Following back-to-back wins for J.R. Todd, an upset win for Matt Hartford and Brittany Force's first win of the season, Tricky Tipster has set the line for the second four-wide event of the season. The favorites at NHRA's first stop at zMAX Dragway are Steve Torrence, J.R. Todd, Greg Anderson, Eddie Krawiec and Rickie Smith.
Given the crazy nature of the Four-Wide events, the importance of his recent win in Charlotte can’t be understated. Houston was not a great event for the Capco team, but there is a chance for a quick rebound here.
The more comfortable new crew chief Mike Neff gets, the more one gets this feeling this car is going to hammer out some really big numbers. The zMax surface and some night qualifying runs might be just the right time and place for that to happen.
Last week, we predicted a few more round wins and the reigning champ delivered four of them. It’s probably a bit premature to suggest that the Monster team is all the way back from their Pomona accident, but it sure looks like they’re close
On it’s best days, the Four-Wide race can be mass confusion and pure chaos. When that happens, wouldn’t you want the calmest and most focused driver in the class wheeling your race car? This is that guy.
Papa John’s Pizza/Dodge
One run does not a season make but that being said, her 3.680 blast from Houston had to feel pretty darned good. A semifinal finish didn’t do much to hurt morale either.
Five wins at zMax Dragway, including two in the Four-Wide era. If there is ever a time for the Matco Tools team to snap out of an early-season funk, this is it.
Amalie Motor Oil
The time to take these guys seriously was last year when they handily whipped the field at the Fall Las Vegas race. Now, it’s time to get used to the fact that they’re going to get their share of round wins and finals as they did in Houston.
Parts Plus/Great Clips
Turned in a solid qualifying effort in Houston that was good for the No. 6 spot but didn’t get down the track on either run on Sunday. The fast track at zMax could be a nice cure for some consistency issues
The only reason why you wouldn’t put this guy No. 1 is that it’s incredibly difficult to win two Funny Car races in a row, much less three. Regardless, the DHL team is on a roll and they’re the kings of hill until someone says otherwise.
Auto Club Camaro
The last time we raced in Charlotte, the Auto Club team took home the trophy and it helped catapult them to the Mello Yello Funny Car championship. Granted, that was the two-wide race, but we think they get the gist of this whole four-wide thing.
Love might be too strong a word for how Capps feels about the Four-Wide races but it’s fair to say the 2016 champ is fine with the concept of beating three other racers in one shot. He understands that a four-wide win is a great feather in any driver’s cap.
Infinite Hero Dodge
He won Gainesville and he’s entering this race as the points leader and it almost seems like he’s flown under the radar for most of the season. Consistency wins championships and right now, they Infinite Hero team has it pegged.
Mopar Express Lane Dodge
Remember when he ran the first official three-second run at zMax Dragway? Yeah, seems like an eternity ago and this year, a 3.99 might not even qualify for the Four-Wide race. Then again, he could easily run a 3.7 this week.
Advance Auto Parts Chevy
Ouch, last week’s round one loss to Jeff Diehl in Houston had to sting. The good news is that redemption is only seven days away. The Advance team has a do-over this weekend in Charlotte and we’d expect them to make the most of it.
Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford
He said he was on the verge of a breakthrough and he proved it in Houston with his best showing of the year. Remember, he also won the 2016 Charlotte Four-Wide race.
Global Electric Technology Toyota
Funny Car rookie continues to learn the tricks of the trade at a rapid pace. Given his sportsman racing experience, he won’t get rattled by having to race against three other Funny Cars.
He’s been so close so often this year that the first win of 2018 has to be just around the corner. In this case, it might be just around the corner from his house in Mooresville, N.C. In short, he loves racing at zMax.
Butner Auto Camaro
He cut two great lights in Houston and left with little to show for it. Fortunately, at this race, you can finish second and still make the final. He might just do that a time or two and still be in the winner’s circle after the final round.
Harlow Sammons Camaro
Last year, he won the Charlotte Four-Wide race and he’d be the first to tell you that his race car wasn’t nearly as competitive as the one he’s bringing to zMax Dragway this weekend. This has the makings of an impressive weekend for the Harlow Sammons team.
