Friday leaders Justin Ashley and John Force held on to the top spots in Top Fuel and Funny Car, respectively while Angelle Sampey took over the qualifying lead at the Circle K Four Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway. Now, the real fun starts during Sunday’s final eliminations.
In more than a decade of four wide racing, one thing that NHRA fans know is to expect the unexpected and this week’s event promises to be no different. Remember, the format for four wide racing allows two drivers from each “quad” to advance, which means a driver can advanced to the final without winning a race and a driver can win or lose to a rival driver multiple times during the course of eliminations.
Ashley’s reward for qualifying No. 1 is a tough round one quad that also includes Austin Prock, Antron Brown, and Cameron Ferre. Regardless of the competition, Ashley should be among the favorites after running a 3.66 in his Phillips Connect dragster on Friday night.
Leah Pruett also held on to the second spot following her 3.686 second run from Friday night. Pruett admittedly struggled at the start of the season but has made steady progress with her new team, owned by her husband, Tony Stewart. Pruett will also have her hands full as her quad includes world champions Brittany Force and Tony Schumacher, as well as Spencer Massey.
John Force held on to the top spot in Funny Car for the 164th time in his career thanks to his 3.85-second run from Friday night. Force and his Peak Blu Def Chevy team will catch a bit of a break as their scheduled quad is reduced to three cars due to the short field, but the 16-time champ will still have to outlast Alexis DeJoria and Bob Tasca III in order to advance.
A 3.867 by Houston winner Matt Hagan was good enough to secure the No. 2 spot with his Dodge Power Brokers Charger. Hagan has enjoyed considerable success at zMax Dragway including the sport’s first three-second run in 2011. Hagan’s quad features Paul Lee, Blake Alexander, and Mike MacIntyre.
Ron Capps and J.R. Todd also share a quad with Chad Green and Dale Creasy Jr. while Robert Hight, Cruz Pedregon, Jim Campbell, and Tim Wilkerson will also battle for the right to advance.
Steve Johnson led the Pro Stock Motorcycle field on Friday night but he was bumped by to the No. 2 spot by his longtime rival, Angelle Sampey, who made the best run of her long career with a 6.714 on her Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki. Sampey, who also ran 6.724 later in the day, has perhaps the best bike of her career and she’ll need it as she faces five-time world champ Matt Smith, Joey Gladstone, and Kelly Clontz in round one.
Johnson, coming off a win last weekend in Houston, can go back-to-back in Charlotte, but he’ll need to get past Angie Smith, Ron Tornow, and Hector Arana Jr.
World champs Eddie Krawiec and Jerry Savoie share a quad with Marc Ingwersen and Michael Ray while the final quad includes Gainesville winner Karen Stoffer, Ryan Oehler, Chris Bostick, and Jimmy Underdahl, who recorded his first 200-mph run on Saturday.
Champions will also be crowned in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series sportsman categories, the FuelTech Pro Mod series, and the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown.
You can catch the action all weekend on FOX Sports 1 and NHRA.tv.
You can follow NHRA on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to get a closer look at the action.
2021 EVENT WINNERS
Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; John Force, Funny Car; Steve Johnson, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
3.662 seconds by Brittany Force, May 2021; 332.92 mph by Brittany Force, April, 2022
3.850 seconds by John Force, April 2022; 334.24 mph by John Force, Oct. 2019.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE
6.714 seconds by Angelle Sampey, April 2022; 203.49 mph by Eddie Krawiec, May 2021
Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 1.
SUNDAY May 1, FS1 will televise one hour of qualifying highlights at 11:00 a.m. (ET)
SUNDAY, May 1 FS1 will televise 3 hours of finals coverage at 7:00 p.m. (ET)