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DSR Chargers Top Time Trials At Route 66

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 3 2018

Matt Hagan will begin Sunday’s eliminations at Route 66 from the pole.


A trio of world champions from Don Schumacher Racing dominated Funny Car qualifying as time trials concluded Saturday for the 21st annual JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Ill.

Matt Hagan secured pole position at Route 66 Raceway, with Ron Capps and Jack Beckman holding serve in the respective second and third positions from Friday’s second session of time trials.

Hagan, a three-time Route 66 event champion, wheeled his Dodge Charger R/T to a 1,000-foot pass in 3.917-seconds at 326.79 mph to qualify on the provisional pole and bank three bonus points on Friday. Hagan held the top spot through the final two sessions on Saturday, ending with a solid 3.991-second run.

“Our Dodge is running strong,” said Hagan, a two-time world champion who earned his second pole of 2018, second at Route 66 and 32nd of his career. “We can go down there and throw down a good number. The confidence has definitely grown. We have all of the power that we need.”

Meanwhile, Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also qualified first in their respective categories at the ninth of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.

Hagan will attempt to claim his 28th career victory Sunday beginning with a match against No. 16 qualifier Jonnie Lindberg and his Ford Mustang. Hagan will have the advantage of lane choice _ and a revised game plan for race day.

“We’ve changed everything,” Hagan said. “To start the year off we had a whole different track prep than we do now, so we had to regroup and make big changes to this Mopar Funny Car. Obviously, it’s taken a few runs and taken a few races to get there, but I feel like we’ve closed the gap on (point-leader) Courtney Force now.

“Blessed to have that No. 1 spot right now. Everyone thinks these Chevys are running up-front, but we’ve got these Mopars going again. Just give (crew chief) Dickie Venables enough time and he’ll figure it out. I like him being in our corner and knowing that we’re going to get there, it’s just a matter of runs.”

Capps, a two-time winner at Joliet and the 2016 world champ, began qualifying with a boom under the hood, requiring his team to turn to a second Charger body. Capps and crew responded to adversity by laying down a 3.921-second pass at 325.92 mph in Friday’s evening session, claiming the No. 2 spot. Capps will line up opposite Justin Schriefer’s Dodge to begin Sunday.

As with stablemate Capps, Beckman struggled in Round 1 of qualifying and smoked the rear tires, but rebounded in his next attempt. The Dodge driver’s 3.944/322.81 in Q2 moved him up to No. 3 on Friday, where “Fast Jack” would stay for the remainder of qualifying. The 2012 world champion, Beckman will battle Dale Creasy and his Dodge to open eliminations.

Torrence remained first in Top Fuel after setting both ends of the track record with a 1,000-foot pass of 3.677-seconds at 333.58 mph in his dragster during his second pass on Friday. The defending event winner and current Top Fuel point-leader recorded his first pole on the season, as he looks to build upon his category-best three victories in 2018.

“Yesterday had some pretty optimal conditions which allowed for us to have that strong run,” Torrence said. “But it’s definitely a huge confidence booster to go into race day knowing my team has a strong handle on the tune-up. I think we’re getting really close to having the most consistent car we have ever had, and it’s fun to be driving this race car right now.” Torrence will take on Luigi Novelli in Round 1.

Reigning Top Fuel world champion Brittany Force qualified second at 3.721-seconds and 329.34 mph in her dragster. Force will open eliminations against Kyle Wurtzel.

Anderson held onto the top spot in Pro Stock after covering the traditional quarter-mile in 6.546-seconds at 211.03 mph in his KB Racing Chevrolet Camaro SS during the second round of qualifying on Friday night. Anderson bagged his 98th career pole and fifth this season _ most in the “Factory Hot Rod” class.

“To have 98 career No. 1 qualifiers is quite a feather in the cap for this whole KB Racing Team, and to have low E.T. of every session this weekend is a good feeling going into Sunday,” said Anderson, a four-time world champ. “We all know I’ve had a great qualifying car this year, but I haven’t been able to get a win. For tomorrow, the car is there, the horse is under me, and it’s up to me to ride.

“I feel great. This is a great place to race, a great atmosphere. When you look around, you smile inside the race car. I only wish we could race tonight because Sunday has been a little bit of a hiccup for me.”

Anderson will open against David River and his Chevrolet Cobalt in Round 1 in search of his 91st Wally trophy. Tanner Gray, NHRA’s 2017 Rookie of the Year, sits second after his 6.556-second pass at 210.18 mph in his Valvoline/Gray Motorsports Camaro and will race Wally Stroupe’s Camaro in Round 1.

Pro Stock Bike again was led by Hines, who reclaimed P1 on the day’s final pass with a quarter-mile run in 6.849-seconds at 194.83 aboard his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod.

