This weekend at zMAX Dragway in Concord, NC, competitors in the NHRA’s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series will take on the unique challenge of the 4-Wide Nationals. As the name of the event implies, the traditional two-by-two format used at the other 22 stops on the circuit is eschewed in favor of having four cars racing side-by-side, creating a spectacle for the fans and putting new demands on the drivers, who must now monitor the actions of two additional racers.
In the eyes of Summit Racing Pro Stock ace Greg Anderson, who won this race a year ago, it is a tough assignment, but one in which success brings tremendous satisfaction, making him a fan.
“As a driver, the 4-Wide Nationals is the toughest challenge we will face all year,” Anderson said. “In the beginning there was so much for us to learn, from how to race in four lanes to a completely different style of Christmas Tree. However, with two years under our belts, we should be a little better at it this time around. By its very design and the fact that we only do it once a year, we will certainly still be tested, but at least we should know what to expect and what is going to happen.
“Having to deal with four different cars on the starting line puts it right on the driver’s shoulders, giving you an even greater amount of satisfaction when you do win, because you know you have done your job. That gives me a boost of confidence going into this year’s race, where I’m looking to have a little fun seeing if I can get another 4-Wide trophy.”
While Anderson looks to earn a second straight win at the 4-Wide Nationals, teammate Jason Line is looking for his first victory at the ZMax Dragway. He has been the #1 qualifier three times and advanced to the final round on two occasions (including at the inaugural four-wide race two years ago). He has set a track record at the KB Racing team’s home track with his 6.510-second pass in qualifying for the fall race here last September.
But a national event win at the 4-Wide Nationals has been elusive.
“I’ve come close to winning at zMAX Dragway in the past, but have yet to leave with the trophy,” Line said. “I was the runner-up at the inaugural 4-Wide Nationals, and came up three-thousandths red in the final of last September’s race. Although that first win has so far eluded me, the way this Summit Racing team sees it, there’s no time like the present to get that taken care of.”
Located a half-hour’s drive from the KB Racing shops in Mooresville, zMAX Dragway is widely acclaimed as one of the sport’s crown jewels, featuring amenities for racers and fans alike. But despite its proximity and two wins in his six previous races at the “Bellagio of drag strips,” Anderson is quick to dispel any notion of a home-field advantage, noting the presence of the numerous teams that have followed his lead in recent years and moved into the area, allowing them to lay claim to the same edge.
“We love having zMAX Dragway in our backyard,” Anderson said. “It is a tremendous facility, and somewhere we test a few times throughout the year which naturally allows us to learn something about its racing surface. However, any inside knowledge is minimized by the difference in track preparation between testing and what the NHRA does for national events, with the greatest advantage we get from having our shop so close to the track being the amount of support we receive throughout the weekend from all our families and friends coming out to watch us race.
“I feel good about our Summit Racing team’s chances,” Anderson said. We’ve gotten off to a solid start, and winning here last year gives us a lot of confidence, showing us we can get it done in this unique format. I believe we have all the ingredients necessary to succeed, and that it’s a matter of our going to the track and executing to the best of our abilities. If we do that, we’ll hopefully be standing in a very crowded winner’s circle on Sunday night.”