Drag racing’s single most unique season event played out at fabulous ZMax Dragway in North Carolina last weekend….

The 8th annual Four-Wide Nationals (featuring four lanes of drag racing) went into the history books as one of the most successful and best attended versions yet.

Texan Steve Torrence raced his way to the Top Fuel title while Ron Capps (Funny Car) Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) and LE Tonglet (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in their respective categories at the sixth event on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

The event for the first time ever also featured “4-wide” Pro Mod class racing and that title went to wily veteran driver Mike Castellana.

Texan Steve Torrence scored in Top Fuel – it was his 9th career NHRA event win.

Torrence piloted his Capco Contractors dragster to a 3.783-second pass at 323.89 mph for the ninth victory of his career and first of the season. He defeated current points leader, Leah Pritchett, eight-time world champion, Tony Schumacher and Terry McMillen in the final round.

“This is the same as winning a race that you had to pedal it every round or you had to win it on holeshots,” Torrence stated. “This is a driver’s race. We race 24 races a year and one of them we race four-wide. It’s completely different when you come in here; you’re mentally challenged.”

Capps, the current Funny Car world champion, ran a 3.933 at 322.65 in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger for his first NHRA Four-Wide Nationals win of his career, second consecutive this season and 52nd of his Funny Car career. Teammate, Jack Beckman took second place, J.R. Todd finished third, and teammate Matt Hagan placed fourth.

Defending NHRA World Champ Ron Capps won for the second weekend in a row.

“This is a fun race,” Capps said. “I’ve got a great racecar. To be in a car and to have it throw you back with that many g-force and realizing the temperature that track is and still feeling that six g’s and thinking ‘how on God’s earth are these two Goodyear’s (tires) sticking to that ground?’ It’s an amazing feeling.”

With the victory, Capps takes a 43-point lead over his teammate Hagan.

In Pro Stock, McGaha picked up his fifth career victory and first at zMax Dragway when he ran a 6.591 at 210.44 in his Harlow Sammons Chevy Camaro. He bested Greg Anderson, Shane Gray and Drew Skillman in the final round.

Texan Chris McGaha powered past the Pro Stock field.

“Now it looks like we’ve got some momentum and it’s kind of hard to swallow,” McGaha said. “To me, I’ve always said you’ve got to have power to win in this game. You’ve got to have enough smoke to win. This one showed us we have a lot of power and that’s why we came here.”

The Pro Stock final round was – all Chevrolets!

Tonglet rode his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki to a 6.864 at 195.00 pass to earn his 10th career victory and first of the season. He defeated three-time world champion, Eddie Krawiec and, Andrew Hines on his way to his first four-wides win.

“It’s just unbelievable what we’ve come through this weekend alone,” Tonglet stated. “With the four-wides you just have to be prepared for anything. You just have to concentrate because if you lose your train of thought it’s going to be bad.”

This win also marks the first victory for Tonglet since joining the White Alligator Racing headed by Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Jerry Savoie.

LE Tonglet won the Pro Stock Motorcycle category.

Pro Mod Powerplay

In the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series event program (held for the first time in history in a four wide format, Mike Castellana powered to the event win. This is the third of 12 events on the schedule and this weekend’s Pro Mod event was co-sponsored by JEGS.com and Plugfones.

For the first time in history Pro Mod cars raced “4 Wide” – in the class final Mike Castellana (lane two above) emerged the winner.

This is the first win of the season for Castellana and his second final round appearance. Castellana had entered the event hot – after setting a national record in the Pro Mod class the previous weekend during NHRA Houston. He entered eliminations as the #2 seed – after recording a 5.786 secs during qualifying.

“I’ll tell ya, it was awesome,” Castellana said. “First time coming out here, you’re a little worried about how to drive and what’s going to happen. But when you got a team like I do, it just makes everything go real smooth.”

Castellana defeated Troy Coughlin, Michael Biehle II and Jonathan Gray in the final. Castellana retains his points lead in the category.

The Pro Mod series car return to action next weekend at Atlanta Dragway for the Lucas Oil NHRA Southern Nationals (May 5-7th)

Lucas Oil Lowdown 

Western Canadian class powerhouse Shawn Cowie (Delta BC) won the event’s TAD title.

Shawn Cowie and Johan Lindberg raced to victory at this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway. Lindberg scored his first NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series national event win in Top Alcohol Funny Car; while Cowie picked up his sixth in Top Alcohol Dragster.

Lindbergh, of Sweden, advanced to his first national final round. Scoring the advantage off the line, Lindberg, never trailed earning his first national event win. Lindberg scored a 5.551 second lap at 260.66 mph in the final against Steve Gasparelli, West Covina, Calif., who had a clean pass from the start but was unable to rundown Lindberg.

Sweden’sJohan Lindberg emerged victorious in his very first event in TAFC!

Cowie, Surrey, B.C., would face off with Justin Ashley in the funny car final. Ashley, Plainview, N.Y., had the early lead but Cowie reeled him in and ran his best pass of the event for the win and the trophy. Cowie moved straight down the track to a 5.328 second, 272.94 mph lap.

Perennial winner Peter Biondo bagged another win in Super Stock moving him to 26 wins in this class, and 50 career wins overall. A highlight of the event was John Labbous, Jr., White House, Tenn., doubling up his Wally trophy collection with wins in Super Comp and Super Gas. Labbous earned his fourth win over all and doubled up for the first time in his career.

Kyle Kohr, Myerstown, Pa. was better than Jeff Hairrington, Kathleen, Ga., at both ends of the track in Stock Eliminator, running a 10.737 second, 117.25 mph pass in his first final round appearance. Ivey Brannon, Boiling Springs, S.C., had a nice pass to clinch the Top Sportsman presented by Racing RV’s.

Bruno Massel rounded out the winners this weekend at zMAX Dragway as he defeated Patrick Ross, Avon Lake, Ohio in Comp Eliminator adding to his previous 9 wins in this class. Pete Gasko Jr., Monroe Township, N.J., took home the SAM Tech Factory Stock Showdown defeating David Barton of Robesonia, Pa. Gasko had was out of the gate first and held off Barton for the holeshot win.

Bruno Massel won in Competition eliminator with his turbocharged Chevy Cobalt

Posted with files by NHRA Communications, Mandi Ramirez and Bruce Biegler
Photos courtesy of NHRA, Richard Shute, Garry Eller and Randy Anderson