Hagan Stays Hot In Epping

| , RacinToday.com Monday, July 9 2018

Funny Car driver Matt Hagan carted away his second straight Funny Car Wally when he won the New England Nationals.

Two-time Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan claimed his second consecutive Wally trophy of the season Sunday with a final-round victory at the sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H.

Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Chris McGaha (Pro Stock) also emerged as winners in their respective categories before a sellout crowd at New England Dragway during the 13th of 24 events on the 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.  Sellout crowds Saturday and Sunday in Epping raised the season’s total to seven sessions.

Hagan powered to the winner’s circle with a 1,000-foot run of 4.156-seconds at 292.01 mph in his Dodge Charger R/T to trailer Tim Wilkerson’s 4.181-second pass at 287.35 mph in the Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang. Hagan secured his third win in 2018 and now has posted back-to-back victories at New England Dragway. The win also was the 29th of Hagan’s career.

“We’ve just got a good race car. We were the No. 1 qualifier and this car just continues to go down the track,” said Hagan, of Don Schumacher Racing. Hagan gained almost 100 points on category leader Courtney Force of John Force Racing during the weekend.

I think the biggest thing is (crew chief) Dickie Venables,” Hagan said. “The guy is smart. If you give him enough runs and enough opportunities at whatever it is, he’s going to figure it out. I think that’s why he’s been in the sport for over 50-some years. He’s been doing it since he was hanging on his dad’s leg. He’s somebody that I want to keep myself around as long as possible. He works hard, this is his life and it goes to show on the race car.

“There’s also luck. That last lap it was like a dirt track. My rear-end was sideways and coming back around and I could hear Timmy over there and you’re looking around to see where they’re at. That’s what makes it exciting in a fuel Funny Car, man. You never know what you’re going to get. I’ve never had the same lap back-to-back.”

Hagan eliminated Terry Haddock and DSR teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps, the 2016 world champion, on his way to victory.

“We turned four win lights on in Norwalk (Ohio) and we turned four win lights on here and we went down every lap in Norwalk and we went down every lap in qualifying here,” Hagan said. ”We just pretty much have what you would call a ‘Bracket car’ in a fuel Funny Car. It’s just responding well to what they’re asking it to do. It makes my confidence grow.”

Wilkerson qualified ninth and defeated J.R. Todd, 2012 world champ “Fast” Jack Beckman and Shawn Langdon as he reached his first final of the season.

Torrence notched his fifth victory of the year by beating three-time world champion Antron Brown of DSR in the Top Fuel final. Torrence covered the 1,000-foot distance in 3.909-seconds at 320.74 mph to Brown’s 3.948-second pass at 315.12 mph.  The class point-leader, Torrence earned his first career win in Epping.

“This was a rough weekend but my team did an excellent job of adjusting to the track prep and the conditions out here,” Torrence said. “Our team is more well-rounded than it has ever been, and that gives me confidence every time I get in this car.”

Torrence, who qualified third, defeated Dan Mercier, Shawn Reed and eight-time world champ Tony Schumacher of DSR en route to victory circle. Brown qualified 12th and bested Clay Millican, reigning world champion Brittany Force of JFR and No. 1 qualifier Leah Pritchett to reach his first final round of 2018.

McGaha took the win in Pro Stock by covering the traditional quarter-mile in 6.570-seconds at 211.10 mph in his Chevrolet Camaro SS as Erica Enders red-lit/fouled-out. McGaha secured his second win of the season and first since the event near Phoenix to become the fourth “Factory Hot Rod” driver to record multiple victories in 2018.

“We knew we needed to be aggressive in the final round against Erica, and we were lucky enough to end up winning that one,” McGaha said. “It’s been a very competitive year in this class so we’re happy with any wins we can get.”

McGaha qualified ninth and beat five-time world champ Jeg Coughlin Jr., No. 1 qualifier/four-time world champ Greg Anderson and Kenny Delco on his path to victory. “We definitely dodged a bullet in the semifinals,” said McGaha, referring to Delco’s red light at the starting line. “Kenny is like my kryptonite. I’ve red-lighted against him before. For him to go red and for us to shake down the racetrack was definitely a freebie.”

McGaha’s weekend turned after an engine change Friday night. Friday, I was ready to take the awning down and go home,” McGaha said. “There looked like no hope at all before the engine change. I thought there was no way we could be here based off of Friday’s performance, but my team really buckled down and got it turned around; the car came to life with the engine change. Man, what a great day.”

