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1 Tony Schumacher 2170
2 Spencer Massey 2160
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2 Mike Neff 2157
3 Jack Beckman 2152
4 Robert Hight 2113
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6 Johnny Gray 2081
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2 Andrew Hines 2205
3 Hector Arana Jr 2151
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5 Scott Pollacheck 2092
6 Karen Stoffer 2083
7 Paul Ray Jr 2074
8 Shawn Gann 2062
9 Louis Tonglet 2061
10 Matt Smith 2054
NHRA Drivers Make Four-Wide History at zMax Dragway

by Pete McCole
Monday, September 21, 2009

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Funny Cars go 4-wide
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Eight National Hot Rod Association Full Throttle drivers lined up to make history on Sunday night as the NHRA staged the first four-lane, four-wide race in the modern era of drag racing during the second annual Carolina’s Nationals at zMax Dragway.

Four NHRA Funny Car and four NHRA Top Fuel drivers took top the track for a pair of four-wide exhibition races, the first of their kind staged at an NHRA event.

All told, both of the two races produced nearly 28,000 horsepower for the capacity crowd.

Each of the eight drivers were previously eliminated in earlier rounds in order to participate in the exhibition - staged just prior to the final rounds on Sunday – with lane choice going to the driver with the lowest elapsed time from their first round performance.

As the two right lanes had not previously been used by either Top Fuel or Funny Cars, the two left lanes were the lane of choice.

Top Fuel Cars go 4-wide
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Spencer Massey won the Top Fuel exhibition in a double holeshot with an elapsed time of 3.889 and a speed of 310.70mh, beating out Antron Brown, Brandon Bernstein and Morgan Lucas.

“This four wide deal, it’s unbelievable,” said Massey. “To have an opportunity to be a part of something like this and a part of history, it’s just something I’m proud to be a part of.”

In the Funny Car division, Mike Neff posted a 4.136 at 307.58 mph to beat out team owner and 14-time champion John Force, Del Worsham and Tim Wilkerson.

“That was exciting, for me I really could tell on the burnout when I saw the other cars on both sides – that something you’re not used to seeing,” said Neff. “It was a really neat thing to be a part of.”

The Funny Car drivers were the first to take to the track, performing a four-wide burnout that gave the driver their first taste of what four-wide racing would really be like.

The 8 drivers that took part in the exhibition
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
“I was getting ready to be run over by three freight trains,” said Force. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and I’m still dizzy. I have not have this much excitement since high school football when we charged the cheerleaders showers.

“It’s a rush – you’re out there and you’re saying ‘This is illegal! You can’t do this! This is irrational! You’re all suicidal! Wings flying and [stuff].’ It was unbelievable.”

Among the questions the drivers were asked was whether they’d like to see four-wide qualifying or a four-wide all-star event perhaps when the series returns to zMax Dragway next March.
“If we did an all-star race with four-wide it would be pretty cool, I think. The logistics of it would be kind of tough, but I think it can be done,” said Bernstein. “We proved it here that it’s pretty bitchin, so to try and do it again I think it would be a lot easier.”

“It could be there is a special invitational like we had in Rockingham, a race within a race or something like that,” said Force. “I know it was exciting for the fans because I came back and I watched the dragsters, and I know my adrenaline was pumping watching them stage because you don’t know what it will look like.”

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