Matt Hagan Keeps Building Momentum, Grabs Funny Car No. 1 Qualifying Position for Dodge//SRT Mopar in 2019 NHRA Season Finale
Pomona, CA – Dodge//SRT Mopar driver Matt Hagan continues to make his presence known loud and clear as the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Mello Yello Drag Racing Series 2019 season nears conclusion. The two-time Funny Car champion earned his second No. 1 qualifying position driving the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody of Don Schumacher Racing (DSR) for the 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, California and closed the points gap on the championship leaders heading into Sunday’s elimination rounds.
Hagan surged his way to Pomona coming off consecutive Funny Car wins in Dallas and Las Vegas. The 2011 and 2014 champion continued his late-season push topping qualifying in both sessions Friday behind the wheel of the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody, with quickest pass of 3.872 seconds that held up through Saturday qualifying. He collected a total of 10 qualifying points and an additional two points for final position to close the gap from 56 points behind the leader to trailing by only 44 when eliminations commence Sunday. The three-time Auto Club NHRA Finals winner will face Jonnie Lindberg in the opening round.
All DSR Funny Cars qualify in the top half of the field; Leah Pritchett will start from the No. 2 spot on the Top Fuel
POMONA, CA – By qualifying No. 1 for the final race of the season, 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Funny Car championship hopeful Matt Hagan has put himself in the best possible position to start race day at the Auto Club NHRA Finals as he battles it out for a third Funny Car title.
Hagan earned his 36th No. 1 qualifier and second of the season on the strength of his Q2 run of 3.872 seconds. Starting from the top of the field, Hagan will face Jonnie Lindberg in round one. It’ll be a rematch of the Dodge NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil final round, where Hagan defeated Lindberg to claim his second consecutive Countdown triumph.
Throughout qualifying at the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Hagan, and his Dickie Venables-tuned MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody were solid. Fresh off two consecutive race wins, the MOPAR team looked unstoppable as they carried their winning momentum into Pomona. Hagan powered his 11,000-horsepower machine to low E.T. of Q1 and Q2 to gobble up eight bonus points and ensure themselves a top-tier qualifying position. Venables opted to use Saturday’s two qualifying sessions to perfect his race day tune-up, and by tuning the MOPAR machine to a 3.957 E.T. in Q3 and a 3.904 in Q4, he and his red-hot team appear to be in championship-form.
S. TORRENCE, HAGAN, COUGHLIN AND M. SMITH EARN NO. 1 QUALIFIERS HEADING INTO CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
POMONA, CA – Defending world champ and Top Fuel points leader Steve Torrence made an impressive statement during the final qualifying session on Saturday at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, vaulting to the No. 1 spot at the Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are all No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the last of six races in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The race also serves as the finale of the 24-race 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
After struggling on Friday, Torrence unleashed an outstanding run to close out qualifying on Saturday, jumping to the top with a run of 3.686-seconds at 329.99 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster. Looking to win his second straight world title, Torrence earned his fifth No. 1 qualifier this year and 24th in his career and will face Cameron Ferre to open eliminations. He takes a 22-point lead over Brittany Force into raceday, and the past two world champs could meet in the second round. Force qualified eighth with a 3.726 at 331.69 and races Antron Brown in the first round. If Torrence and Force both win, they would face off in the second round.
Langdon Drives Camry To Fourth in Funny Car
POMONA, CA – Doug Kalitta laid down his best qualifying pass of the weekend with a 3.717-second run in Saturday’s final round to jump up to sixth and keep his Top Fuel championship hopes alive heading into tomorrow’s Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
Kalitta, who has won three of the last six Top Fuel events in Pomona, including February’s Winternationals, will open Sunday’s actions with Terry McMillen.
The key to Kalitta’s championship run may ride with fellow Toyota Top Fuel driver Antron Brown, who qualified ninth with a 3.729. Brown is in a position to face both drivers currently ahead of Kalitta in the point standings, opening Sunday’s eliminations with second-place Brittany Force. Should he defeat her, he would likely face point leader and pole-sitter Steve Torrence in round two.
Richie Crampton rounded out the Toyota Top Fuel contingent by qualifying 13th. He will take on Mike Salinas in the opening round.
JOHN FORCE RACING BEGINS BATTLE FOR SECOND NHRA MELLO YELLO NITRO CHAMPIONSHIP SWEEP FRIDAY AT AUTO CLUB RACEWAY AT POMONA
POMONA, CA — Brittany Force and the Advance Auto Parts Top Fuel dragster team lead John Force Racing from the No. 5 qualifying spot Friday at the season-ending Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. Her legendary father, John Force, and the PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car team are currently No. 10, Robert Hight is sitting in the No. 12 spot with his Automobile Club of Southern California hot rod, and Austin Prock is 16th with the Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist Top Fuel team.
Brittany Force, who entered the weekend trailing just 16 points behind first in her bid for a second Top Fuel crown this weekend, launched her Advance Auto Parts dragster to a 3.726-second pass at 331.69 mph in the first qualifying round to be third quickest of the group and pick up two bonus points. Force came into the evening session on a solo run where, like the majority of the Top Fuel class, struggled to make it down track when the smoked the tires and had to shut off early running only a 6.640-second pass at 97.64 mph. The Advance Auto Parts team will start day two of qualifying from the No. 5 spot.
“First day of the last race of the season and we’re fifth, not a bad place to be. We picked up two bonus points in round one. We’re in the hunt for a championship so (crew chief) David Grubnic and this entire Advance Auto Parts team, we’re all pushing,” Force said. “You can’t run the car safe. You’ve got to push it to the limits and that’s what we did on that last run and we lost but we’ll pick it back up tomorrow.”
POMONA, CA – Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel) and Matt Hagan (Funny Car) paced the nitro fields on Friday at the Auto Club NHRA Finals by powering to the provisional qualifying lead in their respective categories.
Behind the wheel of the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody, Hagan captured the No. 1 spot with his Q2 run of 3.872 seconds at 333.58 mph. Before he rocketed to the provisional lead in Q2, the two-time Funny Car world champion kicked off his campaign for a sixth Pomona trophy and third world championship by wheeling his 11,000-horsepower machine down the track in 3.900 seconds, which held up to be low E.T. of Q1.
Not only was Hagan the quickest Funny Car pilot of both qualifying sessions on Friday, but the MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody was the only flopper to make two full pulls, continuing the momentum of success Hagan and the Dickie Venables-led team have enjoyed as of late.
WITH TITLES ON THE LINE, HAGAN, PRITCHETT, COUGHLIN AND M. SMITH TAKE PROVISIONAL NO. 1 SPOTS AT AUTO CLUB NHRA FINALS
POMONA, CA – Fresh off two straight wins and still in championship contention, Matt Hagan kept his hot streak going by racing to the provisional No. 1 spot in Funny Car during qualifying on Friday at the 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals.
Leah Pritchett (Top Fuel), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the last of six races in the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. The race also serves as the finale of the 24-race 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
Hagan made the quickest run in both qualifying sessions, including a top pass of 3.872-seconds at 333.58 mph in his MOPAR Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Widebody to close out the final session on Friday. It gave the two-time world champ eight qualifying bonus points, pulling him closer to points leader Robert Hight. Hagan, a two-time world champ who is racing for his second No. 1 qualifier this season and 35th of his career, entered the weekend 56 points back of Hight, but appears set on make things interesting.