The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will once again try to tame the one-of-a-kind thrill show at the world’s only four-lane dragstrip.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to the prestigious zMAX Dragway for one of the most exceptional events in the sport of drag racing, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, March 27-29, the fourth of 24 events during the 2015 season.
The event, the only one of its kind which gives fans an opportunity to see the world’s best drag racers power their 10,000-horsepower nitro machines side by side by side by side in a four-wide configuration. It’s an experience unlike anything else in drag racing.
The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will once again try to tame the one-of-a-kind thrill show at the world’s only four-lane dragstrip. Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Jimmy Alund (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (PSM) were last year’s winners of the event that will once again be televised on ESPN and ESPN2. Due to ESPN’s live eliminations coverage on Sunday, Mello Yello Series racing will begin at 1 p.m. (ET), an hour later than originally scheduled.
Celebrating its sixth running, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals has thrilled fans with never before seen sights in professional drag racing. In most drag racing scenarios, the only things standing in the way of a win light are the Christmas Tree and the competitor in the other lane. In the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, drivers have to contend with those issues times three, with the addition of two more competitors lined up alongside them. For fans, watching four racecars simultaneously accelerate to more than 300 mph is certainly quadruple the fun.
In Top Fuel, Brown piloted his Matco Tools dragster to his first career Four-Wide Nationals win last season and claimed six victories on the season, a season best in the category. Brown, the 2012 Top Fuel world champion, has had a strong opening to the 2015 season, claiming a runner-up finish at the season-opening event in Pomona and a semifinal appearance in Phoenix. With a new paint scheme in 2015 dedicated to individual Matco distributors around the country, Brown will be eager to get his new racecar to victory lane in the Tar Heel state.
Spencer Massey, Brown’s DSR teammate, has dominated the Charlotte Spring race the last few years, going back-to-back in 2012 and 2013. Fresh off a third place points finish in 2014, Massey will be looking for a third victory in four years in his Red Fuel dragster. Reigning world champ Tony Schumacher has two victories at zMAX Dragway, but is looking for his first in the unique four-lane format. Kalitta Motorsports drivers Doug Kalitta and J.R. Todd, three-time world champ Larry Dixon, reigning rookie of the year Richie Crampton, Brittany Force, Steve Torrence and Leah Pritchett will all be major contenders in Top Fuel.
In Funny Car, Robert Hight scored a victory at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in 2014, his first of three straight victories on the season. Hight dominated the first half of the regular season before finishing fifth in Funny Car points. The winningest driver in NHRA history at zMAX Dragway with four victories, Hight will bring his new look Auto Club Chevy Camaro SS to the state of the art facility as the only two-time Funny Car winner of the event. Hight, the 2009 Funny Car world champ, also won the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in 2012.
Reigning world champ Matt Hagan is a three-time winner at Charlotte including a victory at the four-lane race in 2013. Hagan started his title defense strong by sweeping the season-opening events in Pomona and Phoenix. Hagan, driver of the Mopar Express Lane/Rocky Boots Dodge Charger R/T, holds the track speed record with a 322.27 mph pass in September 2011. John Force, the 16-time world champ and winner of the 2010 NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, will give his Charlotte fans their first look at his new PEAK Chevy Camaro SS. Funny Car’s winningest female driver Courtney Force, three-time national event winner Alexis DeJoria, 2011 Top Fuel world champ Del Worsham, two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon, 2012 world champ Jack Beckman, third place points finisher Tommy Johnson Jr. and Don Schumacher Racing driver Ron Capps are some of the other Funny Car competitors who are expected to compete for the coveted Wally.
Jimmy Alund surprised everyone in Charlotte when he won the event in Pro Stock last season. Substituting for four-time world champ Greg Anderson, who had off-season heart surgery, Alund ran the first five races and struck gold in his final round appearance of 2014. Alund returns to Charlotte with different circumstances this time around, racing one of Anderson’s old Pontiac GXPs. Anderson, a two-time winner of the event, is looking for his first race win since Englishtown in 2012. Summit Racing teammate Jason Line was the runner-up in points last season and opened 2015 with a win at the Circle K NHRA Winternationals.
Others to watch in the parity-filled factory hot road category include reigning world champ Erica Enders-Stevens, 2012 world champ Allen Johnson, Phoenix winner Rodger Brogdon, rookie sensation and Pomona runner-up Drew Skillman, Gray Motorsports drivers Shane Gray and Jonathan Gray, Vincent Nobile and V. Gaines.
Pro Stock Motorcycle
Hines and Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate Eddie Krawiec dominated the Pro Stock Motorcycle season, combining to win 11 of the 16 events in 2014. Hines claimed his first win of the year in Charlotte and claimed five more titles en route to his fourth career world championship, which puts him second on the all-time series champ list in the class. Krawiec, twice a winner at the Charlotte fall event, 2009 world champ Hector Arana Sr., 2013 event winner Hector Arana Jr.; two-time world champ Matt Smith, 2014 Epping winner Angie Smith and former Charlotte winner Steve Johnson will all be competitive in the two-wheeled category.