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Hagan P1 In Funny Car Qualifying

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 10 2016
Matt Hagan will start Sunday's Funny Car eliminations from the pole position.

Matt Hagan will start Sunday’s Funny Car eliminations from the pole position.

RacinToday.com

Matt Hagan thundered to the No. 1 qualifying position with a track-record performance to lead the quickest Funny Car field in history Saturday at the 19th annual K&N Filters Route 66 NHRA Nationals.

 It was the second pole of the season for Hagan, who navigated the Route 66 Raceway drag strip in Joliet, Ill., under the lights in 3.882-seconds at 331.12 mph in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T.

 Brittany Force (Top Fuel), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also will lead their respective classes into Sunday’s eliminations as pole-winners at the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event near Chicago. Fox Sports 1 will air three hours of live finals coverage at 2 p.m. (EDT).

Hagan took the top spot away from Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman, who momentarily held the position following a 1,000-foot run of 3.885-seconds at a track-record speed of 333.25 mph in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger.

“Dickie Venables is very consistent and methodical and I’m glad he’s my crew chief _ and that’s why we’re No. 1,” Hagan said after his 23rd career pole and first at Route 66. “It was a game-changer in this class from Sonoma on last year with the change to the headers, and that’s why these Funny Cars are so competitive now. It all comes down to the parts and pieces in front of us and making small tweaks to them here and there.”

Hagan, a three-time winner at Route 66, will try for his third victory of the season when he meets Round 1 foe Bob Bode, who anchored the quickest 16-car Funny Car field in NHRA history at 4.100-seconds in a Toyota Solara.

“It’s all about momentum out here,” said Hagan, a two-time world champion. “If being No. 1 qualifier doesn’t give you confidence then nothing will. That’s a huge run for us, for me personally and for our team. You feel like you have a really good race car going into tomorrow.”

Beckman, the 2012 world champion, will race John Hale. Alexis DeJoria, who moved into third with a run of 3.887-seconds and 327.11 mph in her Tequila Patron Toyota Camry, will battle Brian Stewart. Friday qualifying leader and series point-leader Ron Capps will start fourth in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge at 3.888-seconds and 328.78 mph. Capps will meet 16-time world champ John Force in a highly anticipated DSR vs. John Force Racing pairing.

In Top Fuel, Brittany Force earned her second pole of the season and sixth of her career by virtue of her Friday track-record 1,000-foot time of 3.692-seconds at 325.69 mph in the Monster Energy dragster. She will race ageless Chris Karamesines, a Chicago native, in Round 1.

“The main focus today was getting two consistent runs down the track and we were able to do that,” Force said. “We had four good runs all weekend, so that’s exactly where we want to be. Being No. 1, that just tops everything. I think we’re comfortable and confident going in and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do (Sunday).”

Steve Torrence powered to the No. 2 spot with a Saturday-best of 3.731-seconds at 327.03 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster. The Texan will race another Chi-Town drag racing legend, Luigi Novelli, in the first round. Series point-leader Doug Kalitta qualified third in the Mac Tools dragster at 3.732-seconds and a track-record speed of 330.55 mph. Kalitta will meet Kyle Wurtzel in Round 1 as he goes for his fourth victory of the season.

In Pro Stock, Gray became the first driver from outside the Ken Black Racing team to earn a pole this season.  Gray’s Friday quarter-mile effort of 6.578-seconds at 209.43 mph in his Valvoline/Nova Services Chevrolet Camaro gave him the sixth pole of his career and first at Route 66. Gray will chase his first win of the season when he faces Alan Prusiensky in Round 1.

“I’m real pleased with the progress we made and really stoked about race day; I think we have a good shot,” Gray said. “I don’t try to get too far ahead of myself but I would say we have caught up to (KB Racing’s Jason Line and Greg Anderson) at this race. We’ll see how we’re doing a few more races down the road. We’ve got a core group of guys that have been with me for seven years and we’re like family. We’re having fun out here, so look out.”

Rising star Bo Butner, also of KB Racing, qualified second in his Jim Butner Auto Camaro at 6.596-seconds and 210.21mph and will meet local favorite Kevin Lawrence in the opening round. Series point- leader Line, a two-time world champion, qualified third in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro at 6.598-seconds and 209.95 mph and will meet Mark Hogan. Four-time world champ Anderson qualified fourth in his Summit Camaro at 6.610/209.30 and will race Dave River.

Smith rode to his first pole of the season, 24th of his career and second at Route 66 in Pro Stock Motorcycle as no one was able to better his Friday track-record quarter-mile time of 6.842-seconds at 195.51 mph. It was his first pole in well over a year, since Gainesville, Fla., in 2015.

