Hagan, Torrence, McGaha emerge victorious at Epping
Matt Hagan won his second straight event, and his third of the season at the NHRA New England Nationals in front of a sellout crowd, as Steve Torrence took Top Fuel honors and Chris McGaha won Pro Stock.
Hagan powered to the winner’s circle with a run of 4.156 seconds at 292.01 mph in his Don Schumacher Racing Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger R/T to take down Tim Wilkerson’s 4.181 at 287.35 in his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang. Hagan has now earned victories at New England Dragway in back-to-back years.
“We’ve got a good racecar, we were the No. 1 qualifier and this car just continues to go down the track,” Hagan said. “This car is responding well to what Dickie Venables is asking it to do, and that makes my confidence continue to grow.”
Hagan was the No. 1 qualifier for the weekend and took down Terry Haddock and teammates Tommy Johnson Jr. and Ron Capps on his way to victory.
Wilkerson qualified ninth and defeated J.R. Todd, Jack Beckman and Shawn Langdon as he reached his first final round of the season.
Torrence notched his fifth victory of the year by beating Antron Brown in the final round with a 3.909 at 320.74 in his Capco Contractors dragster to Brown’s 3.948 at 315.12 in his Matco Tools / U.S. Army machine. Torrence notched his first career win in Epping as he continues to build on his points lead in the Top Fuel class.
“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 entered the day qualified third as he defeated Dan Mercier, Shawn Reed and Tony Schumacher en route to the final.
Brown qualified 12th but beat Clay Millican, defending champion Brittany Force and No. 1 qualifier Leah Pritchett to reach his first final round of 2018.
McGaha took home the win in the Pro Stock class with a 6.570 at 211.10 in his Harlow Sammons Chevrolet Camaro during the final round as rival Erica Enders red-lit. McGaha secured his second win of the season and first since Phoenix as he becomes the fourth driver in the class to record multiple victories in 2018.
“We knew we needed to be aggressive in the final round against Erica [Enders], 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 are happy with any wins we can get.”
McGaha qualified ninth and beat Jeg Coughlin Jr., No. 1 qualifier Greg Anderson and Kenny Delco on his path to victory. Enders defeated Alan Prusiensky, Matt Hartford and Vincent Nobile and moved into the lead of the championship with her fifth runner-up finish of the season.
Final finish order at the NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway
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.
Final: Steve Torrence, 3.909 seconds, 320.74 mph def. Antron Brown, 3.948 seconds, 315.12 mph.
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.
Final: Matt Hagan, Dodge Charger, 4.156, 292.01 def. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 4.181, 287.35.
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; 10. Alex Laughlin; 11. Bo Butner; 12. Alan Prusiensky; 13. John Gaydosh Jr; 14. Val Smeland; 15. Fernando Cuadra; 16. Tanner Gray.
Final: Chris McGaha, Chevy Camaro, 6.570, 211.10 def. Erica Enders, Camaro, Foul - Red Light.
Point standings after 13 of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series
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, 766; 8. Bo Butner, 750; 9. Jason Line, 680; 10. Deric Kramer, 659.
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