While some racers in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series may look at the seventh annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods this weekend with apprehension and dismay, Lucas Oil Racing TV rider Hector Arana Jr. welcomes the unique race.
Instead of two opponents going at it like at every other national event, four racers do battle at the same time this weekend. It often takes extra focus and preparation, and attitude can take a racer a long way.
“I’ve been very successful at the Four-Wide,” Arana said. “The first time I raced it, I won, and then last year I went to the final. I just focus on what I do at a regular race, and you just have some extra lights. You have to pay a little more attention to the other two riders who are racing with you.”
Arana won the Four-Wide Nationals in 2013 and raced to the final round a year ago, setting the track record for elapsed time (6.794 seconds) and speed (199.88 mph) along the way.
Another unique feature of the Four-Wide event is that a racer can lose in a quad, yet still advance by being second across the finish line.
“In a way, it’s almost like you have an extra chance,” Arana said. “If someone beats you, you can still go to the next round. It’s neat, and it’s cool to be a part of the Four-Wide experience. I’m excited for it.”
Arana is also ready to put the season-opening race in Gainesville, Fla., behind him. After struggling with some parts issues, he qualified for the race in the final session, but then lost in the first round of eliminations.
“We’ve worked hard since Gainesville,” Arana said. “We feel like we figured out some issues we had, so hopefully we’ll be back on top and running strong. We’ll do our best and see what happens this weekend.
“We definitely have what it takes. We just had a little mishap with some parts. That’s just part of racing. Hopefully, we’ve been able to fix everything that was wrong, and we’ll be good to go. We feel pretty confident.”
Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying sessions are scheduled for 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., Friday, and 2 and 4 p.m., Saturday. Eliminations begin at 1 p.m., Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will air qualifying action from 10 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, and elimination racing from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Sunday. All times are listed in Eastern Time zone.