NHRA - National Hot Rod Association

Sunday News & Notes from the NHRA 4-Wide Nationals

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



Latest posts


As hard as it is to believe, only three drivers -- Antron Brown, Steve Torrence and Cory McClenathan -- have scored Top Fuel wins in both the spring and fall events, and two of them – Josh Hart, who won the fall event here in his 2021 rookie season, and class wins leader Tony Schumacher – are in the first quad, but both finish behind quad winner Clay Millican (3.705) and birthday boy Billy Torrence (3.725).


Local hero Doug Foley has low e.t of his quad with a 3.73 but he wastes the great run on a red-light.  Yesterday’s Mission challenge winner Justin Ashley wins the quad on a holeshot ahead of Tony Stewart, 3.763 to 3.762. Dan Mercier finished third with a respectable 3.83.


Even though he’s a Top Fuel rookie, Tony Stewart says that the two four-wide events are helping his equalize the level of experience between himself and those who had plied their trade in the class for years,

“The fact that it’s confusing for some of the drivers that have a ton of experience and makes them uncomfortable, I'm already uncomfortable, so that automatically starts evening the odds a little bit. Anytime that the guys and girls that do this every week are uncomfortable, it just kind of closes that gap. I feel like it makes me feel like I'm at less of a deficit. Plus I look at eliminations like it's a short track race and heat-race style: You don’t have to win, just finish second to advance to the next round.”


Antron Brown has visited the final eliminations quad at four of the last seven four-wide events (Las Vegas 2023, Las Vegas 2022, Charlotte 2021, Las Vegas 2021), and with six zMAX Dragway victories, Brown is tied with Steve Torrence for most Top Fuel wins at the facility. He also recorded his career-best passes of 3.655 and 337.24 mph at this track last fall and, true to form, he wins his quad with a 3,718 ahead of Brittany Force, who gets second ahead of Steve Torrence on a 3.734 to 3.729 holeshot.


On her father Mike’s birthday, Jasmine Salinas wins her quad with low e.t. of the round. 3.700 to finish ahead of Las Vegas four-wide winner Doug Kalitta’s 3/729. Shawn Reed finished third with Cody Krohn in fourth.


Semifinal Top Fuel matchups (by order of lane choice):
Jasmine Salinas vs. Clay Millican vs. Billy Torrence vs. Doug Kalitta
Antron Brown vs. Brittany Force vs. Tony Stewart vs. Justin Ashley



Gainesville winner J.R. Todd wins his quad as his DHL Supra is the only car to make it down the track clean with a 3,91. Toyota teammate Alexis DeJoria joins him in the semifinals thanks to a holeshot as her 5.44 gets to the stripe ahead of Buddy Hull’s 5.41 as both drivers struggle for traction. Ron Capps smokes the tires immediately then oils the track, a double hit for the three-time world champ; speculation is an oil line may have come loose on the launch.

DeJoria, who qualified fourth — her best start since a No. 3 last year in Indy — has scored runner-up finishes at two out of her three most recent zMAX Dragway appearances (Fall 2022, Spring 2023).

We're down for a track-length oildown in Capps' lane.


Fifty minutes later, it’s a wholesale lane swap on the heels of Capps’ sliming of Lane 4. Low qualifier John Force, who had picked that lane, exercises his option and moves to Lane 3, booting Chad Green out of it. Green goes to Lane 2 and Cruz Pedregon, who was there, goes to Lane 1, leaving John Smith no choice but to go to Lane 4.

After all that, Pedregon streaks to the win with a stout 3.893 with Force finishing second and also advancing with a 3.916. Chad green has a good run going but heads to the wall downtrack and has to lift and finishes third ahead of cylinder-dropping Smith.


Daniel Wilkerson wins his quad by just .003-second on a holeshot, 3.885 to 3.871, over second-place Bob Tasca III. Paul Lee looked good early until something started going away and he finished third with Jim Campbell in fourth.


Funny Car rookie Austin Prock is looking to add his name to a rare bit of trivia. Last year’s Charlotte four-wide Top Fuel winner has the chance to become just the second driver in NHRA history to win an event back-to-back in the two different nitro classes.

J.R. Todd is the only driver to previously accomplish the feat, winning Top Fuel in Sonoma in 2016, then repeating in Funny Car in 2017.

That dream ends hard as Prock struggles to a 4.60 and finishes third behind Matt Hagan's 3.918 and Dave Richards' 4.01. Blake Alexander got loose and crossed the centerline to finish fourth. It's the first trip to the next round for Richards and team, who have struggled through the year's first four events.

