Racing four-wide offers challenges and opportunities for drivers


Photo NHRA - In advance of the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, two-time NHRA Funny Car champ and current NHRA on FOX analyst Tony Pedregon offers a driver’s-eye perspective of what goes on in four-wide competition.

With two four-wide races now on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule, including this weekend’s first four-wide at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, drivers will have to put even more of a premium on their preparation for the process.

The Four-Wide rules advance the first two finishers of each “quad” into the next round, so it’s not uncommon to see a driver who might have aborted his run in a two-wide scenario stay after the run in the four-wide configuration still with hopes of finishing at least second.

In advance of the Denso Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, two-time NHRA Funny Car champ and current NHRA on FOX analyst Tony Pedregon offers a driver’s-eye perspective of the event.

Whether you like the concept or not, racing four cars at a time adds a different dynamic for a driver that has become accustomed to having to face just one opponent at a time.

From the onset, it’s pretty electric when one suits up and straps in and starts only to hear more than one other car start up and start to cackle. You have to trust that your crew chief has factored in how long the other cars run so that it doesn’t change your timing in doing a burnout and backing up. 

The most challenging part of four-wide racing is rolling forward for the staging procedure. Pre-staging can be routine, but if you’re in Lane 2, you now find yourself looking across a series of lights that represent each driver’s lane. The tendency for that driver is to look at the light farthest to the right, but at Four-Wide that would be the driver in Lane 4. Sounds easy but still seems to confuse some. Check out the video at right that we filmed at last year's Four-Wide race in Charlotte.

Once pre-staged, no one will like to stage first because it would put you at risk of building unwanted temperature in the engine, clutch, or even running low on fuel if someone is taking their sweet time, whether they are doing it intentionally or not. And once a brave soul does roll in to stage, the others seem to rush in to be second or third into the stage beams. Read Full Story


NHRA Features Chosen Payments on Fox News

NHRA partners with national credit card processor Chosen Payments. Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon will serve as an ambassador of Chosen Payments

MOORPARK, Calif. (PRWEB) January 17, 2018 Chosen Payments CEO, Jeff Brodsly was recently featured on FOX Sports. Chosen Payments was featured on the national network as the preferred credit card processor of the NHRA, its members, fans and vendors. The national processor was recently named one of the Top 10 credit card processors in the United States by Retail CIO Magazine. Chosen Payments handles credit card processing at all NHRA tracks including ticket sales, concession stands and other ancillary sales that take place at NHRA tracks or on NHRA.com. 

Chosen Payments is the preferred or exclusive provider in many vertical markets and maintains partnerships with trade associations serving many industries including funeral care, chiropractic care, jewelry stores, moving companies, ground transportation companies and others in the automotive industry such as car dealerships and the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). 

Brodsly was interviewed by Fox Sports reporter, Lewis Bloom during the annual SEMA (Specialized Equipment Market Association) Show held October 30 through November 2nd in Las Vegas. The show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event of the world. It draws a crowd of 165,000 people to see the latest automotive products, customized cars and builders to one place. 

Brodsly took the opportunity to reveal that 2-time Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon would be serving as an ambassador of Chosen Payments. Brodsly indicated during the interview that he is currently evaluating the sponsorship of an NHRA team. The interview with Bloom was simulcast on NHRA.com. Bloom interviewed many members of the NHRA Aftermarket. 

Brodsly says, "It was an honor to be selected to be featured on a national network along with representatives from Coca Cola, Papa John's Pizza and other big-name companies. In fact, it was the highlight of my career!"     

Link to video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDBtwS7eXao



Tony Pedregon pinch hits for brother, Cruz at Indy test


Two-time NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon took a break from his current duties as a color analyst on the NHRA Fox Sports television broadcasts to return to the seat of a 10,000 horsepower nitro Funny Car. Pedregon got the opportunity during a recent test session at Lucas Oil Raceway, Indianapolis, where he was asked to fill in for his brother, Cruz, behind the wheel of his Snap-on Toyota. Cruz was away on business, and was unable to attend the test, which also included Del Worsham’s Funny Car and Brittany Force’s Top Fuel dragster.

“This was sort of a last minute deal where Cruz called me and asked if I’d drive his car,” Tony noted. “Obviously, Cruz and his guys have been working hard to get their car sorted out. They’ve made a lot of progress but after Atlanta, they felt like they needed to test. I was happy to help out.”

Tony, who had not driven since parking his own car at the end of the 2015 season, got a chance to make several runs and even carded a career-best 3.97, his first three-second run, on an early shut off pass of just 281-mph.

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Dave Rieff and Tony Pedregon preview the 2017 NHRA drag racing season

FOX Sports opens its second season as home to the NHRA this weekend, with three hours of final-round coverage from the NHRA Circle K Winternationals airing live on the FOX broadcast network Sunday, Feb. 12 (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. ET).

In addition, FS1 provides NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing qualifying coverage on Friday, Feb. 10 (7 p.m. to 8 p.m.), Saturday, Feb. 11 (1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET) and Sunday, Feb. 12 (2 a.m. to 3 a.m.).

