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Hagan Off To Record-Setting Start At The Big Go

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, September 2 2017

Matt Hagan had one serious Funny Car at the U.S. Nationals on Friday. (Photo courtesy of the NHRA)

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Two-time world champion Matt Hagan set both ends of the Funny Car track record on Friday as qualifications began for the 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals _ the world’s biggest drag race _ at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.

Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Tanner Gray (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also lead qualifying in their respective categories at the 18th of 24 events on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule in Clermont, Ind. 

Hagan ran the 1,000-foot distance in 3.799-seconds at 338.77 mph in his Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T during the first of three qualifying days and first of five qualifying sessions. 

“What a fun run to hang onto,” said Hagan, of Don Schumacher Racing. “The car was out there digging and it’s floating and it’s hunting around. I made a couple corrections but was trying to not do too many. It’s fun to be able to do something like that. I’m just glad to be out there and to be able to do something like that. These cars are just awesome to drive. It’s kind of a throw-down right now in qualifying.”

Holding the second position is Robert Hight with a 3.827-second pass at 330.96 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS. Following Hight are John Force Racing teammates Courtney Force, in third, and 16-time world champion John Force, in fourth.

Pritchett set the Top Fuel track elapsed-time record with her 1,000-foot pass in 3.667-seconds at 329.50 mph in her Don Schumacher Racing dragster. 

“We’ve been preparing for this even missing our Indy test session for a couple of different reasons,” said Pritchett, who also holds the national elapsed-time record. “Having the confidence and the momentum from Brainerd (Minn.) knowing that this is the coolest session, it feels good. Obviously there’s no guarantee and it’s very much provisional.”

Doug Kalitta is second in his Mac Tools dragster with a 3.682-second pass at 329.42 mph. Antron Brown, the three-time/reigning world champion from DSR, is qualified third in his special edition Matco Tools/Mello Yello dragster commemorating the extension of the Coca-Cola and NHRA partnership. Brown ran a 3.689-second lap at 329.42 mph in his new paint scheme. 

Pro Stock rookie Gray holds the No. 1 spot after his quarter-mile pass in 6.566-seconds at 209.88 mph in his Gray Motorsports /Valvoline Chevrolet Camaro. Gray is the youngest of three generations racing at the event in the same category, another historic NHRA footnote.

“It’s just cool to be able to go out there and race with my dad and grandpa,” Gray said. “It’s the first time I’ve been able to do anything with my grandpa like this. It’s a lot of fun and I know he’s having fun. The guys on my car are just doing what we usually do. They’re putting me under a great race car and I’m doing an OK job driving it and it shows out there.”

Four-time world champion Greg Anderson is in the No. 2 position with his 6.568-second pass at 210.31 mph in his Summit Racing Equipment Camaro. Drew Skillman is third with a 6.571-second pass at 210.31 mph in his Ray Skillman Camaro. Point-leader Bo Butner, Anderson’s Ken Black Racing teammate, is fourth in his Camaro. 

Defending event winner Andrew Hines is at the top of the Pro Stock Motorcycle order with a quarter-mile pass in 6.825-seconds at 194.74 mph aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod. 

“We needed this cool weather because our guys have been burning it up so much at the shop trying to figure out what we need to do,” said Hines, a five-time world champion. “The last two weeks have been completely grueling but the guys at Vance & Hines never stop digging and we never stop striving to get to that next level. Right now, we’re real happy putting our Street Rods No. 1 and 2. It’s been a lot of hard work, a lot of blood, sweat and tears _ literally.”

Hines’ teammate _ three-time world champ Eddie Krawiec _ matched the leader with a 6.825-second pass at a slower speed of 193.57 mph for the second spot. Reigning world champion Jerry Savoie is in third aboard his Suzuki. 

Qualifying is scheduled to continue Saturday with two sessions beginning at 1:45 p.m.  For the first time in NHRA history, all broadcasts of the U.S. Nationals will be aired live. NHRA and FOX also have partnered to provide free live access for fans to watch Saturday’s final nitro qualifying session _ including the Traxxas Nitro Shootout Top Fuel final _ on the FOX Sports Go website and mobile app. No provider authentication will be required. The live TV schedule:

Saturday, Sept. 2, live on FOX Sports Go, 7-8:30 p.m. (ET); Sunday, Sept. 3, live qualifying on FOX Sports 1, noon-2 p.m. (ET) and live qualifying on FS1, 5-7 p.m.; Monday, Sept. 4, live finals coverage on FS1, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (ET); live finals coverage on FOX, 1-4 p.m. (ET).

