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NHRA doubles up in inaugural four-wide drag racing

March 24, 2010 | 12:23 pm

NHRA drag racing takes on a new twist this weekend near Charlotte, N.C.: Four-wide competition.

The inaugural NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., will feature John Force, Tony Schumacher and the sport's other stars racing simultaneously at 300 mph down four 1,000-foot drag strips in the event that starts Thursday.

Competition in the National Hot Rod Assn. always has been two dragsters squaring off, both in qualifying and in the final eliminations held Sunday. But in this event, each qualifying round and elimination round will have four cars.

There will be two sets of starting lights, the so-called Christmas trees, between each pair of lanes. Drivers tested the format in an exhibition in September.

"I think this is going to be one of the coolest things ever for the fans and one of the bigger nightmares for the teams in NHRA," said Jack Beckman, a funny car driver in the NHRA's premier Full Throttle Series.

"We've never had an official drag race where there wasn't one winner and one loser," he said. "Now you have two winners and two losers and then in the final round you're going to label them first, second, third and fourth. And that's never happened at an official drag race before."

And two-time top-fuel champion Larry Dixon said that "not having done this before, I'm going into it with the mentality that I'm only racing one other car. It's going to be interesting, I can promise you that."

--Jim Peltz

Photo: NHRA top-fuel drag racers leave the starting line in an exhibition run of four-wide racing at zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C., last Sept. 19. Credit: NHRA/National Dragster.