“It feels good to be back up-top,” said Smith, a two-time world champion. “We know we have a top-four or five bike. Luckily we got in the running and got the top spot yesterday. We almost were quickest today. The bike is running good and is consistent. Hopefully we can turn on some win lights (Sunday). We need to get Victory their first win.”

Smith, a three-time runnerup at Route 66, will open eliminations aboard his Victory Gunner against former teammate Michael Ray. “I like this place; this track has a lot of teeth to it,” Smith said. “The facility is just awesome.”

Point-leader Eddie Krawiec moved into second in the final qualifying order aboard his Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson with a 6.845-second run at 193.93 mph. A three-time world champ, Krawiec will race Michael Phillips in the opener. Two-time world champ and recent Englishtown winner Angelle Sampey will start third aboard her Star Racing Buell with a 6.853-second run at 195.59 mph and will meet Jim Underdahl in the opener.

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First-round elimination pairings for the 19th annual K&N Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway, the 13th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. DNQs listed below pairings:

 Top Fuel _ 1. Brittany Force, 3.692-seconds, 326.87 mph vs. 16. Chris Karamesines, 4.680, 176.77; 2. Steve Torrence, 3.731, 327.03 vs. 15. Luigi Novelli, 4.430, 195.79; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.732, 330.55 vs. 14. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.995, 286.80; 4. Antron Brown, 3.733, 323.50 vs. 13. Clay Millican, 3.978, 254.76; 5. Shawn Langdon, 3.737, 327.19 vs. 12. Terry McMillen, 3.940, 309.56; 6. Tony Schumacher, 3.744, 326.63 vs. 11. Pat Dakin, 3.823, 317.79; 7. J.R. Todd, 3.748, 323.97 vs. 10. T.J. Zizzo, 3.805, 321.88; 8. Richie Crampton, 3.753, 319.52 vs. 9. Leah Pritchett, 3.769, 323.12.

 Funny Car _ 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.882, 331.12 vs. 16. Bob Bode, Toyota Solara, 4.100, 310.55; 2. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.885, 333.25 vs. 15. John Hale, Charger, 4.077, 315.42; 3. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.887, 327.11 vs. 14. Brian Stewart, Ford Mustang, 4.057, 309.70; 4. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.888, 328.78 vs. 13. John Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.979, 320.97; 5. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.894, 330.23 vs. 12. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.970, 320.58; 6. Robert Hight, Camaro, 3.894, 327.98 vs. 11. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.965, 310.63; 7. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.895, 328.06 vs. 10. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.930, 324.20; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.918, 325.45 vs. 9. Chad Head, Camry, 3.929, 325.77.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Justin Schriefer, 4.449, 297.29; 18. Brandon Welch, 4.760, 176.05.

 Pro Stock _ 1. Shane Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.578, 209.46 vs. 16. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 8.879, 147.31; 2. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.596, 210.21 vs. 15. Kevin Lawrence, Chevy Cobalt, 6.798, 204.01; 3. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.598, 210.01 vs. 14. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.753, 203.19; 4. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.610, 209.30 vs. 13. Dave River, Cobalt, 6.738, 204.73; 5. Allen Johnson, Dart, 6.612, 209.20 vs. 12. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.659, 207.85; 6. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.616, 209.07 vs. 11. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Dart, 6.637, 207.82; 7. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.621, 208.65 vs. 10. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.627, 208.97; 8. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.621, 208.94 vs. 9. Erica Enders, Dart, 6.623, 208.46.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Charlie Westcott Jr., broke.

 Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.842, 195.51 vs. 16. Michael Ray, Buell, 6.968, 194.27; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.845, 193.93 vs. 15. Michael Phillips, Suzuki, 6.942, 195.22; 3. Angelle Sampey, Buell, 6.853, 195.59 vs. 14. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.940, 195.25; 4. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.854, 195.76 vs. 13. Melissa Surber, Buell, 6.932, 191.05; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.859, 194.10 vs. 12. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.924, 194.02; 6. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.865, 195.82 vs. 11. Cory Reed, Buell, 6.908, 195.08; 7. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.877, 196.36 vs. 10. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.896, 196.24; 8. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.881, 193.90 vs. 9. Chip Ellis, Buell, 6.885, 196.39.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Scotty Pollacheck, 6.973, 194.16; 18. Tyler Fisher, 6.979, 191.51; 19. Shawn Gann, 6.987, 190.30; 20. Angie Smith, 7.016, 191.87; 21. Lance Bonham, 7.248, 183.22.

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 10 2016
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