The NHRA headed back east this past weekend for the most unique drag race on Earth, the 4 Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway in Concord, North Carolina. And yes, as the name implies the up-to-8000 horsepower cars actually race four lanes wide rather than the traditional two. Seeing, hearing, and feeling 32,000 horsepower launch is something every drag racing fan should experience. Love it or not, the zMAX 4 Wide Nationals is the greatest spectacle in drag racing! Every NHRA Full throttle drag racer is hungry to take home the Wally from the track known to racers as the “Bellagio of drag strips”.
For rookie Courtney Force, the 4 Wide experience didn’t start as she’d hoped. Courtney lined up for her first qualifying pass in Lane 2 at zMAX Dragway, and immediately had her hands full when her Traxxas Ford Mustang smoked the tires at half-track. The car wiggled slightly, but Courtney’s quick reactions enabled her to rein in her Mustang and bring it safely back to the trailer.
For Q2, the Traxxas Funny Car lined up in Lane 3. However, NHRA officials noticed a problem with the surface and shut it down, forcing a last minute lane change. Courtney was now set to run as a single in Lane 4 just behind fellow Rookie of the Year competitor Alexis DeJoria. After Alexis made a solid 4.139 pass, Courtney followed with a 4.151, holding her car on the far right edge of the lane nearly the entire way down the track. At the conclusion of the second round of qualifying Courtney was provisionally qualified seventh.
For the third qualifying round, Courtney Force’s Traxxas Mustang was put in Lane 4 for the second time, a rarity in qualifying at the 4 Wide Nationals. Since Courtney’s team already had Lane 4 data from her previous pass, it gave them a chance to be aggressive and see how much power the track would hold. The track, however, did not cooperate. The Traxxas funny car got to the 60’ mark and smoked thetires, forcing Courtney to get out of the throttle.
Coming into Q4, each driver on the John Force Racing Team was already locked in for the main event. But to this point Courtney’s car had made only one successful pass and the team wanted to move up the qualifying ladder with another good run. Courtney appeared to be on a stellar run until around the 500’ mark where again she smoked the tires and ended up qualifying in the twelfth spot.
On race day, Courtney’s Traxxas funny was car slotted into the last quad for round one. She ended up in lane one, where she had not yet made a full 1000’ pass. Courtney had a solid run down the track with a 4.19. However it was not good enough to edge out Jack Beckman and Cruz Pedregon. She finished third in her quad and did not transfer into the semifinal round. Mike Neff, Robert Hight, and John Force each advanced past round one. Neff went out in round two, but both Force and Hight advanced to the semi-finals. In the semis, both Force and Hight were victorious and advanced to the finals.
For the final round, both John Force and Robert Hight had a great shot at taking home the win for Traxxas and John Force Racing. Force was confident, but Jimmy Prock, Hight’s crew chief, was completely dialed in all weekend, making it nearly impossible for anyone to take down Hight. The AAA Auto Club Ford Mustang ran a 4.076, taking home the victory for a fourth race in a row!
In South Texas? Come join Traxxas and John Force Racing in Houston for the NHRA O’Reilly Spring Nationals April 27-29! If you can’t make it to the track, Traxxas.com, the Traxxas Racing Facebook page, and Twitter will be continually updated with all the latest NHRA Full Throttle news. If you are headed to the races, Traxxas will be there showing off the extreme power of our new 1/8 scale NHRA Funny Car and answering any and all questions you may have about Traxxas products. We will also have two very different Try-Me-Tracks for fans to test drive both our Slash short-course off road racer and our 1/16 scale road racers. The Traxxas girls will be on the scene too, signing autographs and posing for photos. Remember, you can always take home your favorite Traxxas RC vehicle from any NHRA Full Throttle drag racing event. Just swing by our on-site Mobile Support Center and pick out your favorite. Tell them Courtney Force sent you.