A hotly contested Friday of Circle K NHRA 4-Wide Nationals action at zMAX Dragway saw Josh Hart emerge with provisional No. 1 qualifier honors after two competitive rounds of Top Fuel time trials.
After Steve Torrence led the way in the first round of qualifying, Hart made his second run count, with a 3.689-second, 328.38-mile-per-hour pass to enter Saturday’s action with a shot at the first No. 1 qualifier honors of his career.
“The team deserves it,” Hart said. “(Crew Chief) Ron Douglas and the crew always give me a great car. It’s nice to finally hit that milestone where we demonstrate what we’re capable of. I learned a lot in the last (four-wide) race at Las Vegas. I’m just focusing harder and stronger than normal, and doing my job. Every day is a new start, but we’ve got a great car and a great team.”
Alexis DeJoria eclipsed Robert Hight’s Funny Car chart-topper from Q1, posting a 3.876-second, 333.08-mph pass on Friday night. DeJoria heads into Saturday going for her seventh career No. 1 qualifier.
“I’ve yet to win a four-wide race,” DeJoria said. “I hope (my time) holds up. God willing, we’ll stay in the No. 1 position tomorrow, then go some rounds on Sunday and hopefully end up in the winner’s circle. We’ve been working toward this, our current success, for a while. We’re really excited about how we’re running. Our car has been so consistent. It’s pretty much just up to me now.”
Cristian Cuadra dominated the first day of Pro Stock time trials, posting a 6.558-second, 208-mph run on Friday night. Cuadra paced all comers, including brothers David and Fernando Jr., and father Fernando.
“It means more (because) I am racing against my brothers and my dad,” Cuadra said. “When I started driving Pro Stock four years ago, my brother, David, was helping me. Now, he’s racing against me. I’m proud to be No. 1 and really happy to be here with my brothers and my dad.
“I love four-wide racing. It puts more pressure on the driver. If you focus on your lane, you still can do well.”
Gaige Herrera surged to the provisional No. 1 spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a 6.758-second, 201-mile-per-hour run. Herrera enters Saturday’s final rounds of qualifying chasing his second straight No. 1 qualifier honors.
“I was very thrilled, especially after Q1, when we had a little issue,” Herrera said. “To rebound from that and get to a 201, I couldn’t ask for any more than that. We’ve got another day tomorrow, two rounds of qualifying. Anyone can step up and take the spot.”
Saturday’s forecast features sun and clear skies for the final two rounds of qualifying.
To purchase tickets to the Circle K NHRA 4-Wide Nationals, fans can visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. Children 13 and under are admitted FREE with a paid adult, and every ticket doubles as a pit pass.