‘Oddball’ Drag Racing Still Seems Kind Of Odd

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 27 2019
Head to head to head to head racing is still kind of strange for some fans. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Harold Hinson)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – NHRA competitors are constantly asked their feelings about veering from the norm at zMAX Dragway in the spring and racing four-wide, but at least two said Friday it’s no different than stock cars competing on a road course.

“A lot of people don’t get it (four-wide format),” said Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Matt Smith, who won zMAX Dragway’s inaugural four-wide event. “It’s kinda complicated, but I love the challenge.

“I try to explain it that it’s like NASCAR. They have road race tracks. That’s their oddball. This is our oddball – a four-wide.

Four-wide racing at zMAX Dragway began in the spring of 2010. It was instituted last spring at Las Vegas.

“I think it’s good,” said Cruz Pedregon, who is the NGK Spark Plugs Four-Wide Nationals defending Funny Car champion. “I look at it much like a road course for NASCAR. You’ve got your standard oval tracks, different sizes throughout the circuit, and then you’ve got Sonoma on the West Coast and Watkins Glen (road courses). It mixes it up a little bit.

“Whoever wins the (four-wide) race is going to love it, and whoever sucks is going to say, ‘I don’t like four-wide.’”

Pedregon said he finds it difficult to believe that anyone who has watched a four-wide drag race wouldn’t like it.

“I remember seeing Funny Cars lined up four-wide back in the 1960s,” Pedregon said. “But I think the amount of people in the stands will determine whether it’s successful or not.

“I saw a huge crowd at the first one, then a little bit of drop off. As the years have come along, I see the excitement level coming back up. People don’t like change … but once they get used to it and come to a race, they’ll be good with it.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 27 2019
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