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Tricky Tipster: Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

Tricky Tipster is at it again, and he's cooked up his picks for the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte. This time, Antron Brown, Matt Hagan, Dallas Glenn, and Matt Smith are the favorites
28 Apr 2023
NHRA National Dragster staff
Tricky Tipster®
Tricky Tipster

We just returned from the first four-wide event of the season in Las Vegas, and now, it’s time to move to Charlotte for another side-by-side-by-side-by-side drag race. Two weeks ago, Antron Brown, Matt Hagan, and Dallas Glenn mastered the Vegas event, so it should be no surprise that they’re listed as the favorites this week largely due to their ability to master the often tricky art of quad racing.

While the 2023 season is just four races old, it’s also important to note that Hagan and Glenn each have multiple wins. In a sport that currently has so much parity, that’s noteworthy.

When it comes to Pro Stock Motorcycles, the data is a bit inconclusive because we’ve had just one event, and that was six weeks ago. All things considered, Matt Smith is usually a safe bet because he’s the reigning world champ, historically does well at four-wide races, and happens to live in North Carolina.


The favorite: Last year, Antron Brown got off to a slow start, and it likely cost him a shot at a fourth Top Fuel title. Brown took a pair of early losses in Gainesville and Phoenix, but he’s quickly snapped out of it with a semifinal in Pomona followed by a convincing win at the Las Vegas four-wide race. Brown didn’t necessarily have the best car in Las Vegas, but he found a way to get the job done from the No. 9 qualifying spot, and that counts for a lot. By a slim margin, he’s our favorite.

The contenders: Justin Ashley has two wins in the first four races, so he’s certainly among the favorites. In fact, if this was a traditional two-wide race, we’d probably have him listed above Brown.

For all his success this season, Ashley still trails Steve Torrence in the standings. Why? Because Torrence and his Capco crew have had the season’s most consistent car to date this year, even though they are still seeking their first win, a victory which might very well happen this week.

Finally, let’s throw in Brittany Force and Mike Salinas, who are also currently ranked in the top five in a very tough Top Fuel class. Both of them win regularly and have had success in the four-wide format.

The dark horse: After his staging miscue in Las Vegas, Shawn Langdon has something to prove this week, and he’s got the car to do it thanks to some recent qualifying success. The struggles of the Kalitta team have been well documented, but there are very few people who don’t think they’re overdue for a big breakthrough, and that includes Tipster.

Antron Brown             Matco Tools                            4-1
Steve Torrence           Capco Contractors                 5-1
Justin Ashley               Phillips Connect                      6-1
Brittany Force             Monster Energy                      6-1
Mike Salinas                Scrappers                                8-1
Leah Pruett                 Dodge Power Brokers            9-1
Doug Kalitta                Mac Tools                                 10-1
Austin Prock               Montana Brands                     10-1
Josh Hart                     R+L Carriers                             12-1
Shawn Langdon        DHL                                            14-1
Field                                                                                19-1


The favorite: We’ve had Matt Hagan as our go-to guy in Funny Car at the last three events, and he’s delivered results at all three events, so we’re going to ride this horse for a while longer. The funny thing is that the Funny Car class has so much parity that no one car or driver is supposed to be able to dominate, but here we are. Winning four of the first five races would be memorable, but the Dodge Power Brokers team might just do it.

The contenders: Short answer here is just about everyone else, although world champs Ron Capps and Robert Hight would seem to have the best shot at unseating Hagan from the top spot. A tough loss in Las Vegas notwithstanding, Capps has done well this season. The same applies to Hight, who won Phoenix from the No. 9 spot but has also taken a couple of tough early losses.

Bob Tasca III, Alexis Dejoria, and even Cruz Pedregon rate a mention here thanks to their early-season success. Pedregon has been a bit inconsistent but has also shown signs that he can dominate, as he did at last year’s NHRA Finals in Pomona.

We’re also willing to take a closer look at Chad Green, who has done nothing but improve this season with three semifinals in the first four races. Green figures to be a top 10 player for the duration, and the odds of him reaching a final round soon seem quite high.

The dark horse: If there is anyone who’d like a do-over on the 2023 season, it's J.R. Todd, who wounded two race cars in Pomona and then suffered a rare DNQ in Las Vegas. It was just the fifth time in 281 races that Todd wasn’t a part of Sunday’s final eliminations. Todd and the DHL team can and will rebound from this, and it’s likely to happen sooner rather than later.

