Matt Hagan raced to the provisional No. 1 qualifier in Funny Car and clinched his spot in the NHRA Full Throttle Countdown to the Championship Friday at the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals. Spencer Massey, Mike Edwards and Eddie Krawiec also took the provisional top spots in their respective categories at the 15th of 22 events in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series.
Hagan powered his Die Hard Dodge Charger to the top of the field during the second session of qualifying. Hagan's 4.101sec run at 303.57mph moved him past John Force and into the provisional top spot, while his first round run was strong enough to clinch his berth in the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA's 6-race playoff for the NHRA Full Throttle world championship.
“It's great to get the DieHard Funny Car back in the provisional pole position,” said Hagan. “We came into this season expecting to set the world on fire, but it's taken a while to get a handle on a combination that's brand new from the (injector) hat on down. (Crew chief) Tommy DeLago has been working on it, and it's coming along and showing a lot of promise.”
Seattle winner Tim Wilkerson currently sits fifth in the field, while 10th-place driver entering the race, Bob Tasca, sits second.
In Top Fuel, Massey drove his Prestone/FRAM dragster to a 3.835 at 322.58 in the final qualifying session of the day to take the provisional No. 1 spot. If it stands, it would be Massey's third of the season and fourth of his career.
“We got some cloud cover before the second session, so the track cooled off and we were able to apply more power,” said Massey. “I saw Del (Worsham) run a 3.83, so I called a 3.826. It was close. Phil (Shuler, co-crew chief) reached into the cockpit to adjust something before I staged the car. He obviously liked something he saw on the track and made the car more aggressive. I asked him what he did when we got back to the pits, and he said, ‘It worked, didn't it?'”
Three-time Brainerd winner Tony Schumacher currently sits second in the field, while defending event winner and world champion Larry Dixon currently sits sixth.
In Pro Stock, Edwards posted the quickest runs of both qualifying sessions and powered his Penhall/Interstate Batteries Pontiac GXP to a 6.595 at 208.65. If it stands, it would be his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 38th of his career.
“This is a good start to the weekend,” said Edwards. “We didn't make a great run the first time but the last one was really nice. It's not going to hold tomorrow. There will be some faster runs. Tomorrow the air will be better and that track will be just as good or better. Still, I'm happy right now.”
Krawiec rode his Screamin' Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to the top of the field in Pro Stock Motorcycle with a track record-setting run of 6.885 at 194.463. If it stands, it would be Krawiec's second No. 1 qualifier of the season and eighth of his career.
“Obviously the conditions here in Brainerd are good,” said Krawiec. “We're not really used to conditions this good here. Look around us, there are trees and green grass and lots of oxygen and that's good for us (Pro Stock Motorycle) guys. We've put together a good package with our Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson's. We were good off the starting line, and we got good valuable data off of our first run and we used that to our advantage.”
Defending NHRA Full Throttle Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion LE Tonglet clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship with is first-round qualifying run. Qualifying continues Saturday.