Friday's NHRA Four-Wide Nationals photo gallery
Friday, April 11, 2014

News and views from the 
NHRA Four-Wide Nationals
Last update: 6 p.m.
Click for latest post

(Above) NHRA Mello Yello stars Spencer Massey, Dave Connolly, and Angie Smith visited the Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte. (Below) The drivers later went to the Ryan Seacrest Studio to do an interview that was broadcasted to every room in the children's hospital. Kids could call into the interview to ask questions.

  The Mello Yello teams are preparing for their first four-wide assault on zMAX Dragway. (Above) John Force, who won the inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in 2010, and his Castrol crew warmed their flopper.

(Left) Two-time defending Top Fuel champ Spencer Massey drained the fuel on his Battery Extender dragster.

(Below) Former Pro Stock Motorcycle world champ Andrew Hines is seeking his first four-wide victory.

At a very special press conference, Don Schumacher Racing and Terry Chandler announced that they will find a six-race sponsorship for the Infinite Hero organization with a Jack Beckman-driven car that will debut in Houston. (Above) Paraplegic veteran Gary Linfoot, who was injured in a helicopter accident on his 19th deployment, shows off an exoskeleton that allows him to stand and walk. (Below) The car is gorgeous.

Steve Johnson, right, winner of the Pro Stock Motorcycle season opener in Gainesville a month ago, is relishing the first points lead of his long career and good-naturedly had a giant No. 1 painted on the side of his transporter. Fellow rider Hector Arana Jr. congratulated on his lofty and well-promoted position.

Marty Hough of the Motor Racing Network, left, and co-host Doug Herbert, second from left, interviewed several of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series drivers about this unique event, including Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps.

[2:30 p.m.] (Above) John Hall, far lane, grabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot with a 6.846 aboard his Your Ad Here Buell. Defending series and event champ Matt Smith, near lane, was second quickest with a 6.871. (Below) Smith's wife, Angie, who is sponsored at this event by Kandy Magazine, posed with the Kandy Girls.

 [2:35 p.m.] Chris McGaha (right) took the provisional qualifying lead in Pro Stock with a 6.523 from his Harlow Sammons Camaro.

(Above) The No. 2 and 3 qualifiers came from this quad as Dave Connolly, far lane, recorded a 6.531 with the Charter Camaro and teammate Shane Gray, second from bottom, ran a 6.539 in the KYMCO Camaro.

Je Coughlin Jr., near lane, ran a 6.548 for fourth while Vincent Nobile went 6.577 in his all-new Mountain View Camaro to rank ninth. 

  [3:20 p.m.] (Above) Alexis DeJoria, second from bottom, already a two-time winner this season with the Patron XO Café Toyota, is the No. 1 qualifier in session one of Funny Car after charting a 4.113. Robert Hight, far lane, had the second-best pass, a 4.116.

(Left) Tim Wilkerson, far lane, ran a 4.128 for the No. 3 spot. Jack Beckman, near lane, went 4.158 for fourth. Cruz Pedregon, second from top, had a good run going until he dropped a cylinder and chucked the blower belt.

[3:45 p.m.] J.R. Todd (above) ran a career-best 3.781 in the Kalitta Motorsports Optima Batteries dragster to lead after the first session of Top Fuel. (Below) Antron Brown, second from top, went 3.82 for the No. 3 position but, as was the case in many of the nitro quads, was the only one of four to make a full pass.

Former Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (now with Baltimore) was checking out the four-wide action and getting the inside scoop from former NHRA Top Fuel champ Antron Brown, left.

[4:45 p.m.] Michael Ray (above) took over the No. 1 spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a track-record blast of 6.816 (breaking the 6.810 mark set by Eddie Krawiec in 2011) while Matt Smith's 198.32 speed broke Krawiec's old speed mark of 196.79 mph. (Below) Swedish rider Elvira Karlsson has had a rough welcome, going into the sand trap after her opening lap of 7.06 and losing fire on the starting line before her second try.

[4:45 p.m.] (Above) Chris McGaha, near lane, exactly duplicated his first pass of 6.523 and maintained his top spot in the Pro Stock field. All four drivers in this quad were in the 6.50s: from top, Jeg Coughlin Jr. (6.538), Shane Gray  (6.534), and Jimmy Alund (6.550). (Below) Erica Enders-Stevens captured the No. 2 spot with a 6.524.

[5:15 p.m.] Dale Creasy Jr. was the only one of this quad not to make it down the track in Funny Car Q2 as Ron Capps, far lane, went low with a 4.059. Tommy Johnson Jr., second from top, ran a 4.079 for the No. 3 position and Jeff Arend 4.15. (Below) Robert Hight grabbed the No. 2 spot in Funny Car with a run of 4.074.

[6 p.m.] Shawn Langdon (above) is halfway to his second No. 1 qualifying effort in Top Fuel of the season as the Gainesville pack leader steered the Al-Anabi machine to a 3.753, just shy of Tony Schumacher's track record of 3.749. (Below) This was a great quad as three of the four ran within three-thousandths of a second: Doug Kalitta (3.816), Steve Torrence (3.818), and Tony Schumacher (3.815). Bob Vandergriff Jr. smoked the tires.