Matt Hagan                Dodge Power Brokers Dodge            2-1
Ron Capps                  NAPA Toyota                                        4-1
Robert Hight              Flav-R-Pak Chevy                                  5-1
Bob Tasca III              Motorcraft Ford                                    6-1
Alexis DeJoria            Bandero Toyota                                    7-1
Cruz Pedregon          Snap-on Dodge                                     8-1
Chad Green               Bondcoat Ford                                      9-1    
Tim Wilkerson          SCAG Mowers Ford                               10-1
J.R. Todd                    DHL Toyota                                            11-1
John Force                Peak/Blu Def Chevy                               12-1
Field                                                                                             18-1


The favorite: While we haven’t given up on reigning champ Erica Enders and still believe she’ll get her share of wins this season, it's impossible to ignore the recent hot streak put together by Dallas Glenn, who has won the last two races and has looked nearly unbeatable in the process. Glenn has competed in just 40 Pro Stock races, but he’s been to 10 finals and won six times.

Glenn also happens to do some of his best work at four-wide races, which happens to work in his favor this week at his home track.

The contenders: There’s almost too many to list because there are 23 Pro Stock cars on the entry list and nearly all of them are competitive. Other than Glenn, Troy Coughlin Jr. and Camrie Caruso have won events this season, and neither was a fluke.

Beyond Glenn, Coughlin, and Caruso, we’ve got a fleet of really fast cars handeld by more than capable drivers, including Matt Hartford, who has a win in the Mission Foods NHRA #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, as well as Greg Anderson, Aaron Stanfield, and Bo Butner. Isn’t is also time for Kyle Koretsky, Mason McGaha, and Deric Kramer to gain their footing this season?

The dark horse: The Cuadra team is expanding to four cars this week with the addition of David, who recently upgraded his Top Sportsman license. Of the four, Cristian seems like the driver best positioned to get his first win this season. Cristian was a runner-up at the 2022 Las Vegas four-wide, and when properly motivated, he can knock the Tree over with the best of them.

Dallas Glenn                     RAD Torque Systems Camaro             3-1
Troy Coughlin Jr.              JEGS.com Camaro                                  4-1
Erica Enders                     JGH/Elite Camaro                                   5-1
Matt Hartford                  Total Seal Camaro                                  6-1
Camrie Caruso                Powerbuilt Camaro                                7-1
Aaron Stanfield               Janac Bros/J3 Energy Camaro               7-1
Bo Butner                        JHG Camaro                                             8-1    
Greg Anderson               Hendrick Cars.com Camaro                  10-1
Kyle Koretsky                  Lucas Oil/NitroFish Camaro                  10-1
Mason McGaha              Harlow Sammons Camaro                    11-1
Cristian Cuadra Jr.          Corral Boots Mustang                            12-1
Field                                                                                                     15-1


The favorite: Based strictly on results from Gainesville, this spot should rightfully go to Gaige Herrera, who was nearly flawless in taking his first NHRA victory. Herrera, in his first event as a Vance & Hines team rider, dominated the season opener, but since this is his first shot at a four-wide event, we’re going to defer the top spot to reigning champ Matt Smith, who seems to have a solid handle on the various nuances of four-wide racing. Smith is also set to race with the new Suzuki Hayabusa bodywork, so in theory, he’s got equipment that is equal to the Vance & Hines team.

The contenders: If Herrera isn’t the favorite, he’s certainly among the leading contenders based solely on his performance in Gainesville. Other leading candidates include rookie Chase Van Sant, who was nearly as impressive as Herrera in his Gainesville debut, as well as Angie Smith, Steve Johnson, and Joey Gladstone, who struggled out of the gate but figures to be in the thick of the fight this week.

We can also add former world champ Jerry Savoie, who skipped the Gainesville race but will join White Alligator Racing teammates Van Sant and John Hall in Charlotte.

The dark horse: There is one other rider who made a big splash in Gainesville and that was Jianna Evaristo, who recorded some of the best runs of her career en route to a semifinal finish. Evaristo is a past national event winner, but she’s never looked more competitive, and now that her Scrappers Suzuki is a solid 6.7-second bike, there’s reason to believe a second win is on the horizon.    

Matt Smith               Denso Suzuki                               3-1
Gaige Herrera          Vance & Hines Suzuki                4-1
Angie Smith             Denso Buell                                  5-1
Chase Van Sant       Trick Tools Suzuki                       6-1
Steve Johnson         MacRak Suzuki                            7-1
Joey Gladstone        Reed Motorsports Suzuki         7-1
Hector Arana Jr.       GETTRX Buell                              8-1    
Eddie Krawiec          Vance & Hines Suzuki               9-1
Jerry Savoie             White Alligator Suzuki                10-1
Field                                                                                15-1