Returning to the FOX NHRA booth are veteran broadcaster Dave Rieff, with two-time NHRA Funny Car champion Tony Pedregon providing analysis and Bruno Massel, Jamie Howe, John Kernan and Amanda Busick reporting from the pits.

Rieff and Pedregon preview the 2017 season:

FOX Sports: What is the biggest NHRA on-track story heading into the 2017 season?

Pedregon: A lot of movement with teams, particularly in Funny Car, with tuner Jimmy Prock going back to John Force Racing after defecting to Force’s biggest competitor, Don Schumacher Racing. Will this give Force the firepower that he once had?

Rieff: Two things — Ron Capps returns as Funny Car champion. Finally, it all came together for Capps in 2016. Led by Rahn Tobler, the team didn’t let numerous difficult moments hold them back from claiming the ultimate prize; can they repeat? And movement in Funny Car – Del (Worsham) back with Chuck (Worsham), J.R. Todd switching classes. Jimmy Prock back to John Force Racing. Dean Antonelli makes the switch to DSR. You will need a program to keep up with the changes.

FOX Sports: Any driver surprise you with their performance in 2016; and are there new faces (or old faces in new places) for fans to keep an eye on and why?

Pedregon: The most impressive run in my opinion was the 3.82 run by Jack Beckman in Funny Car at the last race of the 2016 season. He will have different tuners, however, I do feel that we will see a Funny Car run in the 3.7 range in 2017. Also in Funny Car, the 335-mph run by Matt Hagan was unreal and may be hard for any team to top.

Rieff: A few —

— Obvious players come to mind — Fast Jack Beckman’s 3.82 ET; Matt Hagan’s 335-mph — INCREDIBLE. Top Fuel dipping into the 3.6 second range.

— J.R. Todd moving to Funny Car — In Scott Kalitta’s car no less. Will be interesting to see how he adapts. Driving a Funny Car seems to fit his driving style.

— Tanner Gray; I spoke with the kid after the first round of testing. Seems to be one of those young kids who doesn’t know driving a Pro Stock car is difficult. Reacted well, not only going quick and fast, but also when the car made moves. Seems to be a natural.

— Troy Coughlin Jr. — been a long time since his grandfather drove a fuel car. But based on how he handled the turbo/pro mod, I think he will be just fine. Look for Troy and Tanner to battle it out for the rookie of the year.

— My Top Fuel law firm of (Leah) Pritchett, (Clay) Millican & (Terry) McMillen. Can she win again? When will Clay hit pay day? And what does Terry have to do to get a bigger bite and challenge for a top 10.

— John Force — always. The sports winningest, most dynamic and perhaps bonkers driver is the reason Funny Car is what it is today … they need him to keep that pot stirred.

— The rest of team Force — Courtney/new sponsor, Robert Hight — he’s the first to tell you that he expects more.

— Alexis (DeJoria) — Rough year; how will she handle her return.

— Cruz (Pedregon) – ROUGH year, but (tuner) Aaron Brooks brings new expectations; can they be met?

— Erica Enders-Stevens & Jeg Coughlin — back to Chevrolet after one miserable season. How good can they be?

— Greg Anderson — had a championship year except for his teammate. It’s a long look back to title No. 4 (2010).

— Jerry Savoie & L.E. Tonglet — Pro Stock Bikes newest tandem could be tough to beat.

— Angelle Sampey & Cory Reed — new venture. Expectations?

FOX Sports: Which drivers are under the most pressure to perform this season?

Pedregon: Top Fuel drivers like Doug Kalitta and Steve Torrence will see pressure in trying to dethrone Antron Brown. Pro Stock’s Erica Enders and Jeg Coughlin Jr. will have an opportunity to redeem themselves in familiar Chevy-powered cars after running for Dodge in 2016.

Rieff: Doug Kalitta, USAC champ is now the new face for longevity without a championship thanks to Capps; Steve Torrence called himself a championship player last year. Performance numbers didn’t agree with round wins though.

FOX Sports: Any new driver-crew chief combinations that stand out and why?

Pedregon: The Del Worsham (2015 Funny Car champ) move will be interesting as he will return as co-tuner and driver of his father’s Funny Car. They may not have backing for the entire season yet, but they have always been very resourceful. Rookie Troy Coughlin in Top Fuel should do well because the car he will drive performed very well last year with J.R. Todd driving. 17-year-old Tanner Gray showed some natural talent in testing, taking his father Shane’s place in Pro Stock.


— “Prock/Force – can they get the feeling again?

— Antonelli & John Medlen with Fast Jack – obvious reasons with the team’s switch. Dean and John work well together.

— Aaron Brooks & Cruz Pedregon – we need Cruz to be in there stirring it up again.

FOX Sports: The NHRA enjoyed some nice audience growth in 2016; what’s the key to keeping the momentum going?

Pedregon: The quality of drivers and competition are in place. The work is for the (television) production team to bring the stories and the racing to the NHRA audience and appeal to new viewers that find 330-mph, nitro-burning machines fascinating.

Rieff: Continue to deliver on Peter Clifford’s initiative to tell our story like no one else can. And that is something we will only continue to improve on in year two on FOX Sports & FS1.


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