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McGaha On Pro Stock Pole In New England

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 14 2015

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Chris McGaha’s emergence as a bona fide player in Pro Stock drag racing continued Saturday, when the native of West Texas qualified on-pole for the third annual NHRA New England Nationals.

McGaha locked-up his third pole of the season and fifth of his career with a quarter-mile pass of 6.520-seconds at 212.66 mph run during Friday’s opening round of time trials at  New England Dragway and Motorsports Park in Epping., N.H.

“It feels pretty good to start the show with signs of consistency. That’s the important thing at this point,” said McGaha, whose Harlow Sammons “Silver Bullet” Chevy Camaro will advance into Sunday’s second round via a bye.

Don Schumacher Racing teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car) and Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel) also will lead their respective categories into Sunday’s 11 a.m. (EDT) eliminations at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Boston. ESPN2 will air three-hours of eliminations beginning at 5 p.m. (EDT).

On Saturday, McGaha clocked a 6.554-second pass at 212.29 mph that was third-quickest before closing out qualifying in the heat of the afternoon at 6.544-seconds and 212.90 mph.

“We did some experimenting there in Q3, trying some new tires _ and then this last run we (changed) the carburetors, and you can see the results,” said McGaha, who is seeking his first national event victory in the Factory Hot Rod class. “It definitely showed some signs of improvement.

“When I bought (former Pro Stock world champion) Mike Edwards out, I bought him out for the carburetors, and he will tell you that I wasn’t buying anything unless I got those. So to find a set that is even better than that is big-time for us.”

McGaha began his NHRA career in the Jr. Drag Racing League before moving into the Competition Eliminator Sportsman category and finally into Pro Stock in 2011. McGaha scored a pair of poles last season and now has doubled that total through 10 of 24 events on the 2015 schedule.

McGaha’s bye run Sunday will be reminiscent of his first pole of the season at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., where his day ended in the semifinals. McGaha raced to his first final round of the season at Baytown, Texas, in April and has been charging since.

“The pressure is on when you’re the fast guy and you never know what race day holds, but we definitely had a good tune-up that last run,” said McGaha, fourth in the driver point standings. “We’re feeling pretty confident.

“Winning a race is still the most important thing for us. Qualifying No. 1 is a bonus, and yes we will take it. But the most important thing is race day. Even during the first session of qualifying, it was all about race day setup and seeing how it goes.”

Four-time world champion Greg Anderson qualified second in his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro at 6.521-seconds and 213.30 mph. Anderson, the Pro Stock winner last Sunday at Englishtown, N.J. , will open eliminations against Alan Prusiensky.

Jason Line, a two-time world champ and Anderson’s teammate, enters eliminations third after a 6.530-second pass at 212.69 mph in his Summit Racing Camaro and will race V. Gaines. Reigning world champ Erica Enders qualified fourth and will meet John Gaydosh, while No. 5 seed Vincent Nobile and Kenny Delco will face-off in Round 1.

In Funny Car, Johnson Jr. recorded the quickest run of the third session and second-quickest of the fourth on Saturday. But he held onto the top spot via his Friday 1,000-foot run of 4.047-seconds at 319.45 mph in the Make-A-Wish Dodge Charger R/T. Johnson earned his first pole since Joliet, Ill., last season, first at Epping and 11th of his career. He will face New Englander Bob Tasca III in the first round.

“Today was, in my opinion, more impressive than Friday,” said Johnson, who is seeking his first win of the season. “To have a car that goes out and runs 4.13 twice in the conditions we had makes you very confident in your car.”

Two-time world champ Cruz Pedregon qualified second with a 4.052-second pass at 306.46 mph in his Snap-on Tools Toyota Camry. Pedregon, who posted the quickest run of the final session, will race Jeff Diehl in the opening round.

John Force, a 16-time world champ and runnerup in the debut of this event, qualified his PEAK Anti-Freeze Chevy Camaro SS third at 4.055-seconds and 318.24 mph, setting up a match with Dave Richards. Force’s youngest daughter, Courtney, is fourth while JFR teammate and 2009 world champion Robert Hight will enter race day fifth.

