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DeJoria Wins Pole, Breaks Record at zMAX

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 23 2016
Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman, Alexis Dejoria, Chad Head went for the pole in Funny Car Saturday At zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C. DeJoria earned P1 in record fashion. (RacinToday/ HHP photo by Garry Eller)

Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman, Alexis Dejoria, Chad Head went for the pole in Funny Car Saturday At zMAX Dragway in Concord, N.C. DeJoria earned P1 in record fashion. (RacinToday/ HHP photo by Garry Eller)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C. – One day after NHRA Funny Car driver Matt Hagan broke the track record at zMAX Dragway, Alexis DeJoria stole it from him to claim the No. 1 starting position for this weekend’s NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods.

nhra logoOther top qualifiers Saturday were Steve Torrence in Top Fuel, Greg Anderson in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

In Friday’s first and only qualifying session due to rain, Hagan’s Funny Car recorded a 3.941-second E.T. to break the record of 3.971 seconds set by Tommy Johnson Jr. in September 2015. DeJoria established the new mark with an E.T. of 3.939 seconds in her first round Saturday and then broke her own record with a 3.934-second E.T. in her final run of the day.

“To finish today in the No. 1 spot and get the track record is just incredible,” DeJoria said.  

DeJoria experienced a winless season last year. However, only five races into 2016 the Austin, Texas, resident already owns a victory and a No. 1 qualifying position.

“I think the ups-and-downs you go through as a team, as a driver, as a group in general, I think it’s good for you because it teaches you how to dig deep; it keeps you balanced,” DeJoria said. “We needed this boost. It’s been a while since we’ve gotten No. 1 qualifier.”

DeJoria last secured the No. 1 qualifying position in the 2014 season finale at Pomona, Calif.

“I feel pretty good about going into tomorrow (Sunday) with a consistent car,” she added.

In Top Fuel, Torrence emerged as the No. 1 qualifier with top speed as well as low E.T. despite stumbling in the final qualifying round due to looking at the wrong bulb on the Christmas tree.

“I pre-staged the car, took my breath, relaxed and I bumped in,” said Torrence, who turned in a 3.736-second E.T. and a 326.48 mph run for top speed, giving him his third No. 1 qualifying position this year and the eighth of his career.

“It just happened that Brittany (Force) turned the light on at the exact same time. I was confident in what I was doing. I felt I had staged the car. Then I saw the red light come on so I figured something was wrong. I drove it to the end and until I made the turn-off I had no clue I was the guy who hadn’t staged the car. I not only screwed up us, I screwed up Brittany on her run, too. It was completely driver mistake.”    

Anderson led Pro Stock throughout the event’s three qualifying sessions, posting a 6.576-second low E.T. Teammate Jason Line recorded the category’s top speed of 211.10 mph. With the two men’s performances, KB Racing’s dominance of Pro Stock continued. Heading into the fifth elimination round this season, KB Racing has led 19 sessions, qualified No. 1for five races and won four.

“When we go ahead and find a way to do better than everybody and win the race, it’s a fantastic feeling because I guess I don’t expect it,” Anderson said after securing his second No. 1 qualifying position this season and the 82nd of his career. “I expect the other guys to wup me every time I go up there. I think that’s a good attitude to have. I think if you go up there too confident and too cocky you usually end up going home.”

Krawiec’s No. 1 qualifying position was his second this season and the 29th of his career. Krawiec posted an E.T. of 6.818 seconds. Jerry Savoie possessed the top speed of 197.62 mph.

“Today was a little tricky compared to yesterday (Friday),” Krawiec said. “Yesterday we had cloud cover and it was cool all day. A little bit of a temperature difference, but you had humidity there. Tuning wise it made it a little trickier for a naturally aspirated engine.

“We had a little bit of a headwind today. Our motorcycles, being that the rider is out in the open, we tend to have what I like to say dirtier air and it doesn’t allow us to excel as good through the air; we’re not as slick.”

