Racing four-wide offers challenges and opportunities for drivers

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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