NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Friday News & Notes from the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals

News, notes, quotes, photos, and video from the opening day of the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. Updated throughout the day.
26 Apr 2024
NHRA National Dragster staff
Race coverage




Two weeks after winning the first official event in the Holley EFI Factory X class in Las Vegas, Greg Stanfield drove to the provisional pole in Charlotte with a blistering 7.049-second run in his Rod Shop Camaro. Stanfield, a five-time champion in the Super Stock class, currently holds a sizable lead against No. 2 qualifier Jesse Alexander, who ran 7.281. Rick Hord, Stephen Bell, and Aaron Stanfield, three of the pre-race favorites for the Charlotte F/X title, did not make full runs during the first of three qualifying sessions. 



The Johnson’s Horsepowered Garage Mountain Motor Pro Stock series kicked off their 2024 season on Friday in Charlotte, and it took just one session for the eight-car bump spot to land in the 6.2s.

Bo Butner, a former world champion in both Comp and the conventional 500-cid Pro Stock class, leads the field with a strong 6.205, 227.04 run in his JGH Camaro. Butner finished ahead of Elijah Morton, who posted a 6.222 and Johnny DeFlorian, who is the current No. 3 seed at 6.238. The current bump spot is held by Tony Gillig at 6.272 seconds.



After a disappointing start to the season in Gainesville, Matt Smith promised a better effort in Charlotte and so far, the six-time world champion was delivered with a 6.685, 201.61 effort on his Denso Buell to lead the Pro Stock Motorcycle field after one qualifying session. Had a clear shot to the pole after reigning world champion Gaige Herrera lost fire with his RevZilla Suzuki.

Smith’s teammate, John Hall, made the best run of his long career with a 6.728 at 202.36 mph to take the second spot while Hector Arana Jr.  is also in the 6.7s with a 6.742.

The second RevZilla Vance & Hines Suzuki, ridden by Richard Gadson, also slowed before the finish line to a 6.96.



Greg Anderson is scheduled to retire his current HendrickCars.com Camaro Pro Stock car shortly, but he may want to re-think his timeline after driving to the provisional pole with a 6.500 in Charlotte. Anderson leads a typically close and competitive field that also includes Aaron Stanfield, who ran a 6.508, and Cristian Cuadra, who was third-quickest at 6.515.

The top eight cars are all in at 6.552 or quicker and that does not include defending event winner Deric Kramer, Kenny Delco, Troy Coughlin Jr., Jeg Coughlin Jr., or Las Vegas low qualifier Jerry Don Tucker, who all shook the tires and shut off early.


The Cuadra family is very much looking forward to their four-wide run in Q2, possibly the last time that retiring Fernando Sr. lines up against his three sons – Fernando Sr. Cristian, and David -- and there’s some pretty good incentive on the line for the patriarch to beat his boys: there’s a McLaren MP4 the boys will have to buy them if he takes the win light. 

It won’t be easy.

“The engines that we're using, and the power we're using this weekend is identical within two or three horsepower, so whoever does better, cuts a light, and drives well, is gonna win because Richard Freeman helped us to make identical cars altogether.

Although son David has a Top Sportsman win, and Fernando Sr. and Jr. and Cristian have all been to Pro Stock finals, there’s still not a Pro Stock Wally in their camp. Who’s gonna get the first one?

“Fernando [Jr.] is very systematic -- he missed by ,006 the reaction and Cristian has been the double-ohs,” said their father. “He missed the last one because he struggled with so many lights [at the Las Vegas four-wide event two weeks ago], but the knife is right here; he's gonna take the knife out of the chest. And David, who is the newer one; he does a phenomenal job; did you see his runs?. He missed it one around by just 25 rpm across the whole run; that's how you do that.”



Ron Capps, whose four Charlotte wins include the four-wide race back in 2017, leads the Funny Car field after one session with a 3.877, a few ticks ahead of three-time four-wide race winner John Force’s 3.893.

