PRO votes against another 4-wide race

Updated: April 7, 2010, 8:02 PM ET
By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

The professional organization for competitors in the NHRA sent a letter to NHRA president Tom Compton stating overwhelmingly they would not participate in another four-wide event involved in the championship standings.

The Professional Racers Owners Organization (known as PRO) voted 60-3 against having another four-wide race, which took place for the first time two weeks ago in the inaugural Four-Wide Nationals at zMax Dragway in Concord, N.C.

PRO also sent a copy of the letter to Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. and the owner of the zMax Dragway.

"We will not participate in a 4-wide national event involving [championship] points again," the letter states. "We feel doing so would be detrimental to NHRA Championship Drag Racing.

"We are certainly indebted to [Smith] for all his efforts to help elevate our sport. However, we are not in agreement that a 4-wide national event is the best interest of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series," the letter states.

The letter listed four reasons for not holding a four-wide race again:

1. Decreased safety and a greater chance of an accident.
2. Confusion for drivers, teams and fans.
3. Sponsorship identification issues.
4. A circus-like atmosphere, calling the event "similar to that of the WWE rather than a race for points toward the NHRA championship."

"We know these are difficult times for the sport," the letter states. "But we are certain you would agree that maintaining the integrity of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and its sponsors is the utmost concern. Therefore, we feel it is important to take this stance."

The letter also makes clear that PRO would consider a specialty race for four-wide racing: "The Pro board is not opposed to discussing the possibility of a 4-wide exhibition or all-star race in the future."

Terry Blount is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Terry Blount

ESPN Seattle Seahawks reporter