Enders, a two-time world champ, qualified second and defeated Alan Prusiensky, Matt Hartford and Vincent Nobile before facing McGaha. Enders’ fifth runner-up result of the season allowed her to overtake Anderson for the class lead by 16 points.

The season will continue at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, Colo., near Denver, from July 20-22 as the first of three races in the annual summertime Western Swing.


Final finishing order (1-16) at the sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway in Epping, N.H.:

Top Fuel _ 1. Steve Torrence; 2. Antron Brown; 3. Leah Pritchett; 4. Tony Schumacher; 5. Brittany Force; 6. Shawn Reed; 7. Doug Kalitta; 8. Richie Crampton; 9. Terry McMillen; 10. Mike Salinas; 11. Dan Mercier; 12. Dom Lagana; 13. Jim Maroney; 14. Clay Millican; 15. Scott Palmer; 16. Audrey Worm.

Funny Car _1. Matt Hagan; 2. Tim Wilkerson; 3. Ron Capps; 4. Shawn Langdon; 5. John Force; 6. Jack Beckman; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 8. Robert Hight; 9. J.R. Todd; 10. Jonnie Lindberg; 11. Cruz Pedregon; 12. Courtney Force; 13. Bob Tasca III; 14. Jim Campbell; 15. Terry Haddock; 16. Jeff Diehl.

Pro Stock _1. Chris McGaha; 2. Erica Enders; 3. Vincent Nobile; 4. Kenny Delco; 5. Greg Anderson; 6. Jason Line; 7. Matt Hartford; 8. Drew Skillman; 9. Jeg Coughlin Jr.; 10. Alex Laughlin; 11. Bo Butner; 12. Alan Prusiensky; 13. John Gaydosh Jr.; 14. Val Smeland; 15. Fernando Cuadra; 16. Tanner Gray.

Sunday’s final results from the sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway:

Top Fuel _ Steve Torrence, 3.909-seconds, 320.74 mph def. Antron Brown, 3.948-seconds, 315.12 mph.

Funny Car _ Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.156, 292.01 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.181, 287.35.

Pro Stock _ Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.570, 211.10 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, Foul/Red Light.

Super Stock _ Anthony Bongiovanni, Ford Mustang, 8.461, 158.24 def. Tom Boucher, Pontiac Firebird, 9.571, 138.19.

Stock Eliminator _ Randi Lyn Shipp, Pontiac Firebird, 10.548, 119.12 def. Howie Smith, Chevy Malibu, 11.938, 106.81.

Super Comp _ Mike Robilotto, Dragster, 8.935, 172.78 def. Timmy Markoglu, Dragster, 8.902, 182.97.

Super Gas _ Ken Bowers, Chevy Corvette, 9.919, 162.49 def. Justin Lopes, Chevy Nova, 9.943, 166.09.

Super Street _ Peter Maduri, Chevy S-10, 10.907, 142.39 def. Brian Sawyer, Chevy Camaro, 10.881, 143.29.

Top Dragster presented by RacingRVs.com _ Deborah DiGenova, Dragster, 6.802, 194.60 def. Rebecca Miller, Dragster, 6.844, 193.99.

Top Sportsman presented by RacingRVs.com _ Dave Testa, Chevy Corvette, 7.221, 189.31 def. Brian Conrey, Corvette, 6.965, 197.65.

Top Fuel Harley _Doug Vancil, Weekend, 6.283, 222.44 def. Jay Turner, Dixie, 6.487, 191.57.

Pro Stock Snowmobile _ Tiina Duncanson, Ski-Doo, 8.269, 155.69 def. Brian Garbus, Yamaha, 8.345, 152.23.

Final round-by-round results from the sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway:


ROUND ONE _ Shawn Reed, 3.900, 320.58 def. Dom Lagana, 4.832, 169.23; Antron Brown, 4.275, 236.42 def. Clay Millican, 6.083, 105.53; Leah Pritchett, 3.945, 305.70 def. Audrey Worm, 9.559, 82.04; Tony Schumacher, 3.878, 319.75 def. Jim Maroney, 4.841, 154.72; Steve Torrence, 3.843, 321.19 def. Dan Mercier, 4.240, 253.52; Brittany Force, 4.186, 245.81 def. Mike Salinas, 4.182, 214.93; Richie Crampton, 4.291, 246.98 def. Scott Palmer, 8.093, 88.54; Doug Kalitta, 4.143, 275.45 def. Terry McMillen, 4.175, 268.49;

QUARTERFINALS _ Brown, 3.923, 314.83 def. Force, 3.935, 305.15; Pritchett, 3.888, 316.30 def. Kalitta, 4.900, 212.46; Schumacher, 3.906, 318.54 def. Crampton, 5.316, 138.33; Torrence, 3.878, 320.13 def. Reed, 3.992, 290.51;

SEMIFINALS _ Brown, 3.955, 315.42 def. Pritchett, 3.945, 304.80; Torrence, 3.942, 309.77 def. Schumacher, 3.963, 314.97;

FINAL _Torrence, 3.909, 320.74 def. Brown, 3.948, 315.12.


