CONCORD, N.C. (May 12, 2021) –After struggling at the most recent race, this weekend’s NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway marks a chance for rising Pro Stock star Troy Coughlin Jr. to get back on track. It’s also an opportunity for the young Coughlin, who is the nephew of retired five-time champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., to get his first four-wide victory.
It’s the second four-wide Pro Stock race for the second-year driver and a key moment to grab some early-season momentum in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro at the sport’s biggest spectacle. He fell in the opening round at the most recent race in Atlanta, but Coughlin, who advanced to the finals at the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series opener, has a chance to quickly make amends.
“When you have a race where things didn’t go as planned, you just have to start over, get back in the car and do what you do,” Coughlin said. “It’s about living in the moment. I can’t advance forward if I’m thinking about the past. If you think about the past, you’ll end up repeating it because your mind goes to what you’re focused on. Pro Stock cars are very challenging to drive. It’s not easy, but it’s so much fun when you get it all right, like we did for the most part in Gainesville. I know with Elite Motorsports behind me, I’ve always got a great chance to win.”
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Shawn Langdon (Funny Car), and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were winners of the 2019 four-wide event, and this year’s race will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), including finals coverage starting at 6 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, May 16. Anticipation is high for the fourth race of the 2021 NHRA season, as all grandstanding seating for Saturday’s qualifying action is sold out, in accordance with current capacity limitations, while only limited tickets remain for Friday’s qualifying and Sunday eliminations.
Coughlin has always enjoyed the racing scene in Charlotte, making it the perfect spot for his first career win in Pro Stock. It won’t be easy, especially considering Greg Anderson’s hot start in 2021. The four-time world champ has won two of the first three races, while Coughlin also has to face off with teammate and defending world champ Erica Enders, who won the race in 2018, Deric Kramer, 2017 race winner Chris McGaha and Aaron Stanfield.
“Charlotte is a fun town with a lot of really great motorsports fans,” Coughlin said. “Plus, we have a lot of customers from that area, so we really want to show what we’re capable of. This will also be the first time to race with some family as my sister Paige is racing in Super Comp. We’ve always raced as a family, so I tend to have the most fun when we’re together.”
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Scotty Pollacheck is simply looking to finish the job. He’s had plenty of success at the four-wide race in Charlotte, advancing to the final quad five times since 2013, but he’s still looking for that first victory. Pollacheck has plenty of momentum going into the weekend thanks to his win in Atlanta on his Denso/Strutmaster/Matt Smith Racing EBR, which means this year may be the perfect time to taste victory at zMAX Dragway.
To do so, he’ll have to contend with another huge and talented field in the two-wheeled category. Leading the way is teammate and defending world champ Matt Smith, while Pollacheck will also have to contend with star riders like Andrew Hines, Eddie Krawiec, Steve Johnson, Las Vegas winner Ryan Oehler and Angelle Sampey.
“The four-wide race have always been really good to us,” Pollacheck said. “It’s such a spectacle and the fans really love it. For us, it’s something I always look forward to doing just because it’s something different and it gets a lot of attention. It’s quite a bit harder and you have to really be on your game. It’s one of those things where you can’t get rattled, but I like it. I really want to win one of these, so hopefully we can get it done this time in Charlotte.”
Torrence will look to keep his Top Fuel success rolling in Charlotte, though he’ll be challenged by a number of top competitors, including Atlanta winner Antron Brown, Gainesville winner Josh Hart, Leah Pruett, Doug Kalitta, Langdon and Justin Ashley.
In Funny Car, Cruz Pedregon won in Charlotte in 2018 and he’ll look for his first win since then in the loaded class. Others to watch include points leader Bob Tasca III, who has back-to-back wins, John Force, Ron Capps, defending world champ Matt Hagan, Robert Hight and J.R. Todd.
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Mod Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service will race for the third time in 2021 at Charlotte. Justin Bond is the most recent winner in the class. The race also includes thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where future stars of the sport hone their skills. The drivers in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car will also race in the four-wide format at zMAX Dragway for the first time.
After qualifying on Friday, fans can watch the thrilling “Diamond Jim Racing” jet Funny Car driven by April Crownhart-Swan and the “Mustang Sally” jet Funny Car driven by Paul Sieli. It will be the first-ever appearance at Charlotte for these two jet Funny Cars. Jet cars are thrust-driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
The Southeast Nostalgia Pro Stock Association will also be in action during the weekend at zMAX Dragway, as well as the ScottRods AA/Gassers. Both classes will make runs throughout the weekend, and all the cars will be on display in a special pit display at the track.
Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, May 14, with the two final rounds slated for 1:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, May 15. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday, May 16. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 15, and eliminations beginning at 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 16 on FS1.
Tickets are on sale for Friday’s and Sunday’s action at the NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals and may be purchased by visiting www.zmaxdragway.com or calling 800-455-3267. Children 13 and under are admitted free with a paid adult.
NGK SPARK PLUG NHRA FOUR-WIDE NATIONALS
WHAT: 11th annual NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, the fourth event of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Racing Series season. Drivers in four categories – Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle – earn points leading to 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series world championships. The E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series Presented by J&A Service will also be in competing throughout the weekend as well as Sportsman racers in the Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.
WHERE: zMAX Dragway- Track is located on Hwy 29 off I-85 at exit 49 (Speedway Blvd.) in the Concord, N.C. area.
WHEN: May 14-16SCHEDULE:
FRIDAY, May 14
Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series eliminations at 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying at 6:30 p.m.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying at 7:00 p.m.
SATURDAY, May 15
Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series eliminations at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series qualifying at 12:45 and 4:15 p.m.
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying at 1:15 and 4:45 p.m.
SUNDAY, May 16
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series eliminations begin at 12:00 a.m.TELEVISION:
Saturday, May 15, FOX Sports 1 (FS1), will televise one and a half hours of qualifying coverage at 7:00 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 16, FOX Sports 1 (FS1) will televise one and a half hours of qualifying coverage at 11:30 a.m. ET and three hours of finals coverage at 6:00 p.m. ET
2019 EVENT WINNERS:
Steve Torrence, Top Fuel; Shawn Langdon, Funny Car; Andrew Hines, Pro Stock Motorcycle.
Andrew Hines, 8, PSM; Robert Hight, 6, FC; Antron Brown, 5, TF; Steve Torrence, 5, TF; Jason Line, 4 PS; Jack Beckman 3, FC; Ron Capps, 3, FC; Matt Hagan, 3, FC; Greg Anderson, 3, PS; Mike Edwards, 3, PS; Eddie Krawiec, 3, PSM.
Top Fuel – 3.687 seconds by Mike Salinas, April ’19; 332.18 mph by Spencer Massey, April ’12.
Funny Car – 3.851 seconds by Courtney Force, April ’17; 334.07 mph by Jack Beckman, Oct. ’19.
Pro Stock – 6.455 seconds by Jason Line, Mar. ’15; 215.48 mph by Greg Anderson, Mar. ’15.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.765 seconds by Jerry Savoie, April ’18; 200.32 mph by Matt Smith, April ’19.
Top Fuel – 3.623 sec. by Brittany Force, Sept. ’19, Reading, Pa.; 338.17 mph by B. Force, Nov. ‘19, Las Vegas
Funny Car – 3.793 sec. by Robert Hight, Aug. ’17, Brainerd; 339.87 mph by Robert Hight, July ’17, Sonoma, Calif.
Pro Stock – 6.455 sec. by Jason Line, March ’15, Charlotte, N.C.; 215.55 mph by Erica Enders, May ’14, Englishtown N.J.
Pro Stock Motorcycle – 6.720 sec. by Andrew Hines, March ‘19, Gainesville, Fla.; 201.76 mph by Matt Smith, March ‘19, Gainesville, Fla.
Photos courtesy of NHRA
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 22 national events featuring the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, E3 Spark Plugs Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, Constant Aviation NHRA Factory Stock Showdown and Top Fuel Harley Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style. NHRA also offers the NHRA Jr. Street program for teens and the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. With over 120 Member Tracks, NHRA allows racers to compete at a variety of locations nationally and internationally. Within these Member Tracks is the Speed For All program which allows local racers to compete and reminds all that motorsports is available for everyone. NHRA’s Youth and Education Services (YES) Program reaches over 30,000 students annually to ignite their interest in automotive and racing related careers. NHRA’s streaming service, NHRA.tv, allows fans to view all NHRA national events as well as exclusive features of the sport. In addition, NHRA owns and operates four racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Gainesville Raceway in Florida; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to www.NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.