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Friday’s provisional qualifying results after the first of five rounds of time trials for the 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis, 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Monday’s final eliminations:

Top Fuel _ 1. Leah Pritchett, 3.667-seconds, 329.50 mph; 2. Doug Kalitta, 3.682, 329.42; 3. Antron Brown, 3.689, 329.75; 4. Clay Millican, 3.689, 327.59; 5. Steve Torrence, 3.712, 326.71; 6. Tony Schumacher, 3.735, 327.82; 7. Scott Palmer, 3.754, 328.54; 8. Bob Vandergriff Jr., 3.774, 325.30; 9. Ashley Sanford, 3.796, 322.04; 10. Wayne Newby, 3.803, 321.88; 11. Kebin Kinsley, 3.814, 313.88; 12. Brittany Force, 3.830, 244.21; 13. Terry McMillen, 3.848, 278.06; 14. Ike Maier, 3.861, 308.50; 15. Pat Dakin, 4.054, 256.50; 16. Richie Crampton, 4.109, 227.50.

Not Qualified _ 17. Shawn Langdon, 8.087, 87.02; 18. Kyle Wurtzel, broke. 

Funny Car _ 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.799, 338.77; 2. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.827, 330.96; 3. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.847, 302.28; 4. John Force, Camaro, 3.849, 336.74; 5. J.R. Todd, Toyota Camry, 3.865, 332.34; 6. Alexis DeJoria, Camry, 3.881, 332.02; 7. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.887, 329.83; 8. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.900, 330.88; 9. Brian Stewart, Ford Mustang, 3.924, 296.44; 10. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 3.957, 304.39; 11. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.999, 319.22; 12. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.074, 314.90; 13. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 7.533, 89.85; 14. Bob Bode, Charger, 8.382, 81.11; 15. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 9.922, 76.00; 16. Ron Capps, Charger, 10.938, 71.07.

Not Qualified _ 17. Justin Schriefer, broke.

Pro Stock _ 1. Tanner Gray, Chevy Camaro, 6.566, 209.88; 2. Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.568, 210.31; 3. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.571, 210.18; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.572, 210.34; 5. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.576, 210.01; 6. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.577, 209.95; 7. Johnny Gray, Camaro, 6.596, 210.11; 8. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.598, 209.62; 9. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.604, 209.10; 10. Shane Gray, Camaro, 6.607, 208.78; 11. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.615, 209.46; 12. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.616, 209.65; 13. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.642, 209.20; 14. John Gaydosh Jr., Camaro, 6.681, 207.24; 15. Shane Tucker, Camaro, 6.700, 206.42; 16. Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.816, 204.39.

Not Qualified _ 17. Larry Morgan, 6.993, 194.83; 18. Allen Johnson, 12.528, 86.68; 19. Deric Kramer, broke.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.825, 194.74; 2. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.825, 193.57; 3. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.877, 193.82; 4. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.894, 192.71; 5. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.917, 190.73; 6. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.927, 193.32; 7. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.940, 191.81; 8. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.982, 188.02; 9. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.997, 190.78; 10. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.000, 191.81; 11. Cory Reed, Victory, 7.019, 187.91; 12. Angelle Sampey, Victory, 7.019, 183.59; 13. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 7.026, 189.12; 14. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 7.056, 188.75; 15. Chip Ellis, Victory, 7.136, 193.02; 16. Mark Paquette, Buell, 7.209, 181.52.

Not Qualified _ 17. Lance Bonham, 7.815, 181.50; 18. Wendell Daniels, 8.051, 167.91; 19. Hector Arana Jr., 8.755, 101.94; 20. Odolph Daniels, broke; 21. Andie Rawlings, broke. 

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Mike Castellana ran the quickest lap during the first round of qualifying at the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by JEGS.com, is the ninth of 12 events on the 2017 schedule. 

Castellana put down a track elapsed-time record 5.709-second pass at 252.52 mph in his Al Anabi Racing Chevrolet Camaro during Friday’s only qualifying session at the world’s biggest drag race.

“It’s great, you know, to be No. 1 after the first session,” said Castellana, the point-leader and national elapsed-time record-holder. “It takes the pressure off the rest of the weekend. I owe it all to my crew; they just do an awesome job with this car.”