Jeg Coughlin Jr.
Looked like the Jeggie of old in Houston with a monster qualifying effort and a great race-day showing. He’s apparently got the horse to run the distance now. That could be bad news for the rest of the class.
The Houston final did not go according to script but her race day lights were .017, .014, .011, and a .018 in the final. Who’d like some of that? Note to would-be opponents: don’t miss the Tree.
Gray Manufacturing Technologies Camaro
Better qualifying in Houston and a solid start that was only derailed by a -.011 red-light. He’ll be better this weekend. Count on it.
Total Seal Camaro
What’s this guy doing in the Tipster rankings? Well, when you win your first race and you outrun four of the best racers in the class along the way, the honors keep coming. Someone tell us why he couldn’t roll on to a second victory this weekend?
Surprisingly, he didn’t get down the track in his first round loss in Houston. Since he tests regularly at zMax Dragway, it’s unlikely that he’ll suffer the same fate this weekend. He’s officially overdue for a win.
Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
The Vance & Hines team has an amazing record at zMax Dragway and Krawiec has done his part with four wins in 11 final rounds. After his performance in Gainesville it’s hard to think they’ll let up this time around.
Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson
If one Harley doesn’t win, the other one might. He’s got five wins in eight final rounds here. Hard to imagine a final quad that won’t have a pair of Screamin’ Eagle bikes in it.
Nitro Fish Suzuki
If you didn’t hear the news, he’s back aboard Jerry Savoie’s team for the remainder of the season. If you don’t recall last year, he won six races for the WAR squad, including this one.
White Alligator Suzuki
As they say, a rising tide floats all boats. The return of LE Tonglet should be a good sign for the 2016 Pro Stock Motorcycle champion. Expect him to make the final quad with ease.
Yellow Corn Suzuki
He was among the fastest riders at the season-opener in Gainesville and he can ride a little bit so that should help with the whole side-by-side-by-side-by-side thing. Could he be the next first-time winner?
Hector Arana Jr.
Lucas Oil EBR
If the weather conditions are right, he should thrill the fans with another 200-mph run or two. At some point, that should translate into round wins and event wins.
Suzuki Extended Protection Suzuki
A former finalist at the Charlotte Four-Wide who is so long overdue for a victory that it’s not even funny. When it does happen, the celebration will be epic.
San Marino Excavating Suzuki
He was clearly not happy with the way his season began in Gainesville. Got to figure he’s taken appropriate measures to rectify the problem by now. This is also his home event.
Rickie Smith Racing Camaro
The nitrous cars were scary fast in Houston and this is one of the best of the best. Oh, and he’s also North Carolina’s favorite son and a master of starting line trickery. That tends to lend itself well to Four-Wide Racing.
Let one slip away a week ago in Houston because they never seemed to get a hold of the race track. That shouldn’t be a problem here. We might even see a new record for supercharged Pro Mods here.
If he wins the zMax race will the celebration be four times as loud as normal? Don’t laugh, it could happen. He ran a 5.707 in Houston and it had more left in it.
Remember what we just said about nitrous cars having an edge? This is another solid 5.7-second player with a solid driver behind the wheel. Easy to peg the former champ as one of the favorites.
J&A Services Camaro
Former TAD champ has now won two Pro Mod events in Houston. No reason whatsoever to think he can’t win anywhere else. He should also be adaptable to the Four-Wide format.
Maximum Effort Corvette
Who is this guy? The same guy who won Comp at the ’88 Columbus race? Yep, that’s him and he’s got a very quick turbocharged Corvette. Was a runner-up a week ago in Houston and that was just the start.
There are 35 Pro Mods here this weekend, so picking a favorite is almost impossible. When that happens, go with wisdom and experience and this guy has all of that and more.
S&T Truck Repair Firebird
Turbocharged cars are tricky to drive on their best days and when you’re trying to stage against three other drivers, it can be a chore. Regardless, this car runs quick enough to merit respect.