By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
NHRA brings the heat to Four-Wide in Vegas
Tasca 417
Despite having the slowest car in speed, it was a great start off the line in the Funny Car final round that put Bob Tasca III into the winner’s circle at the NHRA four-wide in Las Vegas. Photo By Mike Burghardt

After opening the season with three events that featured conventional two-lane racing, the fourth event featured four-wide racing. This event, the 24th annual NHRA Vegas Four-Wide Nationals, is the first of two such events on the 2024 Mission Foods NHRA drag racing season, with the second one coming up at the zMax facility in Concord, North Carolina.

All three of the featured professional categories, Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock would compete in the four-wide, four-car at a time racing format. Instead of the cars racing in pairs, they are raced in quads. The track consists of two two-wide dragstrips located side by side.

Under the special four-wide format, the Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock would showcase the eight cars in each category that made it to round two of eliminations at the previous event (Arizona Nationals). The winners in each category receive additional points added to their season point totals and additional prize money. The challenge consisted of two rounds of four-car racing, with the last “quad” of four cars being the final round. The two cars reaching the finish line first in each heat would advance to the final round quad, where the first car to the finish line was the winner. In Top Fuel, Antron Brown was the winner. Austin Prock won in Funny Car and Jeg Coughlin Jr. won in Pro Stock.

In the normal event portion, Doug Kalitta captured his first career four-wide racing event win in Top Fuel. After qualifying in the top spot with a 3.738 at 336.,82 mph (top speed of the event) performance, he marched through his first two quad match ups. Kalitta was first to the finish in each of them. Along the way, Steve Torrence continued to finish second in each of those quads to advance. On the other side of the eliminations ladder, Tony Stewart and Justin Ashley both advanced through their respective quads to access the final round quad. The final round quad featured Kalitta, Torrence, Ashley and Stewart. In the final Kalitta scored a 3.715 (low elapse time of the event) at 333.58 mph win over Ashley (second with 3.745 at 333.82 mph), Torrence (third with 3.745 at 334.40 mph) and Stewart (fourth with 3.768 at 324.51 mph).

In Funny Car, the final round quad showcased Bob Tasca III, Austin Prock (who qualified number one with a 3.915 at 326.95 mph), Ron Capps and Matt Hagan. In a very unique finish, the slowest car of Bob Tasca III won the event utilizing a rare triple hole shot. He was able to get off the starting line first, ahead of all three of the other drivers with a 0.034-second reaction time, getting him to the finish line before all of them with a slower performance (3.915 at 329.75 mph). Prock (0.054, 3.904 at 318.77 mph) was second, followed by Capps (0.056, 3.902 at 333.00 mph) and Hagan (0.066, 3.895 at 328.54 mph).

In Pro Stock, Erica Enders had become one of the dominating drivers in the class, especially at the Las Vegas facility. But that was not the case at this event as she struggled to a number six qualifying position. Instead, it was Jerry Tucker (6.612 at 206.62 mph), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (6.625 at 206.64 mph) and Greg Anderson (6.625 at 206.32 mph) scoring the top three qualifying spots. After the elimination round process, Coughlin Jr., Tucker, Enders and Brandon Foster were the four competing in the final round quad for the event title. Coughlin got away first (0.013), followed by Tucker (0.034), Enders (0.058), with Foster fouling out with a -0.133 red light, to take the win with a 6.616 at 207.18 mph. The win was the 66th of Coughlin’s career and first in the quad, four-wide format. With the 2 Fast-2Tasty challenge win at the same event, it gave him a rare event double up achievement.

TopFuel 417
In the normal event portion of weekend racing in Las Vegas, Doug Kalitta captured his first career four-wide racing event win in Top Fuel. After qualifying in the top spot, he marched through his first two quad match ups and captured the final round checkered flag. Photo By Mike Burghardt