John Force Racing Sweeps Nitro Classes at zMax 4-Wide

 

Over the weekend, NHRA nitro and Pro Stock teams challenged the famed four lanes at “The Bellagio of Dragstrips” in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle outside Charlotte NC. Currently, zMAX Dragway is only one of two dragstrips with four distinct lanes each with a Christmas Tree, retaining walls, and finish line. Teams last raced in Las Vegas at The Strip for the first four-wide event of the season.

Four-wide racing changes a driver’s strategy for elimination rounds at NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and the altitude, temperature, and track surface grip requires the team to make major changes to settings. Typically, after experiencing a problem off the start, the driver shuts down their high horsepower engine and starts making plans for the next race. But with two cars in each foursome advancing to the next round, you have to keep your foot in it.

Originally met with skepticism, an innovative Bruton Smith pushed forward for the construction of the complex in 2009. After a questionable opening, the four-wide facility at zMAX Dragway in Concorde has continually built on its rich history as the first track to host a NHRA national 4-wide event for Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, Pro Stock Motorcycle and FuelTech Pro Mod.

The east coast center of racing hosted the fifth national in the twenty-one race schedule for the 2023 NHRA drag racing championships. The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series will also return to the Charlotte track in the fall for the 2-wide Circle K NHRA Carolina Nationals, which is a key event in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs.


Austin Prock Wins Top Fuel at zMAX Dragway

SEMIFINAL ROUND #1 – No doubts that everyone knows who you have to outrun in Top Fuel qualifying week after week. As the number one qualifier, Brittany Force lost traction in the elimination round as Josh Hart claimed a hole shot victory over second place Steve Torrence and a red-hot Doug Foley who touched the centerline after spinning his tires down track.

SEMIFINAL ROUND #2 – Justin Ashley nailed the Tree but was off the pace at the 100-foot mark. Both Leah Pruett and Austin Prock went straight down the groove to the stripe to advance to the Top Fuel Final round finishing second and first, respectively. Pat Dakin was in it, smoked the tires and got back on the throttle to finish third.

4-WIDE FINAL ROUND – After the John Force Racing driver struggled at the four-wide race in Las Vegas two weeks ago, Prock bounced back in style by posting the quickest run of the eliminations in the Final round. It was Prock’s first win of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series and the fourth Top Fuel Wally of his career.


Robert Hight Wins 4-Wide in Nitro Funny Car

SEMIFINAL ROUND #1 – Mike McIntire Jr. had the weekend of his Funny Car career at Circle K NHRA Four-Wide National but a .102 reaction time had him playing catchup to the pair from John Force Racing. The 16-time Funny Car world champion nailed the start but Robert Hight immediately ran his teammate down and posted a 3.875 elapsed time for the win.

SEMIFINAL ROUND #2 – It was an uncharacteristic start for Alexis Dejoria but her Bandero Premium Tequila Toyota Supra had the power to advance to the Funny Car Final round at zMAX Dragway. Ron Capps made his fastest pass of the weekend with a 3.881 ET at 335.15 mph for the win. Bob Tasca III and Chad Green were both off the throttle and coasted to the line.

4-WIDE FINAL ROUND –Robert Hight came to Charlotte in a two race slump and looking for his second win of the 2023 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing season. In the Final, Dejoria was off last but fastest at 333.41 mph, Capps nailed a .037-second RT, and Hight split the middle with a 3.888-second elapsed time in his Flav-R-Pac Chevrolet Camaro to win his sixty-third career Wally.


Deric Kramer Snags Pro Stock Wally at Charlotte

SEMIFINAL ROUND #1 – Matt Hartford nailed the start with a .022 reaction time but Deric Kramer posted a slightly quicker 6.588 ET to edge Hartford’s faster speed of 208.78 mph. Multi-time Pro Stock world champion Greg Anderson was last off the line but pulled his HendrickCars.com Chevrolet Camaro to within inches of Hartford at the 4-wide finish.

SEMIFINAL ROUND #2 – In the second semifinal round, Kyle Koretsky was off the tree late and was unable to catch up. Fernando Cuadra Jr. posted a .015 reaction time just ahead of Jerry Tucker with .022 RT. Las Vegas four-wide winner Dallas Glenn was a tick behind but with a good light of his own and ran Tucker down with a 6.580 elapsed time to Tucker’s 6.600 ET.

4-WIDE FINAL ROUND – Deric Kramer, the driver of the Get BioFuel Chevrolet Camaro, hadn’t been to the winner’s circle in almost four years. Dallas Glenn was looking for his third straight Wally in Funny Car. In the Final, Cuadra redlights, Hartford pulls the hole shot, Glenn gets away second, and Kramer posts a 6.555 elapsed time to beat Glenn to the line by a foot and half.


Gaige Herrera Wins Second Wally at Circle K National

SEMIFINAL ROUND #1 – Joey Gladstone got the light he was looking for with his near perfect .002 reaction time. Hector Arana Jr. nailed an eight light but didn’t have the top end speed the team had found in qualifying. Vance & Hines veteran Eddie Krawiec has 49 career Wallys and put his experience to use with a come from behind 6.784 ET win over a hard-charging Steve Johnson in second.

SEMIFINAL ROUND #2 – Coming off his debut victory at the Gatornationals, Gaige Herrera was the number one qualify and easily won his first round of eliminations. In the semifinal round, Matt Smith (.004 RT) and Jerry Savoie (.005 RT) made the Vance & Hines Suzuki rider run them down. Although Kelly Clontz had the second fastest ET, Smith held on for runner-up finish.

4-WIDE FINAL ROUND – Aboard a very fast Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Suzuki, Gaige Herrera posted the quickest run in two of his three Pro Stock Motorcycle elimination rounds. As topping on the cake, Herrera broke the track record with a 6.710 ET in the Final round. It would be an understatement to say his .013 reaction time at zMAX Dragway was a fluke... it wasn’t.

artwork courtesy of National Hot Rod Association


UP COMING:

Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Chicago

Both NHRA nitro divisions (Top Fuel & Funny Car) and both NHRA pro stock divisions (Pro Stock & Pro Stock Motorcycles) will compete side-by-side at the Gerber Collision and Glass NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance on May 19-21 at Route 66 Raceway in Elwood, IL.

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