five seconds in motorsports.
“We had so much positive feedback from our fans and drivers after the four-lane exhibition last September that we were comfortable adding this unique twist to an official NHRA national event,” said Tom Compton, president, NHRA. “Once again, NHRA will be making history at zMax Dragway. With all four of our Full Throttle Series categories competing in four-wide racing, it will certainly be a spectacular event to see.”
“Watching these nitro cars thunder four-wide down the world’s only four-lane concrete strip is exactly what we had in mind when we built zMax Dragway,” said Bruton Smith, chairman and chief executive officer of Speedway Motorsports and creator of zMax Dragway. “We’re making history with horsepower at the Bellagio of dragstrips, and race fans will be treated to a competition unlike anything that’s ever been seen before. This will blow them away.”
The rules for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway will be as follows:
* Qualifying will be conducted using four lanes
* Each category winner will be determined in three rounds of eliminations
* The two drivers to cross the finish line first in each of the four first rounds of eliminations will advance to the second round
* The two drivers to cross the finish line first in each of the two second rounds of eliminations will advance to the final round
* Each final round will feature four drivers in each category, and the single driver to cross the finish line first in the final will be declared the winner of the race, the second runner-up and so on.
The NHRA Carolinas Nationals, Sept. 16-19, the second of six races in NHRA’s Countdown to 1 playoffs, will continue to be conducted using only two lanes at zMax Dragway.
Tickets for the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals are available by calling 800-455-3267 or by logging on to www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. The inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals is the fourth of 17 races in the NHRA Countdown to 10, NHRA’s regular season. ESPN2 and ESPN2HD will televise the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.