Matt Hagan, who made the sport’s first three-second Funny Car run here in September 2011, is third at 3914 followed by Daniel Wilkerson’s 3.918, the best run of his young flopper career. Paul Lee (3.928), J.R. Todd (3.958). and Alexis DeJoria (3.993) round out the three-second runners in Q1.

Points frontrunners Austin Prock and Bob Tasca III both failed to make it down the zMAX track on their first shots.



Kalitta Motorsports teammates Doug Kalitta and Shawn Langdon led the way in the opening Top Fuel session with respective runs of 3.711 and 3.719, knocking down class rookie Jasmine Salinas’ career-best 3.738 that stood for most of the session.

Billy Torrence, who will celebrate his birthday here Sunday, sits fourth at 3.755 with local favorite Doug Foley (3.755), Antron Brown (3.761), (Justin Ashley (3.763), and Shawn Reed (3.767) rounding out the quick eight.



For just the second time since the start of the 2023 season, there is a strong chane that someone other than Gaige Herrera will be the low qualifier in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Herrera, the reigning champ, ran a 6.692 in the second qualifying session at zMax Dragway, but he couldn’t catch Matt Smith’s 6.685 run from Q1.

Smith and Herrera have the top two spots in the field, while past world champ LE Tonglet clocked in with a 6.703, the best run of his long career, to finish the day as the No. 3 qualifier. Angie Smith rode to a 6.718 in the final quad of the day to take the No. 4 spot while John Hall, fourth at 6.728, also re-set his career-best elapsed time.



As expected, the Pro Stock field got quicker and tighter during Friday’s evening session but no one was able to challenge Greg Anderson’s 6.500 pass from Q1. Anderson wasn’t able to make his second run when his HendrickCars.com Camaro experienced what appeared to be an electrical issue, but he retained the top spot.

The quickest run of the round came from Cristian Cuadra, who poasted a 6.507. Cuadra was competing in a memorable quad that also included his brothers, Fernando Jr., and David, and father, Fernando Sr., who announced his retirement earlier in the day.

After Anderson and Cristian Cuadra, the field includes Aaron Stanfield, Deric Kramer, and Jerry Tucker. Reigning world champ Erica Enders is No. 8 with a 6.523 while the bump is Fernando Cuadra Sr. at 6.553.



Sixteen-time world champ John Force showed why he’ll always be one of the great, setting a new track record, breaking Robert Hight’s 3.824 mark to take the No. 1 spot. The run is also a career-best for Force, bettering the 3823 run that he made last fall in Dallas.

Vegas four-wide winner Bob Tasca III, who didn’t make it down the track in the first session, stepped way up with a 3.849 to take the No. 2 spot, followed by Alexis DeJoria, who continues to make big leaps after a shaky fall/winter, racking up a 3.859 for No.3.

Nine Funny Cars have qualified in the threes with Ron Capps (3.877), Paul Lee (3.909), Matt Hagan (3.914), Daniel Wilkerson (3.918), Chad Green (3.923), and J.R. Todd (3.958) all covering the distance in less than four seconds.

Points leader Austin Prock’s Cornwell Tools team missed the tune-up again and ended the day in the 14th spot with a 4.54 best.



Antron Brown, who has six combined wins at the zMAX events, took away the No. 1 spot from Doug Kalitta’s first-session 3.711 with a 3.698, but it didn’t hold as Kalitta had the last shot and took it back with a 3.691.

Behind Kalitta and Brown with identical 3.716 passes sit Billy Torrence and Tony Stewart, the latter of whom chopped about a hundredth off his career best for the No. 4 spot.

Shawn Langdon (3.719), Clay Millican (3.735), Jasmine Salinas (3.738), and Shawn Reed (3.738) round out the top eight,

Mike Bucher lost what would have been a career-best of 3.874 when his dragster clipped the finish line cone and will finish the day in the No. 15 spot. Dan Mercier has the lone car outside the field after a 7.77 best.