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NASCAR vs NHRA Grudge Races to Kick Off NHRA Four-Wide Nationals

Before the incredible sights and sounds of 44,000-horsepower come alive at zMAX Dragway at this weekend’s Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, a thrilling crossover event featuring stars from the NHRA and NASCAR will help kick off an unforgettable weekend at the “Bellagio of Drag Strips.”

A special NASCAR Night at the Dragway will take place on Thursday, featuring NASCAR vs. NHRA celebrity grudge match races and followed by a test-n-tune session. The special event is open and free to the public with an on-site donation to Speedway Children’s Charities.

Gates open at 5:00 p.m., with the exciting NASCAR vs. NHRA celebrity grudge match races set to take place starting at 6:15 p.m. The unique matchups with some of the top stars from each series will include Top Fuel points leader Justin Ashley taking on NASCAR standout Tyler Reddick, three-time Top Fuel world champ Antron Brown facing off with NASCAR star Bubba Wallace, former Funny Car world champ J.R. Todd racing NASCAR’s Ty Gibbs and several more matchups to be announced.

The Tony Stewart Racing team of Top Fuel’s Leah Pruett and Funny Car points leader Matt Hagan will also race against each other as part of the exhilarating, can’t-miss crossover event.

“When the NHRA’s best drivers come to NASCAR’s backyard, it’s only fitting that we line them up for a little friendly competition to kick off an action-packed Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals weekend at zMAX Dragway,” said Greg Walter, executive vice president and general manager at Charlotte Motor Speedway and zMAX Dragway. “While I’m sure every driver will be looking to turn on those win lights, the real winners will be the fans and the organizations supported by Speedway Children’s Charities.” 

To top it off, the evening will be emceed by NHRA on FOX’s Brian Lohnes and NASCAR on FOX’s Michael Waltrip, adding another memorable aspect to the evening. Following the NASCAR vs. NHRA celebrity grudge match races, the test-n-tune will take place from 7-9 p.m., helping kick off the massive four-wide weekend in Charlotte.

The Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals have annually been one of the biggest events on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series tour and the 13th annual event should be no different. It is the second straight four-wide event of the season, bringing one of the biggest spectacles in motorsports to its annual stop in Charlotte.

It marks the fifth of 21 races during the 2023 NHRA season, with all the top stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle aiming for an early-season victory on a weekend loaded with special events. Fans can enjoy two qualifying sessions on Friday, including night pyro and qualifying under the lights, final qualifying on Saturday and eliminations on Sunday.

Last year’s winners included Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle). Other top stars competing this weekend including reigning world champs Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Ron Capps (Funny Car), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle), as well as standouts like Tony Schumacher, Steve Torrence, Robert Hight, Greg Anderson and Angie Smith.

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The Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, featuring some of the top racers in the country. The FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by Type A Motorsports and Flexjet NHRA Factory Stock Showdown will also be in action during the weekend as well. An autograph session will take place on Saturday at the Toyota Display with Toyota-sponsored drivers, at the Suzuki display for competitors in Pro Stock Motorcycle and at the Nitro Alley Stage for NHRA Pro Mod drivers.

Fans will also be invited all weekend long to the Nitro Alley Stage, which will help create a festive atmosphere leading into the nitro pits. The Nitro Alley Stage will be the main entertainment hub in the pits when the Camping World Drag Racing Series competitors are not on the track, hosting Nitro School, meet and greets, music and much more.

Race fans at zMAX Dragway can enjoy the special pre-race ceremonies that introduce and celebrate each of the drivers racing for the prestigious Wally on Sunday and includes the fan favorite SealMaster Track Walk. The final can’t-miss experience of any NHRA event is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes, where fans are invited to congratulate the event winners.

As always, fans also get an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet in Charlotte. This opportunity gives fans a unique chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds, get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers, and more. Fans can also visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create an exciting atmosphere that includes interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family.

NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday, April 28, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, April 29 at 12:30 and 3:45 p.m. Eliminations will begin at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 30. Television coverage includes qualifying action at 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday and 12 p.m. ET on Sunday on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), leading into eliminations coverage at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday at FS1.

To purchase tickets to the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, please visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or call 800-455-3267. Children 13 and under are admitted free in general admissions areas with a paid adult. For more information about NHRA, visit www.nhra.com.

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.