ROUND ONE _ Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 4.463, 246.98 def. Bob Tasca III, Ford Mustang, 4.581, 242.89; Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.066, 316.15 def. Terry Haddock, Toyota Solara, 6.490, 113.11; Shawn Langdon, Toyota Camry, 4.152, 304.80 def. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.837, 173.47; Jack Beckman, Charger, 4.075, 312.42 def. Jeff Diehl, Camry, 6.633, 98.87; Ron Capps, Charger, 4.083, 306.19 def. Courtney Force, Camaro, 4.489, 200.11; John Force, Camaro, 4.143, 310.84 def. Jonnie Lindberg, Mustang, 4.305, 264.29; Tim Wilkerson, Mustang, 4.091, 313.29 def. J.R. Todd, Camry, 4.132, 306.19; Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 4.131, 297.94 def. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 4.408, 215.20;

QUARTERFINALS _Capps, 4.134, 276.41 def. Hight, 7.226, 98.83; Wilkerson, 4.245, 264.39 def. Beckman, 4.252, 294.05; Hagan, 4.237, 245.90 def. Johnson Jr., 4.741, 179.23; Langdon, 4.134, 307.93 def. J. Force, 4.204, 262.39;

SEMIFINALS _ Hagan, 4.114, 311.05 def. Capps, 4.122, 311.20; Wilkerson, 4.118, 309.91 def. Langdon, 4.144, 305.42;

FINAL _ Hagan, 4.156, 292.01 def. Wilkerson, 4.181, 287.35.


ROUND ONE _Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.576, 210.87 def. Jeg Coughlin Jr., Camaro, 6.569, 211.63; Matt Hartford, Camaro, 6.583, 211.39 def. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.617, 210.54; Jason Line, Camaro, 6.578, 211.49 def. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 6.605, 209.82; Kenny Delco, Camaro, 6.616, 210.60 def. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 7.378, 204.51; Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.563, 212.09 def. Fernando Cuadra, Camaro, Foul/Red Light; Vincent Nobile, Camaro, 6.557, 211.10 def. John Gaydosh Jr., Chevrolet Camaro, 6.651, 208.46; Greg Anderson, Camaro, 6.544, 212.19 def. Val Smeland, Camaro, 6.717, 206.76; Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.537, 211.03 def. Alan Prusiensky, Dodge Dart, 6.624, 207.94;

QUARTERFINALS _ Delco, 8.308, 152.54 def. Skillman, 10.430, 126.39; Nobile, 6.570, 210.80 def. Line, 6.600, 210.11; McGaha, 6.585, 210.90 def. Anderson, 6.574, 211.89; Enders, 6.572, 210.54 def. Hartford, 8.788, 101.04;

SEMIFINALS _ McGaha, 16.762, 49.34 def. Delco, Foul/Red Light; Enders, 6.567, 210.67 def. Nobile, 6.580, 210.83;

FINAL _ McGaha, 6.570, 211.10 def. Enders, Foul/Red Light.

Point standings (top-10) following the sixth annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway:

Top Fuel_1. Steve Torrence, 1,086; 2. Tony Schumacher, 896; 3. Clay Millican, 881; 4. Leah Pritchett, 820; 5. Doug Kalitta, 801; 6. Antron Brown, 717; 7. Terry McMillen, 679; 8. Brittany Force, 634; 9. Richie Crampton, 522; 10. Mike Salinas, 506.

Funny Car_1. Courtney Force, 1,069; 2. Matt Hagan, 914; 3. Jack Beckman, 847; 4. Ron Capps, 834; 5. Robert Hight, 829; 6. J.R. Todd, 800; 7. Tommy Johnson Jr., 692; 8. John Force, 632; 9. Shawn Langdon, 614; 10. Bob Tasca III, 564.

Pro Stock_1. Erica Enders, 936; 2. Greg Anderson, 920; 3. Tanner Gray, 917; 4. Vincent Nobile, 893; 5. Drew Skillman, 808; 6. Chris McGaha, 803; 7. Jeg Coughlin Jr., 766; 8. Bo Butner, 750; 9. Jason Line, 680; 10. Deric Kramer, 659.

| , RacinToday.com Monday, July 9 2018
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