The NHRA Four-Wide Nationals elimination round begins Sunday at noon.

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CONCORD, N.C. — First-round pairings for professional eliminations Sunday for the Seventh annual NHRA Four-Wide Nationals presented by Lowes Foods at zMax Dragway, the fifth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.  Quads based on results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings.

Top Fuel — 1. Steve Torrence, 3.736 seconds, 326.48 mph  vs. 16. Terry Haddock, 5.655, 118.36  vs. 8. Shawn Langdon, 3.786, 319.45  vs. 9. Tony Schumacher, 3.811, 307.51; 2. J.R. Todd, 3.743, 324.28 vs. 15. Chris Karamesines, 4.546, 175.62  vs. 7. Richie Crampton, 3.775, 309.70  vs. 10. Terry McMillen, 3.822, 314.17; 3. Brittany Force, 3.751, 319.90  vs. 14. Pat Dakin, 4.388, 177.35  vs. 6. Antron Brown, 3.762, 322.58  vs. 11. Leah Pritchett, 3.828, 316.67; 4. Doug Kalitta, 3.752, 325.92 vs. 13. Smax Smith, 4.301, 278.35  vs. 5. Clay Millican, 3.759, 323.12  vs. 12. Scott Palmer, 3.989, 258.81.

Funny Car — 1. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.934, 321.04  vs. 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.673, 187.34  vs. 8. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.970, 319.07  vs. 9. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.974, 319.37; 2. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.941, 323.50  vs. 15. Daniel Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.125, 297.16  vs. 7. Chad Head, Camry, 3.967, 315.49  vs. 10. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.986, 319.67; 3. John Force, Camaro, 3.946, 323.50  vs. 14. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 4.103, 312.42  vs. 6. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.964, 320.51  vs. 11. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.992, 315.86; 4. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.960, 320.66  vs. 13. John Hale, Charger, 4.094, 311.99  vs. 5. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.963, 317.57  vs. 12. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.014, 312.64.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Dave Richards, 6.776, 128.81; 18. Dale Creasy Jr., 12.661, 63.09.

Pro Stock — 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.576, 210.73  vs. 16. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.877, 198.88  vs. 8. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.630, 208.75  vs. 9. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.634, 208.65; 2. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.583, 209.72  vs. 15. John Gaydosh Jr, Chevrolet Camaro, 6.762, 204.88  vs. 7. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.611, 208.62  vs. 10. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.644, 208.14; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.584, 211.10  vs. 14. V. Gaines, Dart, 6.671, 207.56  vs. 6. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.605, 209.46  vs. 11. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.657, 208.04; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.584, 210.47  vs. 13. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.663, 206.83  vs. 5. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.602, 209.20  vs. 12. Jeg Coughlin, Dart, 6.660, 207.62.

Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.818, 195.90  vs. 16. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.917, 192.82; 2. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.832, 195.76  vs. 15. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.916, 193.65; 3. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.837, 194.46  vs. 14. Shawn Gann, Buell, 6.915, 195.03; 4. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.837, 192.77  vs. 13. Brian Pretzel, Suzuki, 6.891, 194.32; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.841, 197.62  vs. 12. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.890, 196.07; 6. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.842, 196.16  vs. 11. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.880, 195.17; 7. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.843, 195.00  vs. 10. Scotty Pollacheck, Buell, 6.875, 193.88; 8. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.848, 195.62  vs. 9. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.861, 196.02.  Did Not Qualify: 17. Mike Berry, 6.934, 194.24; 18. Hector Arana Jr, 6.944, 192.03; 19. Cory Reed, 6.946, 190.57; 20. Angie Smith, 6.951, 190.86; 21. David Hope, 6.978, 189.68; 22. Katie Sullivan, 6.989, 191.95; 23. Joe DeSantis, 7.033, 191.54; 24. Lance Bonham, 7.160, 186.56.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, April 23 2016
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