In Top Fuel, Schumacher ran a track-record 1,000-foot pass at 3.742-seconds at 324.12 mph in his U.S. Army dragster on Friday night and that pass held to secure his 78th career pole, second of the season and first at this event. Schumacher, the eight-time and reigning world champ, will be paired with Morgan Lucas in the first round.

“We’re getting the data we need,” Schumacher said. “Mike Green (crew chief) and Neal Strasbaugh (assistant crew chief) with this new car, every round they get stronger and better. It’s going down the track. We made four runs down the track and because of that we have more data.”

Richie Crampton, a two-time winner this season, will enter eliminations as the No. 2 seed following a 3.744-second pass at 325.92 mph in his Lucas Oil dragster. Crampton, reigning Automobile Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner, will face Canadian Dan Mercier in the first round. Mercier is making his first Mello Yello Series start.

Shawn Langdon, the 2013 Top Fuel world champ, qualified third at 3.745-seconds and 324.98 mph in the Bass Pro Shops/Knuckle Sandwich/AJPE Toyota dragster, earning a match with Terry McMillen. Steve Torrence and track speed record-holder Spencer Massey qualified fourth and fifth, respectively. Torrence will race Top Fuel rookie Dave Connolly while Massey will meet three-time world champion Larry Dixon in Round 1.

Sunday’s first-round pairings for the third annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway and Motorsports Park, the 10th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel _ 1. Tony Schumacher, 3.742-seconds, 324.28 mph vs. 16. Morgan Lucas, 10.229, 302.48; 2. Richie Crampton, 3.744, 325.92 vs. 15. Dan Mercier, 4.376, 295.21; 3. Shawn Langdon, 3.745, 324.98 vs. 14. Terry McMillen, 4.056, 305.70; 4. Steve Torrence, 3.765, 323.04 vs. 13. Dave Connolly, 3.870, 309.84; 5. Spencer Massey, 3.773, 327.66 vs. 12. Leah Pritchett, 3.861, 315.05; 6. Antron Brown, 3.784, 320.74 vs. 11. Larry Dixon, 3.824, 321.88; 7. Doug Kalitta, 3.795, 323.12 vs. 10. Brittany Force, 3.819, 320.89; 8. J.R. Todd, 3.813, 322.27 vs. 9. Clay Millican, 3.817, 318.17.

Funny Car _ 1. Tommy Johnson Jr., Dodge Charger, 4.047, 319.45 vs. 16. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.650, 219.90; 2. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 4.052, 308.14 vs. 15. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.632, 237.55; 3. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 4.055, 318.24 vs. 14. Dave Richards, Solara, 4.624, 195.17; 4. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.059, 319.45 vs. 13. Dom Lagana, Solara, 4.240, 301.87; 5. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.068, 320.13 vs. 12. Tony Pedregon, Camry, 4.187, 288.15; 6. Matt Hagan, Charger, 4.070, 318.24 vs. 11. Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.145, 308.50; 7. Del Worsham, Camry, 4.073, 313.66 vs. 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.095, 310.20; 8. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 4.075, 309.42 vs. 9. Ron Capps, Charger, 4.081, 315.42.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. John Hale, 4.747, 180.19.

Pro Stock _ 1. Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.520, 212.90 vs. Bye; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.521, 213.30 vs. 15. Val Smeland, Chevy Cobalt, broke; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.530, 212.83 vs. 14. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Avenger, 6.673, 209.62; 4. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.543, 212.66 vs. 13. V. Gaines, Dodge Dart, 6.643, 211.00; 5. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.552, 212.39 vs. 12. John Gaydosh Jr., Pontiac GXP, 6.641, 209.82; 6. Jonathan Gray, Camaro, 6.553, 212.09 vs. 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.602, 210.01; 7. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.562, 211.63 vs. 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.590, 211.10; 8. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.563, 212.26 vs. 9. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.569, 212.69.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 14 2015
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