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DSR Rules At zMAX Dragway

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 21 2013

Don Schumacher Racing's Matt Hagan is a winner again. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Rusty Jarrett)

Deb Williams | Senior Writer

CONCORD, N.C. – Spencer Massey successfully defended his Top Fuel title in Sunday’s Dollar General NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway, while Matt Hagan snapped a Funny Car winless streak of more than a year to give Don Schumacher Racing a sweep of the NHRA’s top two categories.

It was the third time in five races this season DSR has claimed double titles and the 35th time in the organization’s history. In addition to the Charlotte event, DSR earned double titles in the season’s second event at Phoenix and the third one at Gainesville, Fla.

Overall, it was the 37th time DSR has earned multiple titles at the same NHRA event. In 2006 and 2004 DSR won three titles on the same weekend.

Massey’s second consecutive victory in the NHRA’s only four-wide event in the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series was his first this season and snapped a winless streak that dated to July 2012.

“If you think about it … the first-ever four-wide (in 2010) was won by my crew (with Cory McClenathan driving),” said Massey, who moved into third in the standings with his 11th career victory behind teammates Tony Schumacher and Antron Brown, respectively. “Whenever you have a race track where you do well you just seem to do well at it. When you have confidence it’s obviously a big help and when I roll up here I know that we can win.”

Massey entered the elimination round as the weekend’s No. 2 qualifier. Prior to Sunday, Shawn Langdon had dominated the Top Fuel category, which like Funny Car, had only two qualifying rounds due to heavy rain Friday afternoon. Langdon was the No. 1 qualifier with an E.T. of 3.751 seconds, which also was the low E.T. of the weekend, and possessed the top speed of 327.90 mph. When it came to the finals, Langdon found himself facing Massey, Schumacher and Brandon Bernstein. Langdon and Bernstein faltered as Massey’s E.T. edged Schumacher 3.771 to 3.778 seconds. In the speed department, it was Massey 325.45 mph and Schumacher 320.81 mph.

Hagan’s Funny Car victory also spelled relief for the Christiansburg, Va., driver who hadn’t won an event since November 2011.

“It’s been too long (since we’ve won). It’s great to have that feeling back,” said Hagan, the 2011 Funny Car champion who took over first in the point standings with his sixth career victory. “It’s just phenomenal. You’re making memories that are going to last forever

“The biggest thing I learned from last year was keeping my guys’ morale up, taking them out, just doing something extra for them. They’re not making any bonuses because they’re not winning any races. It’s big when it comes to learning new things. It taught me a lot last year having to go through that struggle. It was very humbling. It made me realize not to take this for granted. These wins are hard to get. It made me step back and say, ‘Wow! These things are really special.’”

Even though there were four cars in the final round it ended up being a two-man race between Hagan, who reported to Urgent Care with a stomach virus earlier in the week, and 24-year-old Blake Alexander after No. 1 qualifier Chad Head and Tim Wilkerson both had problems at the start. Hagan used an E.T. of 4.071 seconds to defeat his sophomore opponent from Wirtz, Va., who recorded a 4.156-second E.T. Both men drove Dodge Chargers.

For the weekend in Funny Car, Chad Head was the No. 1 qualifier with low E.T. – 4.014 seconds – in his Toyota Camry, while veteran John Force recorded top speed in his Ford Mustang – 316.08 mph.

Pro Stock belonged to Mike Edwards, who has had an unbelievable start to the 2013 season, in his Chevrolet Camaro. He has been the No. 1 qualifier in all five events this season and in qualifying Saturday he set a national record with an E.T. of 6.471 seconds. He also recorded the weekend’s top speed with a 213.91-mph run. Edwards’ 35th career victory was his first in 2013 and came with an E.T. of 6.495 seconds. Erica Enders-Stevens was the runner-up with a 6.521-second E.T.

“It feels satisfying to actually close the deal. I had been shooting myself in the foot on Sunday,” said Edwards, who also won the inaugural four-wide Pro Stock event in 2010. “We’ve had numerous opportunities, five of them, up to this time. Any time you can run really good and finally win, it feels good. It was a phenomenal weekend.”

The victory was Edwards’ first since Bristol 2012.

This year marked the first time the Pro Stock Motorcycle category has been included in zMAX Dragway’s four-wide event since 2010 and it pitted the Arana family’s Buells against the Harley-Davidson V-Rod bikes. Hector Arana Jr. emerged the victor in the PSM’s second race this season with an E.T. of 6.896 seconds. Eddie Krawiec’s V-Rod, which appeared unstoppable last year, had an E.T. of 6.924 seconds. In the speed department, it was Arana Jr. 190.73 mph and Krawiec 190.65 mph.

Arana Jr.’s first victory at zMAX Dragway was his second consecutive win this year.

– Deb Williams can be reached at dwilliams@racintoday.com

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, April 21 2013
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