“We had a really good motorcycle today and this track is really good for us,” said Hines, a five-time world champion. “All-in-all my team is doing a great job and we’re all feeling good about racing here tomorrow. We threw everything we could at the track today, but it all worked out and it’s nice to get down the track so quick.” Hines will line up opposite Cory Reed and his Buell in the first round.

Hector Arana Jr. secured the second spot after a 6.852-second pass at 197.45 mph aboard his Buell on Saturday. Arana Jr. will race Marc Ingwersen and his Buell when eliminations begin at noon (EDT) on Sunday. FOX Sports 1 will televise #NHRAToday and qualifying beginning at 10:30 a.m. The network also will air three hours of finals coverage starting at 5:30 p.m.


Sunday’s first-round pairings for eliminations at the 21st annual JEGS Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill., ninth of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Pairings based upon results in qualifying, which ended Saturday. DNQs listed below pairings:

Top Fuel _ 1. Steve Torrence, 3.677-seconds, 333.58 mph vs. 16. Luigi Novelli, 3.982, 273.05; 2. Brittany Force, 3.721, 329.34 vs. 15. Kyle Wurtzel, 3.973, 294.88; 3. Tony Schumacher, 3.749, 329.99 vs. 14. Billy Torrence, 3.900, 301.87; 4. Clay Millican, 3.753, 326.48 vs. 13. Pat Dakin, 3.841, 323.74; 5. T.J. Zizzo, 3.771, 326.48 vs. 12. Scott Palmer, 3.839, 326.24; 6. Blake Alexander, 3.781, 328.06 vs. 11. Richie Crampton, 3.817, 319.52; 7. Antron Brown, 3.781, 327.19 vs. 10. Leah Pritchett, 3.797, 328.30; 8. Doug Kalitta, 3.786, 321.96 vs. 9. Terry McMillen, 3.796, 323.97.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Terry Haddock, 4.020, 289.82; 18. Chris Karamesines, 4.130, 231.56; 19. Bill Litton, 4.156, 246.66.

Funny Car _ 1. Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 3.917, 326.79 vs. 16. Jonnie Lindberg, Ford Mustang, 4.463, 263.36; 2. Ron Capps, Charger, 3.921, 325.92 vs. 15. Justin Schriefer, Charger, 4.155, 277.72; 3. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.944, 322.81 vs. 14. Dale Creasy Jr., Dodge Stratus, 4.112, 314.46; 4. Courtney Force, Chevy Camaro, 3.966, 327.66 vs. 13. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.085, 311.13; 5. Cruz Pedregon, Toyota Camry, 3.969, 320.05 vs. 12. Robert Hight, Camaro, 4.073, 267.85; 6. John Force, Camaro, 3.971, 324.59 vs. 11. Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.055, 308.78; 7. Shawn Langdon, Camry, 3.980, 326.08 vs. 10. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.011, 323.35; 8. Bob Tasca III, Mustang, 3.981, 320.43 vs. 9. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.007, 322.88.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Bob Bode, 4.502, 239.19; 18. John Lawson, 4.748, 190.35.

Pro Stock _ 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.546, 211.03 vs. 16. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.950, 197.28; 2. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.556, 210.21 vs. 15. Wally Stroupe, Camaro, 6.813, 203.43; 3. Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.559, 209.95 vs. 14. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 6.803, 202.21; 4. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.560, 210.67 vs. 13. Tim Freeman, Camaro, 6.629, 208.39; 5. Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.564, 210.87 vs. 12. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.600, 209.14; 6. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.579, 209.07 vs. 11. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.587, 209.72; 7. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.581, 210.18 vs. 10. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.585, 209.49; 8. Deric Kramer, Camaro, 6.582, 209.75 vs. 9. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.584, 210.14.

Pro Stock Motorcycle _ 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.849, 194.83 vs. 16. Cory Reed, Buell, 7.038, 189.87; 2. Hector Arana Jr., Buell, 6.852, 197.45 vs. 15. Marc Ingwersen, Buell, 7.026, 187.55; 3. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.862, 194.49 vs. 14. Kelly Clontz, Suzuki, 7.005, 191.27; 4. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.871, 194.83 vs. 13. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 6.987, 190.51; 5. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.881, 193.90 vs. 12. Jim Underdahl, Suzuki, 6.975, 192.19; 6. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.891, 194.66 vs. 11. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.969, 191.76; 7. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.920, 192.66 vs. 10. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.965, 191.65; 8. Hector Arana, Buell, 6.930, 194.41 vs. 9. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 6.948, 191.46.

Did Not Qualify _ 17. Mark Paquette, 7.039, 189.42; 18. Karen Stoffer, 7.047, 189.63; 19. Angelle Sampey, 7.060, 189.66.


| , RacinToday.com Sunday, June 3 2018
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