The unique and often unpredictable four wide format returns to the Camping World NHRA Drag Racing tour this weekend at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This is the first of two events that feature the four-at-a-time format including the event at zMax Dragway in late April.
It’s no secret that some NHRA pros have differing opinions of four wide racing but nearly all would agree that as a driver, its and event they’d like to win at least once in their careers.
For those who might be unfamiliar, the four wide events feature professional competition in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock competing in both qualifying and eliminations using all four lanes. During Sunday’s final both the winner and second-place finisher in each “quad” advance to the next round, with the final quad deciding the winner, runner-up, and two semifinal finishers.
One driver who clearly has a firm grasp on four wide racing is reigning and four-time Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence, who has six four wide wins to his credit including last year’s Las Vegas race. Oddly, enough, Torrence has yet to win this season, so this might represent the best opportunity for the Capco team to get on the scoreboard.
Torrence’s toughest competition figures to come from Mike Salinas, who is also a past four wide winner and the champion of the Phoenix event held last month.
Pomona winner Justin Ashley hasn’t won a four wide race yet, but he’s got to be among the favorites based on his early results this season. The same goes for Josh Hart, the winner of two events last season.
Brittany Force has yet to win a race in Las Vegas but the Monster Energy driver does have a four wide victory from the 2016 Charlotte race. Force is also the current track record holder for both elapsed time and speed in Las Vegas.
Austin Prock and Clay Millican kicked off the season with final round showings in Pomona and Phoenix, respectively and they figure to be in the mix in Las Vegas although Millican will be working with a new crew chief as Jim Oberhofer has joined the Stringer team.
Robert Hight won the first two races of the season and Matt Hagan won in Gainesivlle, and both drivers could easily be classified as the favorites this weekend. Hight won nine-straight rounds to start the season before losing to Blake Alexander in Gainesville.
As for Hagan, he delivered the first win for the new Tony Stewart team when he defeated Alexander in the Gainesville final. Hagan also won a four wide event in Charlotte in 2013.
Defending world champ Ron Capps, who was the No. 1 qualifier, and finished runner-up in Pomona. Capps, a new team owner this year, also has a pair of four wide wins in Charlotte and has five Las Vegas wins on his scorecard.
The defending event champ is Bob Tasca III, who generally runs well in Las Vegas. Tasca enters this race as the No. 7 ranked driver in the Funny Car class. Naturally, he’d love to gain ground on leader Hight.
In Pro Stock, Erica Enders has had a lot of success in Las Vegas with seven wins spread across both the spring and fall races. Enders kicked off the season with a solid win in Pomona, but suffered a tough holeshot loss to Bo Butner in Gainesville. The four wide race would appear to be the perfect place for the four time champ to get back on the winning track.
Reigning and five time champion Greg Anderson is still seeking his landmark 100th victory and Las Vegas would be a perfect place for it to happen since it’s the hometown of his team owners, Ken and Judy Black. Anderson is ranked No. 6 in the Pro Stock standings after the first three races.
Four other Pro Stock drivers who bear watching this weekend are Aaron Stanfield, Troy Coughlin Jr., Dallas Glenn and Kyle Koretsky. Stanfield and Glenn have already won this season while Coughlin and Koretsky have appeared in final rounds. Coughlin will also debut a new JEGS.com Camaro during Friday’s first qualifying session.
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; Bob Tasca III, Funny Car; Erica Enders, Pro Stock.
3.652 seconds by Brittany Force, Nov. 2019; 338.17 mph by Brittany Force, Nov., 2019
3.835 seconds by Jack Beckman, Nov. 2019; 335.90 mph by Jack Beckman, Nov. 2019
6.559 seconds by Erica Enders, Oct. 2015; 210.28 mph by Erica Enders, Oct. 201
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. PT on Friday, April 1, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, April 2 at 12:30 and 3 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for noon on Sunday, April 3.
FRIDAY, April 1, FS1 will televise 90 minutes of qualifying at 7 p.m. (ET)
SUNDAY April 3, FS1 will televise 90 minutes of qualifying highlights at 12:30 p.m. (ET)
SUNDAY, April 3, FS1 will televise 3 hours of finals coverage at 7 p.m. (ET)