Funny Car Legend John Force Chasing Third-Straight NHRA Four Wide Win At ZMax Dragway
Story By: NHRA – CONCORD, NC – Legendary Funny Car driver John Force has always held zMAX Dragway in high regard and the 16-time world champion has also posted impressive results at the track in recent years, especially in the highly unique and thrilling four-wide setting.
Force has won the four-wide race in Charlotte in back-to-back years, bringing a string of dominance at the race into this weekend’s Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. The longtime star will look for a third straight win – and his 156th career victory – in the event regarded as one of the biggest spectacles in motorsports.
Force moved up five spots in the loaded Funny Car points standings by advancing to the final quad in Las Vegas two weeks ago, feeling good about this weekend in his 11,000-horsepower PEAK BlueDEF Platinum Chevrolet Camaro SS at one of his favorite stops on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series tour.
“Bruton Smith built the Bellagio of dragstrips and it’s always an honor to go back to zMAX,” Force said. “I love racing in Charlotte. It’s a great stadium and you always want to perform well there for the fans. Danny Hood, Tim Fabrisi, and the guys have built a fast hot rod and we’re ready to keep improving after putting together some solid runs in Vegas. I’m excited to compete for another win for everyone who keeps me out here each week doing what I love.”
Last year’s winners at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals included Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Force (Funny Car) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) and this weekend’s race will again be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including eliminations coverage beginning at 6 p.m. ET on Sunday. It is the fifth of 21 races during the 2023 NHRA season and Force has enjoyed plenty of success at zMAX Dragway.
Along with the back-to-back wins, Force owns the track records at zMAX Dragway, going 3.850-seconds at 335.07 mph at last year’s race en route to the victory. The four-wide format provides a different challenge, but Force has adapted well to it over the years, even against a top-tier field in the Funny Car ranks.
He made a big move in Las Vegas, finishing third in the final quad and making amends for back-to-back first-round losses in Phoenix and Pomona. Now, Force is ready to build on his most recent performance and bring home a big result in Charlotte against a loaded Funny Car category that includes points leader Matt Hagan, who has won three of four races in 2023, defending world champ Ron Capps, John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight, J.R. Todd, Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson, Bob Tasca III and Alexis DeJoria.
“I’ve been very lucky that my team has won there a number of times and we’ve had a lot of success here in the past,” said Force, who has four career wins in Charlotte. “I always want to give thanks to the NHRA prep team that work on all four lanes because you never know what lane you may end up in. It’s very challenging for the crew chiefs and the drivers, but we want to go win.”
Top Fuel’s Salinas is after his second victory of the season, but everyone is chasing points leader Steve Torrence, who has been a dominant driver in Charlotte over the years. Others to watch include defending world champ Brittany Force, Justin Ashley, who has two wins this season, Las Vegas winner Antron Brown and Leah Pruett.
Pro Stock returns to the four-wide format in Charlotte in 2023, with points leader Dallas Glenn earning back-to-back wins this year. Glenn’s first career victory came at the four-wide race in Charlotte in 2021. Other class stars include defending world champ Erica Enders, Phoenix winner Camrie Caruso, Greg Anderson and Troy Coughlin Jr.
Pro Stock Motorcycle is back on track for the first time since Gainesville, with Gaige Herrera looking to build on his Gatornationals win. It won’t be easy in a talent-heavy lineup that includes area native and defending world champ Matt Smith, Angie Smith, Jerry Savoie, defending event winner Johnson and Eddie Krawiec.
The Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, featuring some of the top racers in the country. The FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports and Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown will be in action during the weekend as well. An autograph session will take place on Saturday at the Toyota Display with Toyota-sponsored drivers, at the Suzuki display for competitors in Pro Stock Motorcycle and at the Nitro Alley Stage for NHRA Pro Mod drivers.
Fans will also be invited all weekend long to the Nitro Alley Stage, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into the nitro pits. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets, music and much more.
Race fans at zMAX Dragway can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the event winners.
As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Charlotte. This opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday, April 28, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, April 29 at 12:30 and 3:45 p.m. Eliminations will begin at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 30. Television coverage includes qualifying action at 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday and 12 p.m. ET on Sunday on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), leading into eliminations coverage at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday at FS1.