It's a tough loss for Prock as the points leader goes out and the four drivers behind him — Todd, Tasca, Force, and Hagan — all advanced. Todd is the only one who can threaten his lead but will need to reach the final and finish at least second to retake the lead,


Semifinal Funny Car matchups (by order of lane choice):
Cruz Pedregon vs. John Force vs. J.R. Todd vs. Alexis DeJoria
Bob Tasca III vs. Daniel Wilkerson vs. Matt Hagan vs. Dave Richards



Defending Charlotte winner Deric Kramer continued his run of good fortune in four wide events with a round one win against Jeg Coughlin Jr., Troy Coughlin Jr., and Dave Connolly in a battle of four of the class' best starting line drivers. Ironically, none of the four racers cut a respectable light, but Kramer got his GetBioFuel Camaro to the finish line first with a 6.525 while Troy Coughlin Jr. finished second at 6.556. Connolly’s car died just off the starting line, while Vegas winner Jeg Coughlin Jr. got loose and slowed.


On a double holeshot, Aaron Stanfield punched his ticket to the semifinals with a 6.552 in his JHG Camaro. Stanfield made the third-best run of the round behind runner-up Jerry Don Tucker’s 6.548 while Eric Latino had the best run at 6.534, but did not advance. Brandon Foster was the No.  4 finisher despite a respectable 6.583.


After winning the Mission Foods #2Fast2Tasty Challenge on Saturday, Erica Enders continued to roll through eliminations on Sunday with a 6.525 that held off the 6.544 of teammate Cristian Cuadra, who finished second.


Low qualifier Greg Anderson and teammate Dallas Glenn advanced out of the final quad with two of the best runs of the round. Anderson turned on the win light with a 6.512 in his HendrickCars.com Camaro while Glenn was close behind at 6.525, to cover David Cuadra and Sienna Wildgust.


Semifinal Pro Stock matchups (by order of lane choice):
Erica Enders vs. Cristian Cuadra vs. Aaron Stanfield vs. Jerry Don Tucker
Greg Anderson vs. Dallas Glenn vs. Deric Kramer vs. Troy Coughlin Jr.



Matt Smith Racing put two of its four entries into the semifinals right off the bat as John Hall and Angie Smith both advanced in a quad that also included Marc Ingwersen and Chris Bostick. Hall ran 6.771 while Smith posted a 6.792 on her Denso Buell.


LE Tonglet blistered the Tree with a .007 light and then ran a quick 6.745 on his Maple Grove Raceway/Nitro Fish Suzuki to advance out of round one. Richard Gadson also made it to the semifinals in spite of an off-pace 6.853, which was enough to hold off Jianna Evaristo and Ryan Oehler.


To no one’s surprise, Matt Smith moved into the semifinals with a strong 6.747 on his Denso Buell. The battle for second place was epic as Hector Arana Jr. held off Kelly Clontz by an eyelash, 6.805 to  6.829 while Ron Tornow finished fourth.


Gaige Herrera continues to operate on another level with a 6.696 to set low elapsed time of the first round. Herrera also came close to the track speed record with a 203.34 blast on his RevZilla/Vance & Hines Suzuki.  Herrera, who also had a competitive .028 light, will be joined in the semifinals by Chase Van Sant, who rode to a 6.802 to cover Steve Johnson and Hector Arana Sr.


Semifinal Pro Stock Motorcycle matchups (by order of lane choice):
LE Tonglet vs. Matt Smith vs. Hector Arana Jr. vs. Richard Gadson
Gaige Herrera vs. John Hall vs. Angie Smith vs. Chase Van Sant.



Aaron Stanfield pounds out a strong 7.07 to defeat Lenny Lottig's 7.19 and earns final-round lane choice, where he will face Jesse Alexandra, whose 7.27 defeated Stephen Bell's 7.32. Incoming points leader Greg Stanfield, who lost in round one, will maintain his points lead no matter what happens in the final, but his son, Aaron, can pull to within three points of his lead with a win.

Aaron Stanfield, who is also still in the running in the Pro Stock semifinals, has a chance for what would be the first Pro Stock/Factory X double-win Sunday,



In a quad full of canopied Top Fuelers, Saturday’s Mission Challenge winner Justin Ashley keeps his bid alive for a double-win weekend as he and Antron Brown advance to the final with respective runs of 3.711 and 3.728, finishing ahead of Brittany Force and Tony Stewart.

By reaching the final, Ashley is assured of keeping his incoming points lead no matter what happens in the final quad.

Clay Millican wins the second quad with low e.t. of the frame, 3.710, to finish ahead of Doug Kalitta’s 3.760. Billy Torrence finished third and Jasmine Salinas fourth.

Top Fuel final-round matchup (by lane choice order): Clay Millican vs. Justin Ashley vs. Antron Brown vs. Doug Kalitta



John Force, gunning for his fourth four-wide win, advances to another final round with a 3.914 and is joined by J.R. Todd, who gets second on a holeshot over Cruz Pedregon, 3.933 to 3.932. Alexis DeJoria finished fourth.

