Matt Hagan raced to the first three-second Funny Car run in NHRA history during Friday night qualifying at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
With the run Hagan joined Larry Dixon, Jason Line, and Eddie Krawiec as the provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the 17th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series and the first of six races in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship, the six-race playoffs to determine the world championships.
Hagan made NHRA history when he powered his DieHard Dodge Charger to a 3.995sec run, the quickest in NHRA Funny Car history, at 316.23mph Friday night to take the provisional No. 1 spot. If it stands, it would be his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and ninth of his career.
“To be a part of history and be the first person in the three-second range, that's something that they can never take away from you,” said Hagan. “I just can't say enough about [crew chief] Tommy DeLago. What a mad scientist that guy is to put a racecar like that underneath me. My guys just do such a great job, and it's incredible. It's just a real testimony to how good of a job they do.”
The previous quickest run in NHRA history was a 4.005sec pass set by Robert Hight in 2008 in Richmond, Va. While Hagan made the quickest Funny Car pass in NHRA history, his Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman made the fastest, posting a 318.92mph qualifying run in his Aaron's/Valvoline Dodge Charger. Beckman currently sits in the provisional third spot in the field.
Dixon raced his Al-Anabi Racing dragster to the top of the Top Fuel field with a run of 3.784 at 324.83mph. If it stands, it would be his third No. 1 qualifier of the season for the defending world champion and 51st of his career.
“The first run was great,” said Dixon. “It gave us a backup for a national record and kind of put us in position to go for it tonight. We had nothing to lose. We were aggressive, but it just didn't stick. This racetrack is so smooth with so much grip. The credit goes to the preparation of the racetrack, and the conditions came right to it to give us a chance to go fast today.”
Dixon's teammate and current points leader Del Worsham sits in the provisional third spot, and Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil winner Antron Brown holds the provisional second spot in the field.
In Pro Stock, Line powered his Summit Racing Pontiac GXP to the provisional top spot in Pro Stock, followed closely by KB Racing teammate and current points leader Greg Anderson, who sits in the second provisional spot. Line took the provisional No. 1 with a run of 6.520 at 212.66mph. If it stands, it would be his third No. 1 qualifier in a row, fifth of the season, and 22nd of his career.
“I think there was a lot left in that run, and if we get any kind of weather tomorrow, it's not going to hold,” said Line. “We feel like we could have gone a .49 or run close to or under the record, and that's the goal, especially in my case. Making up 20 points on Greg would be a really good thing, but his car is obviously just as capable, and I think there are a couple of other cars that are capable as well. We'll see what tomorrow brings.”
Krawiec rode his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to the top of the field in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a run of 6.833, a track record, at 196.70mph. If it stands, it would be Krawiec's third No. 1 qualifier of the season and ninth of his career.
“Any time you come out and make a run like that out of the box, it sets the tone for your camp,” said Krawiec. “We underestimated the track on our second run. We second-guessed ourselves and turned the rpm down, making the bike bog. We'll bounce back tomorrow, and we need to because our time probably won't hold up.”
Melanie Troxel raced to the provisional No. 1 qualifying position Friday in the NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod Drag Racing Series at the O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
Troxel, who was the No. 1 qualifier at the recently completed Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, drove her ProCare Rx '53 Corvette to a 5.815sec pass at 256.55mph to take the provisional top spot. If it stands, it would be her third No. 1 qualifier of the season for Troxel at the site of her first NHRA Get Screened America Pro Mod race win. Troxel's teammate Leah Pruett sits in the second spot after two rounds of qualifying, putting both R2B2 Racing cars at the top of the provisional field.
“You couldn't ask for a better situation,” said Troxel. “I had joked with [tuner] Steve Petty about that before we got started. I said, ‘Hey, can you make us 1 and 2 so we can meet in the final?' I didn't make a very good run on the first run and knew it was karma for me being greedy.”
Current points leader Khalid Balooshi is in the provisional eighth spot with a run of 5.967 at 240.29, and second-place driver Danny Rowe currently sits in the third spot with a run of 5.835 at 250.00.