Steve Jackson is in the second position with a 5.779-second pass at 249.63 mph in his Bahrain 1 Racing Camaro with Steven Whitely holding onto third with a 5.785-second pass at 249.03 mph in his Y-Not Racing/J&A Service Cadillac. 

Pro Mod Series qualifying will continue Saturday at approximately 1:45 p.m.

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Friday’s provisional qualifying results after the first of four rounds of time trials for the 63rd annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis, the ninth of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s first round of eliminations:

Pro Modified _ 1. Mike Castellana, Chevy Camaro, 5.709-seconds, 252.52 mph; 2. Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.779, 249.63; 3. Steven Whiteley, Cadillac CTS-V, 5.785, 249.03; 4. Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.793, 255.77; 5. Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.797, 251.34; 6. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.805, 249.63; 7. Richie Stevens, Camaro, 5.805, 247.70; 8. Shannon Jenkins, Ford Mustang, 5.820, 246.12; 9. Danny Rowe, Corvette, 5.846, 247.38; 10. Sidnei Frigo, Corvette, 5.865, 252.99; 11. Mike Janis, Camaro, 5.875, 244.07; 12. Rick Hord, Corvette, 6.245, 199.67; 13. Ruben Tetsoshvili, Camaro, 6.357, 195.31; 14. Harry Hruska, Camaro, 6.637, 230.80; 15. Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 6.692, 159.59; 16. Steve Matusek, Camaro, 7.573, 126.77.

Not Qualified _ 17. Chuck Little, 8.436, 93.43; 18. Michael Biehle, 8.551, 109.78; 19. Dan Stevenson, 9.504, 104.94; 20. Doug Winters, 10.726, 84.32; 21. Bill Glidden, 11.230, 76.50; 22. Michael Bowman, 11.502, 94.96; 23. Jim Whiteley, 12.506, 89.32; 24. Jonathan Gray, 14.420, 57.49; 25. Shane Molinari, broke. 

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Jimmy Daniels is two-for-two in the Mopar HEMI® Challenge. The 21-year-old from Yardley, Pa., made his second start in the prestigious annual event Friday during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, and drove his 1968 Dodge Dart to the winner’s circle for the second consecutive year.

Daniels added to a family legacy in the event started by his father, Jim, who claimed victory in 2010.

The $15,000-to-win Sportsman event showcases 1968 Dodge Darts and Plymouth Barracudas _ the original Mopar package cars _competing in the SS/AH category. This year’s 17th annual event drew competitors from around North America.

Daniels matched up with Wendell Howes’ 1968 Barracuda in the final round. After a staging battle, Daniels bested Howes with a pass of 8.404-seconds at 155.96 mph. Howes, meanwhile, turned in a 9.923-second run at 103.21 mph. Daniels got off the line with an 0.013-second reaction time while Howes left after 0.099-seconds.

“There were some tough cars out here and we weren’t the fastest by a lot,” Daniels said. “I had to be on my game. You couldn’t take anybody lightly here; it was a tough field this year.”

Daniels qualified No. 2 and defeated Bucky Hess’ Barracuda in Round 1 after Hess, the winner of the first-ever Mopar HEMI Challenge in 2001, turned on the red light and fouled. Daniels next took down the Barracuda of Gus Mantas, and then bested Steve Comella’s Barracuda with a hole shot victory to reach the final round.

Daniels was driving the same car his father used to win in 2010, which features HEMI power from Ray Barton Race Engines. The young driver is enrolled at Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., and leaves for school next Wednesday.

“It’s an unbelievable experience,” Daniels said of winning the event for a second consecutive year. “I can’t describe it.”

Howes was still was pleased with a runnerup finish in the premier Sportsman race for the Mopar brand. “The event was great, I think everybody had a good time,” said Howes, a resident of Rothesbay, New Brunswick, Canada. “He (Daniels) went down, I didn’t. As far as the staging goes, it was just a matter of who wanted to blink first.”

Along with his $15,000 payday, Daniels also received a unique trophy weighing 42.6 pounds. The top 16 finishers received a cash payout, while all competitors were provided with special decals, hats and limited-edition posters.

Bucky Hess’ Kandy ‘Kuda received the Best Appearing Award.

| , RacinToday.com Saturday, September 2 2017
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