Matt Hagan, who won the Las Vegas four-wide event in 2023, will get another shot and will have the first choice of lanes after a strong 3.879 to win his quad. Daniel Wilkerson will get his shot at his first Wally after finishing second with a 3.906. Bob Tasca III ran into trouble and finished third ahead of Dave Richards.

The final round will feature one of every car make: a Chevy, a Dodge, a Toyota, and a Ford.

Funny Car final-round matchup (by lane choice order): Matt Hagan vs. Daniel Wilkerson vs. John Force vs. J.R. Todd



Aaron Stanfield and Cristian Cuadra emerged from an all-Elite semifinal quad to make the final round in Charlotte. Stanfield, who is already going to the final round of the Holley EFI Factory X class, will have a chance to double after driving his JHG Camaro to a win with a 6.554. Stanfield held off Cuadra, who was second across the stripe with a 6.557. Erica Enders was quickest at 6.540, but missed the tree while Jerry Don Tucker’s shot a the final ended early with a foul start.

Greg Anderson has had the best Pro Stock car at zMax Dragway all weekend and it showed in the semifinals where he set the pace in his HendrickCars.com Chevy with a 6.530 to reach his 178th final round. Runner-up Dallas Glenn moved to within one point of championship leader Erica Enders by finishing second thanks to a 6.552,  holding off the quicker 6.543 of Deric Kramer and the 6.602 of Troy Coughlin Jr.

Final Pro Stock matchups (by order of lane choice): Greg Anderson vs. Aaron Stanfield vs. Dallas Glenn vs. Cristian Cuadra.



Hector Arana Jr. fouled and Matt Smith shut off early sending Vance & Hines riders Richard Gadson and LE Tonglet into the final round. Gadson won the quad on a holeshot with a 6.784 to advance to his first final round while Tonglet made the best run of the round with a 6.778.  

Gaige Herrera is in line for career win No. 13 after dominating his semifinal quad. The reigning champ remains the only rider in the 6.6s with a 6.698 at over 202 mph to win over former Indy winner John Hall, who ran 6.748. The quad began with a foul start by Chase Van Sant while Angie Smith finished third despite a competitive 6.798 run.

Final Pro Stock Motorcycle matchups (by order of lane choice): Gaige Herrera vs. John Hall vs. LE Tonglet vs. Richard Gadson



The Pro Stock Motorcycle final round was competitive, but in the end no one could stop reigning world champion Gaige Herrera, who powered to career win No. 13 on his RevZilla/Vance & Hines Suzuki. Herrera finished the job with a 6.684 to hold off John Halls 6.758. Richard Gadson, appearing in his first career final, was third with a 6.767 while LE Tonglet ran a 6.780, but fouled at the start, ending his chances for his first win since 2018.


Greg Anderson tied Hall of Fame alcohol racer Frank Manzo with his 105th career Pro Stock victory and five of the have now come at his home track, zMax Dragway. After qualifying No. 1, Anderson completed the rout with a 6.502 in a final quad that also included Aaron Stanfield, Dallas Glenn, and Cristian Cuadra. Stanfield, the winner in Holley EFI Factory X, finished second with a 6.551 while Glenn was third and Cuadra fourth. Anderson is now the championship leader by 25 points over reigning champ Erica Enders.



Matt Hagan becomes the 24th driver in NHRA history to reach the 50-win mark, the 16th to do it in the pro classes, and just the fourth to do it exclusively in Funny Car, behind John Force, Ron Capps, and Robert Hight.

Hagan got it done on a holeshot, 3.946 to 3.923, over Daniel Wilkerson, who crossed second. J.R Todd finished third and John Force fourth.

Hagan's win pulls him into second place behind Austin Prock, just 15 points back. Wilkerson's long day carried him to eighth in points.



Justin Ashley wins his second of the season and his 13th in Top Fuel, leaving first and running quickest with a 3.710 to finish ahead of Clay Millican's 3.722 and Doug Kalitta's 3.725. Antron Brown smoked the tires early and finished fourth.



Mike Coughlin def. Julie Nataas def. Hunter Green def. Megan Smith

Sean Bellemeur def. D.J. Cox def. Bob McCosh def. Matt Gill

Rickie Smith def. Joel Warren

Don Shuford def. Allen Wilson

Brett Candies def. Josh Decker

Colby Fuller def. Michael Handras

Billy Upton def. Bob Locke

Brad Plourd def. William Morgan

Holden Laris def. Chad Taylor

James Hinkle def. Calvin Snow

Aaron Stanfield def. Jesse Alexandra

Bo Butner def. Johnny Pluchino